Will Travel Insurance Cover Gallstones?

You may feel assured that your coverage will take into account your gallstones and any influence they may have on your trip if you declare them on your policy. As an example, if you have gallstones and are too ill to travel or need medical attention while on vacation, you may not be able to use your vacation time to relax.

Depending on the terms of the insurance provider, most travel insurance policies cover the following:

  • In the event that you require urgent medical attention or are unable to return to your home country for treatment, you will be covered for these costs.
  • Any medication you’ve brought to treat gallstones that has been lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • If you unexpectedly decide to cancel your vacation or cut it short, cancellation and curtailment are the terms you’ll need to know.
  • Check with your service provider to see if this is included in your policy.
  • Personal liability insurance protects you in the event that you cause inadvertent harm to another person or their property.

Can you get travel insurance if you have gallstones?

Yes. Many, if not most travel insurance providers, will provide coverage for a vast range of different medical ailments, including gallstones.

To ensure that your gallstones are covered, all you have to do is disclose them during the straightforward quote process that they provide.

My doctor said I have ‘probable’ gallstones but it’s never been properly diagnosed: can I still get cover?

Travel insurance for gallstones is only available to those who have been diagnosed with gallstones. Undiagnosed conditions are generally not covered by travel insurance. Make an appointment with your doctor and inquire about whether or not they can confirm that you have gallstones.

Anatomy of the Gallbladder

There is a big thumb-sized sac in the gallbladder that holds the bile produced by the liver. In order to facilitate the digestion of fats and cholesterol, bile is transported from the liver to the gall bladder and the small intestine via ducts, which connect the three organs.

The bilary system refers to this system. Three ducts create a “Y” when viewed as a whole. The hepatic duct carries bile excreted by the liver down one of the Y’s upper arms.

Gallbladder stores it until it is needed for digestion by moving it up its upper arm (the cystic duct) of the Y.

Afterwards, the gallbladder expels bile into the common bile duct, creating the Y’s bottom leg. The common bile duct relaxes a muscle at the base of the bile duct to facilitate digestion.

Stone Formation and Risk Factors

Problems are rare as long as the bile flows freely through the Y’s three legs. As bile is continuously produced but not expelled, pressure can rise if one or more legs are obstructed. Inflammation and discomfort are possible side effects.

Stones of bile can range in size from sand grains to the size of a golf ball.

Cholesterol is the primary component of the stones, and they are more likely to form in the gall bladder when cholesterol concentrations rise relative to bile acid concentrations.

A blockage in the cystic duct could be caused by these stones. They can also get trapped in the common bile duct, preventing bile from the liver and gallbladder from flowing.

This is a life-threatening situation, and the victim will swiftly grow unwell and jaundiced as a result.

Ironically, it is the smaller granular stones that tend to clog the ducts the most frequently. Because of their size, big gallstones tend to remain in the gallbladder rather than moving via the ducts. It’s possible that they have no effect at all.

Obesity, rapid weight loss through fasting, high fat meals, female hormones, aging, pregnancy, sludging in the gall bladder, and some medications are all risk factors for gallstone formation.

Gallbladder Disease Symptoms

It is common for gallstones to show up as a cramping sensation below the right rib cage following meals. Fatty foods might be very enticing.

Severe pain may be mistaken for other conditions such as ulcers, heart problems, kidney stones or pancreatitis in more severe cases. If the symptoms are accompanied by a fever, seek medical assistance right away to avoid further complications from cholecystitis.

The term “bilary colic” refers to a sudden, sharp pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen that may extend to the right shoulder blade. After a few hours, there is a dull pain in the upper abdomen that lasts for about a day.

A high-fat lunch may set off the symptoms, which can be alleviated by sticking to non-fat drinks.

Clear liquids or no food at all may be prescribed as the first step in treatment. The gallbladder can be soothed with intravenous fluids, oral restriction, and the use of a nasogastric tube to remove stomach contents on occasion.

Antibiotics are required when a patient has a fever or an elevated white blood cell count. Performing surgery on someone who has a fever increases the risk of complications significantly, which is why surgeons are cautious to do so.

There are many mild cases that won’t return for a while if one is careful about what they eat. An unwelcome recurrence of symptoms may result from ignoring the diet for an extended period of time.

Watchful waiting and restricted diets are frequently used to manage minor symptoms. An acceptable management strategy is to keep a close eye on the situation.

As many as 80% of male gallstones are asymptomatic, or “silent,” and do not cause any symptoms or require surgery. While gallstones that are asymptomatic do not disqualify, those that are symptomatic do.

Diagnosis of Gallstones

Gallstones can only be detected definitively utilizing a gallbladder ultrasound, which uses Doppler imaging to provide a two-dimensional picture of the stones’ position and size.

Gall bladder disease may be suspected by increased liver function tests and bilirubin in blood testing.

An x-ray or CT scan may be used to see the stones, which can help narrow down the possibilities for a diagnosis. Only 10-15% of stones have enough calcium to be seen by x-ray.

Gallbladder inflammation and function can be assessed with blood scans utilizing radioisotopes that are seen with a nuclear imaging camera. Acute gallbladder inflammation is the best time to utilize these medications.

The Oral Cholecystogram (OCG), the primary diagnostic tool prior to ultrasonography, can be used to evaluate the function of the gall bladder and ducts in persons who are not surgical candidates, as well.


Patients with recurring gall bladder symptoms can be treated with a combination of both medication and surgical options. Surgery is the most common method for removing gallstones from the gallbladder.

A person’s bile is no longer stored in the gall bladder, but it is still produced in the liver and required for digestion. Only a very small percentage of persons with asymptomatic gallstones require therapy or surgery.

Surgical Treatment

There are two primary surgical procedures. Traditional cholecystectomy is the procedure in which the abdomen is opened and the gall bladder and its duct are tied off and then surgically removed.

This procedure necessitates general anesthesia and leaves a large scar on the right side of the ribs. In a well-known snapshot from the 1960s, President Johnson shows his scar from a gallbladder operation. A few weeks of healing time is required for this.

Today, the alternate method is far more popular than it was a few years ago. The procedure is referred to as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) for short.

Using three or four probes put through small abdominal wall incisions, carbon dioxide is pumped into the belly to see the gallbladder, which is located behind and under the liver, and then removed. It takes only a few days to recuperate and the scarring is hardly undetectable.

Medical Treatment

For gallbladder disease, medical treatments are a lot less prevalent than surgery. Only 10% of people with symptoms of gallbladder disease who require medical treatment are eligible for treatment.

It’s possible to dissolve the stones with medication alone, but that’s not the only option. UDCA (ursodiol) and CDCA (carbamazepine) are the names of these drugs (chenodiol). Slowly, they reduce cholesterol production in the liver, which has a long-term effect.

The bile acid breaks down the cholesterol in the stones and excretes it in the intestine. Over the course of two years, around 50-60% of the stones will disintegrate. Before using these medications, the FAA must approve their use.

If the treatment is well tolerated, but the underlying disease of symptomatic gallstones persists, the patient may still be disqualified.

Extracorporal shock waves, like those used to break up kidney stones, are now being employed in a new medical treatment. The stones are targeted by the shock waves, which seek to dislodge them.

Approximately 20% of patients have recurrences of stones, and they are routinely kept on UDCA after treatment. Due to the high expense and the possibility of a recurrence, this procedure is rarely done.

Are gallstones considered an emergency?

Gallstones are crystals of digestive fluid and cholesterol that form inside the gallbladder and harden into small, hard deposits. Gallstones can enter the bile duct and restrict its flow into the small intestines if they are not addressed immediately.

Galbladder stones do not usually hurt yet they can cause inflammation and infection. Unexpected rupture of an infected gallbladder demands prompt medical treatment.

What happens if gallstones travel?

Gallstone ileus is rare, yet it can be deadly. When a gallstone travels to the gut and blocks it, it is known as a gallstone obstruction. The blockage may necessitate an emergency operation to remove it. Empyema, or pus in the gallbladder, can occur in patients with gallstones.

What happens if gallstones are left untreated?

Surgery to remove the gallbladder, if the patient is a good surgical candidate, is generally recommended in all cases to lessen the severity of the condition and the likelihood of stone recurrence. Gallbladder surgery can be divided into two categories:

  • An open cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure in which the gallbladder is removed through a single big abdominal incision (5 to 7 inches long). If there is severe inflammation of the bile duct or gallbladder, open surgery may be necessary to prevent gallbladder ruptures. As a result of the incision’s length, patients are more likely to endure discomfort and require more time to recuperate.
  • When removing the gallbladder, laparoscopic surgery is an option because it requires just four small incisions (each one inch or less in length) rather than a huge incision in the abdomen. The laparoscope, a narrow tube with a camera, is introduced into these small incisions. This makes it possible for surgeons to see the gallbladder in all its dimensions up up and personal on a computer screen before removing it with precision and safety.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy results in less pain and fewer problems, such as reduced blood loss and decreased rates of post-operative infections, thanks to smaller incisions. Laparoscopic surgery provides extra cosmetic advantages over open surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery does not necessitate the abdominal muscles to be severed like open gallbladder removal. Consequently, patients are able to return to their normal routines sooner, resulting in a shorter hospital stay.

As the gallbladder merely contains bile acid and is not necessary for healthy digestion, individuals who undergo gallbladder removal surgery do not need to be concerned about their digestive capabilities.

High-fat diets must be balanced with the right number of fruits and vegetables, as well as easy-to-digest foods like fish, in order to improve digestive health and minimize belly bloating.

Gallstones: Watch Out If you are a woman over 40

Astonishingly, cholesterol gallstones are more common in women over 40 due to increased estrogen secretion, which causes the liver to produce more biliary cholesterol and more cholesterol-saturated bile.

Hypercholesterolemia (a high amount of cholesterol in the blood), the use of estrogen-containing drugs such as oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, the presence of several children, diabetes, or a thalassemia diagnosis are all risk factors.

Prevention of Gallstones

The best strategy to lower the risk of “Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding high-calorie diets, and consuming high-fiber foods like vegetables and fruits are some of the best ways to prevent gallstones. Diabetics and people with hypercholesterolemia (a high level of cholesterol in the blood) require close monitoring.

More importantly, getting a yearly physical can detect gallstones early, before symptoms appear. A complete physical examination and upper abdominal ultrasound scan should be performed as soon as possible if there are any signs or symptoms of gallstones.

It is possible to develop cholecystitis and sepsis from gallstones if they are left untreated. Furthermore, it may raise the risk of developing a disease “carcinoma of the gallbladder in the future.

When can I go home?

In most cases, you can go home the same day of surgery if your pain is under control with pain medication, you’ve passed urine, and someone is available to take you up.

When can I go back to work?

The decision to work from home or at a desk is entirely up to you if this is the case. Most people take a week off of work if they have to do more manual labor or travel a lot.

When can I drive?

You can’t make an emergency stop for 48 hours following a general anesthetic, and you can’t do it again until you’re entirely comfortable. Typically, this occurs within the first three to five days following the procedure.

What tablets do I take?

Please continue to take the pain medication you were given at discharge for at least the first 24 hours and then as needed. As discussed with the surgical team members prior to discharge, continue to take any other regular medications you may be taking. Aspirin, clopidogrel, or warfarin should be used by diabetics.

When can I go to the gym/swim?

In most cases, the wounds are totally healed within ten days of the procedure. The gym is a great place to begin with light exercises. As soon as you are able, get out of bed and move around the house to lower your risk of complications like blood clots in the legs or the lungs, which can occur the day following surgery.

What about wound care?

The GP nurse will remove the clips from your skin incisions 7-10 days following the surgery if they were used to close the wounds. Once you’ve given your wounds a chance to air dry for two days, you’re free to take a shower or a bath as usual. Shower or bathe with the dressings on, replacing them if they get soaked through, before this procedure.

What should I eat and drink after the operation?

You may feel queasy due to anesthesia, painkillers, and surgery, so eat small, light meals. For the first 48 hours after surgery, you should refrain from eating anything greasy, spicy, or alcoholic.

How do I know if there is a serious problem after the surgery and what should I do if I feel unwell after I am discharged?

If you have any of the following conditions, you should return to the hospital:

  • severe abdominal or shoulder pains that are not eased by the pain medicines you are given after a few hours after being discharged from the hospital
  • flu-like symptoms, such as a fever and chills
  • a condition characterized by excessive yellowness (when your skin and whites of the eyes become yellow and your urine becomes coca-cola coloured)
  • vomitting incessantly
  • Your doctor or a GP nurse can’t help you with wound concerns.

Do I need to be followed up?

No, you should not be kept in the hospital after a straightforward procedure if there were no complications. Don’t wait until it’s too late to visit your GP about any issues connected to your operation; instead, contact your primary care physician.

How do I know if its gallbladder pain?

Symptoms of gallbladder problems include:

  • Upper right abdominal ache that comes on suddenly and gets worse quickly.
  • A sharp, stabbing pain just below your breastbone in the middle of your abdomen.
  • Shoulder blade soreness in the lower back.
  • Right shoulder discomfort
  • Nausea or vomiting

How urgent is gallstone surgery?

New research reveals that if a person is hospitalized for a gallbladder attack, surgery should generally be performed as soon as possible.

In most cases, doctors will wait until the inflammation in the gallbladder has subsided and antibiotics have begun to treat an infection before deciding to do an operation. Waiting more than 72 hours for surgery resulted in a higher rate of problems and a longer stay in the hospital, according to the study.

If you can get the surgery done early, the results may be better. An organ near the liver called the gallbladder is responsible for the storage of bile, a digestive fluid that aids in the digestion of fatty foods.

According to the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), gallstones (hard, pebble-like particles) can form in your gallbladder. They range in size from the smallest grain of sand to the largest golf ball.

A prevalent ailment is gallstones. According to the NIDDK, up to 15% of Americans are at risk.

How bad is Gallstone pain?

One to five hours, but sometimes only a few minutes, of abrupt, excruciating stomach discomfort might be caused by gallstones.

You may also feel the ache in your body:

  • In the middle of your torso (tummy)
  • There’s an area of the body just below the ribs on your right, which may spread outward.

When you go to the bathroom, pass wind, or vomit, it doesn’t alleviate the discomfort.

If you eat fatty meals, it may be provoked, but it can happen at any time of day and may wake you up in the middle of the night, too.

The incidence of biliary colic is extremely rare. For other people, it may be weeks or months before they experience pain again.

Some people also have episodes of extreme sweating and vomiting.

The term “uncomplicated gallstone disease” refers to gallstones that induce biliary colic.

How do you know if your gallbladder ruptures?

Millions of Americans suffer from gallbladder disease, which is one of the most common digestive ailments in the United States.

In an effort to help you better understand gallbladder illness, Hackensack University Medical Center’s chief of general surgery and director of robotic general surgery Stephen Pereira, M.D., answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

Pear-shaped, your gallbladder is located beneath your liver. To break down fats in your food, your liver produces bile, which is stored here. The common bile duct, which connects your gallbladder and liver to your small intestine, releases bile as food is digested in your stomach and intestines.

Symptoms of gallbladder illness include the following:

  • An excruciating pain in the upper right side of your belly — often under the ribs, occasionally spreading to the back, and more commonly felt after consuming meals (especially those high in fat)
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Afebrile body temperature (if infection is present)
  • If gallstones obstruct the common bile duct, this results in yellowing of the skin.

In rare cases, the gallbladder ruptures, bursting. Inflammation, infection, or a blunt injury such as a vehicle collision might cause a rupture.

The sooner you seek medical assistance if you’re experiencing signs of a gallbladder rupture (such as vomiting, acute abdominal pain, fever, and yellowing of the skin and eyes), the better.

An important organ is the liver, although the gallbladder is not among it. Despite the fact that it serves the purpose of storing bile, you can go without one.

Because of this, the gallbladder is frequently removed when it is ill. Having a gallbladder means that bile will flow directly from the liver into your intestines if you don’t have one.

You may be monitored by your doctor and told to avoid fatty foods if you have gallstones but don’t have any symptoms or have only had one “attack.”

A low-fat diet may be beneficial since fat encourages the gallbladder to release bile. In most cases, surgery will be advised for patients with persistent and chronic problems.

Gallstones can move from the gallbladder into the common bile duct, causing pain and yellowing of the skin.

As a last resort, these stones can be removed using an endoscope retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which is put into your intestines through your throat and bile duct. The gallbladder is surgically removed if the gallstones do not pass out of the gallbladder, which is called a cholecystectomy.

People can now have their gallbladder removed by a single incision in the navel thanks to developments in robotic surgical methods. A large number of patients can leave the hospital the same day and return to their daily routines with reduced pain. Complex gallbladder situations where inflammation, infection, or chronic scarring are present can benefit from robotic surgery.

The surgeon sits at a console and controls equipment that move the robot’s arms with the help of the robotic surgical system. The surgeon’s instruments allow him or her to move in a variety of directions, allowing him or her to do a precise procedure on the gallbladder.

Patients with complex gallbladder and bile duct problems can be cared for via robotic surgery. Robotic gallbladder removal is often an outpatient procedure, which means you can return home the same day.

Approximately 20% of patients report experiencing diarrhea, gas, and/or bloating following the procedure, but these symptoms often subside within a few weeks.

Can gallstones go away without surgery?

Only a few treatment options are available when a gallstones diagnosis has been made. If the gallstones don’t dislodge on their own, then therapy may be necessary. When gallstones aren’t causing symptoms, diet adjustments may be all that’s necessary to avoid consequences.

Gallstones can be treated with a variety of methods, including:

  • Removal of the gallbladder through surgery
  • Removing the gallbladder and its stones is known as a cholecystectomy.
  • Without a gallbladder, people can lead regular lives.
  • In circumstances where cholecystectomy is not an option, a catheter is utilized to extract the digestive enzymes that are blocked by the gallstones.
  • Treatments that do not require surgery.
  • The cholesterol that forms gallstones is progressively dissolved and broken down by bile acid salts.
  • Breaking up the stones into smaller pieces is achieved with the use of sound waves in extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).

Can gallstones be removed without removing gallbladder?

Bile duct stones can be removed using the endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) surgery.

In this surgery, the gallbladder is not removed, therefore any gallstones in the gallbladder will remain unless they are removed using other surgical techniques.

In an ERCP, an endoscope (a long, thin flexible tube with a camera at the end) is put into your mouth and down to where the bile duct enters into your small intestinal tract for diagnostic purposes (see diagnosing gallstones for more information).

ERCP, on the other hand, uses an electrically heated wire or a tiny cut to expand the bile duct aperture.

It is then possible to remove or simply allow the stones to flow through your digestive system and out of your system.

A stent, a tiny tube permanently implanted in the bile duct, can let bile and stones pass through more easily in some instances.

ERCP is typically performed under sedation, which means you’ll be aware but not in pain during the surgery.

However, it can take as long as an hour to complete the treatment on average.