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Food for thought: Woman from China skips breakfast for 8 years, develops 200 gallstones

In a unique case, doctors removed more than 200 gallstones from a woman’s gut in an operation in China. She had skipped breakfast for eight years which could have led bile to accumulate in the gall bladder and bile ducts.

health Updated: Jul 23, 2017 12:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
A doctor displays the gallstones found from the woman’s gut.(Photo courtesy: Hezhou Guangji Hospital)

While gallstones are not unique in themselves, a 45-year-old woman from China developed 200 such gallstones. Identified as Ms Chen (45), she claimed her stomach pain started more than 10 years ago but her fear of surgery kept her from seeking medical aid, said reports. In India, too, a similar case saw doctors removing 5,070 gallstones.

The woman went to Guangji Hospital, in Hezhou, China, where tests showed a number of gallstones. Experts believe they built up over the years. Surgeons consequently operated and removed the stones from the gallbladder and bile ducts. Some of the stones were quite large, almost as big as eggs.

Some of the gallstones were almost as big as eggs. ( Photo courtesy: Hezhou Guangji Hospital )

Dr Quanwei Wei, a general surgeon, said the stones could have resulted from her habit of skipping breakfast. Ms Chen said that she had not eaten breakfast for eight years. Dr Quanwei Wei suggested that as a result of the diet, bile accumulated in her gall bladder and bile ducts and formed the stones.

Gallstones are small stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder. If they become trapped in a duct inside the gallbladder, it can cause pain. Gallstones develop from an imbalance in the chemical make-up of bile in the gallbladder.

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First Published: Jul 22, 2017 14:33 IST