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Stones in the gallbladder (scientifically known as 'gallstones'), are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder, and vary in size (it can be as small as a grain of rice to the size of a Golf ball).
The gallstones not only occurs in adults. Since the generalization in the use of certain diagnostic techniques, such as abdominal ultrasound, more and more cases are diagnosed in pediatric age. Some studies claim that it could affect up to almost 2% of children.
We will now describe some of the peculiarities of childhood gallstones:
- Distribution by sex. In the first years of life, both sexes are affected equally. In older children, the female sex is preferentially affected.
- Calculation characteristics. There are two types: cholesterol (they account for approximately 50%) and pigmentary (of these, most are brown and soft in consistency). They can be single or multiple, and their size is variable.
- Predisposing factors. Hemolytic diseases, parenteral nutrition, prematurity, Crohn's disease, Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, obesity, cholestasis, etc. In most cases, even so, there is no conditioning factor.
- Symptoms. It is usually asymptomatic. In some cases it appears: abdominal pain in the upper right part, discomfort related to digestion, nausea, vomiting.
- Diagnosis. It is done through an abdominal ultrasound.
- Treatment. If it produces symptoms, we must guide an appropriate treatment. Ursodeoxycholic acid can be used in specific cases for 6 months (indicated if there are small radiolucent stones). Surgery is reserved for complicated cases.
You can read more articles similar to Gallstones in childhood, in the category of Childhood Illnesses on site.