A Quick Q&A on Bilary Dyskinesia and What You Can Do About It
The last one century and a half have marked a golden era for medicine. Everything from modern antibiotics to the secrets of our genetic code to the nature of our anatomy and how our biochemistry may be effected by various substances has enabled us to drastically raise the quality of life for much of the world. Biliary dyskinesia was once a malady which could cause severe pain and, coupled with other conditions, even prove to be a step towards ultimate mortality. While those days are largely past, however, this condition—as well as other gallbladder related problems—can still cause significant problems if left untreated.
As it can be difficult with any medical condition to know quite where to begin, here is a quick guide to biliary dyskinesia as well as some information as to what you can do to both recognize and address this issue.
What’s a gallbladder?
The gallbladder is an important part of the digestive system. It’s located just beneath your liver. Your entire digestive system may be seen as somewhat analogous to a vast and intricate internal plumbing and food processing system. As with any good plumbing or processing system, your body features “piping” in the form of your intestines. As you eat and your body undergoes natural digestive and other such processes, your body builds up a lot of bile. This bile can be both useful and dangerous, and so must be used in a proper manner, and is ultimately released by the liver. It is the job of the gallbladder to store that bile—often in the form of gallstones—and release it, in appropriate doses and when needed, into the small intestine to aid with digestion and, ultimately, to remove it from the body.
Why is bile important?
Bile allows your small intestine to perform basic digestive tasks.
What is biliary dyskinesia?
The condition known as biliary dyskinesia is due to a malfunction in your gallbladder as a result of the aforementioned digestive process.As you eat, your body produces cholecystokinin, a hormone which is vital to digestion insofar as it helps the gallbladder to contract properly. There is a sphincter known as the sphincter of Oddi located near the gallbladder in the common bile duct. The cholecystokinin works to ensure the proper and continued functionality of this sphincter which is vital in the actual bile-pumping process.
As such, biliary dyskinesia is caused by this or a similar hormone imbalance, resulting in the gallbladder’s inability to pump bile and, subsequently, an unhealthy buildup of bile in your system. In addition, if your sphincter of Oddi is unable to contract or otherwise rendered ineffective, biliary dyskinesia may set in as well.
What are some of the causes and symptoms I should look for?
As stated above, there are both hormonal as well as physical causes to biliary dyskinesia, including an absence of the hormone cholecystokinin and an inoperative or unresponsive sphincter of Oddi. There are several theories regarding the manner in which both of these initial causes are brought about, with one common theory being that stress is a strong contributing factor. This is due to the fact that stress can have an impact on aspects of your chemical balance such as your dopamine levels. As such, dopamine level dysfunction is considered to be one of the leading potential causes of biliary dyskinesia. Naturally, if your gallbladder has a preexisting condition which inhibits its ability to pump bile, that too may be a possible cause of biliary dyskinesia.
In terms of symptoms, as in real estate, the first rule of identifying the symptoms of this condition is location, location, location—if you feel pain in the area of your liver and gallbladder, you may have biliary dyskinesia (and even if you do not you’ll want to consult a doctor immediately.) General bile-related inflammation may also be seen as a symptom. Both chronic and acute pancreatitis as well as gallstones may be considered both symptoms of the condition as well as potential symptoms of a larger condition as well. In rare cases, nausea and vomiting are potential symptoms, as is pain localized in the liver area, especially after a high-fat meal.
What can be done?
General gallbladder-related therapy is one course of treatment which can prove to be quite beneficial and effective when treating biliary dyskinesia. As gallstones and similar conditions are all considered to be both symptoms and harbingers of the condition, treating these and other gallbladder-related conditions can help. Naturally, treatments which reduce the amount of wayward bile in your body may also help with the symptoms. In addition, there has been an explosion in recent years of herbal remedies which may have an effect on the condition, relax your gallbladder and sphincter of Oddi, and help you treat your biliary dyskinesia—these include dandelions and artichokes.