Function of Gallbladder


What side is your gallbladder on ?

Gallbladder is an organ in the abdominal cavity. It is like an empty part situated in a concave cavity right outside the liver. This is also called as gallbladder fossa. Gallbladder is called as cholecyst as well and is segregated into 3 divisions namely:

  • Fundus
  • Body and
  • Neck

Neck is that part which gets thinner when it passes through cystic duct to join biliary tree and ultimately connects with the hepatic duct. It merges to make up the general bile duct. When filled, gallbladder is capable of holding about fifty milliliters of bile at one time. Gallbladder helps in digestion and is not a very important organ of the body as anyone can stay alive with no gallbladder. Still it could have an effect on the quality of life.

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Function of Gallbladder

Gallbladder has two main important functions. They are as follows:

  • Storing bile and
  • Concentrating bile

Bile is a liquid that is very important for digestion. This fluid has many anions of bile acids. Bile is manufactured by the liver and is very important for digestion. It is useful as it helps in stabilizing fats in the food that is absorbed. This fluid that is secreted from liver into tiny ducts of bile, unite to form a general hepatic duct. Further bile moves to gallbladder for storing and concentration, to use it afterwards. Hormone known as cholecystokinin i.e. CCK is secreted when fatty food is consumed. This hormone is the cause for contraction of gallbladder and it also relaxes a small valve which is at the end of hepatic duct. This makes the bile to run into duodenum smoothly and mix up with the food for digestion. When the cholecystokinin effect fades away, the small valves close up and gallbladder relaxes and this series occurs repeatedly. The features of bile salt anions are as follows:

  • It combines drops of triglycerides and phsopholipids so as to form ‘micelles’. It is capable of aggregating the above drops due to its hydrophilic and hydrophobic characteristic.
  • The micelles make room for functioning of the pancreatic lipase enzyme. The enzyme helps in digestion of the triglycerides.
  • With no bile salts, fats that are insoluble in water in the food that is consumed may be passed on without digestion into the feces.

Gall bladder disease symptoms

Gallbladder can also function abnormally. It happens when a person suffers from gallbladder diseases. This results in malfunctioning of gallbladder. This disease could be due to the liver producing toxic bile, infections of the inside layer of the gallbladder, slow flow of bile or bile duct obstruction or it could be any other given reason.

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Some of the symptoms of gallbladder disease are:

  • Pain in the right side of the stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Unusual feeling of being full during or after each meal
  • nausea

If there is any gallbladder malfunctioning due to gallstones then the pain is very bad and it can be diagnosed with the aid of ‘tests for gallbladder function’. Gallstones are formed of cholesterol which is a part of the bile. Cholesterol is insoluble therefore there are bile acids, lecithin that work as detergents to maintain solution of cholesterol in water. In case there is no proper balance like more cholesterol or less bile acids then the cholesterol becomes supersaturated which results in creation of tiny crystals, gradually forming into gallstones. Estrogen is one of the causes for gallstone as it adds to level of cholesterol. Tests for gallstones are:

  • Ultrasound examination: In this high frequency sound waves are being sent into the tissues through a special probe which is for examination. These waves spring back to the special probe if they are spotted.
  • Cholecystogram: In this medicines are consumed a day before the tests. The body absorbs these medicines which are excreted through liver into bile and later gallbladder stores it. These medicines can be seen on x-ray which is used to know the presence of any gallstones.
  • Radionuclide scan which is also known as HIDA scan. This test helps to look out for acute cholecystitis.

Treatment of gallbladder malfunctioning

Some of the methods for restoring gallbladder functioning is as follows:

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics is helpful in treating infection of gallbladder
  • Removal of gallbladder: In case of gallstones, the medical expert usually advises to remove the gallbladder. It is said to be not a very important organ as any person can live with no gallbladder. But one has to keep in mind that to produce bile a lot of energy and time is required. Thus it removes pressure from the liver in the storage of bile. If gallbladder is taken out then the liver will have to secrete bile each time meal is consumed putting more stress on the liver. This could further result in production of toxic and not healthy bile. Also there could be many complication involved for removing gallbladder.
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  2. Cytoplasm Function
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  4. Hepatic Encephalopathy-Symptoms, Treatment, Causes
  5. Human Digestive System

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