Yaz And Gallstones

by Steve Fields on November 4th, 2009

The connection between Yaz and gallstones exists on two fronts. First, taking this birth control pill is thought to elevate the level of cholesterol that finds its way into your liver. Second, Yasmin / Yaz is thought to reduce the activity of your gallbladder. Both can contribute to the slow formation of stones. Gallbladder problems are one of the most commonly reported serious Yaz side effects affecting women using this birth control pill.

How Gallstones Form

Normally, your liver excretes bile into the common hepatic duct (part of your biliary tract). The bile contains a small amount of cholesterol. It enters your gallbladder and remains there until food reaches your small intestine. The presence of food in your small intestine triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin. This hormone causes your gallbladder to contract and push the bile into the cystic duct.

Elevated levels of cholesterol that are secreted from your liver contribute to the formation of gallstones through a process known as cholelithiasis. Moreover, if Yasmin causes your gallbladder to contract less frequently, the cholesterol remains within the organ. There, it crystallizes through a process called supersaturation. That leads to stones.

Gallstones are rarely symptomatic, and in cases where symptoms do present, there are seldom complications. However, if you are taking Yaz birth control and gallstones form, the stones can cause inflammation and worse, infection.

Potential For Infection With Yaz And Gallstones

If infection from gallstones spreads beyond your gallbladder to other areas of your body, it can become dangerous. For example, your common bile duct (the tract through which bile enters your small intestine) can develop an infection from the presence of stones. If the infection is caught early enough, it can be treated with antibiotics. However, if it spreads into your liver, it can cause liver disease and sepsis.

Yasmin and gallstones that prevent bile from exiting your gallbladder will cause the organ to become inflamed. In addition to triggering abdominal pain, the inflammation can cause pus to form, a condition known as empyema. This can impact surgery. Most doctors prefer to treat symptomatic gallstones by surgically removing the gallbladder with a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopic cholecystectomy. If empyema presents, invasive open surgery may be necessary.

Infection and inflammation within your gallbladder can also cause a fistula to form. The gall bladder adheres to another organ and a shared hole develops between them. This allows gallstones to pass into the adjoining organ, causing additional problems. Fistulas are extremely dangerous and usually require surgery in order to resolve.

The primary danger of any type of infection from gallstones is that the infection can reach your bloodstream. When that happens, it will travel to other areas of your body and cause systemic problems.

When Gallstones Lead To Gallbladder Removal Surgery

Gallstones that form after using Yaz oral contraceptives may never become symptomatic and require treatment. However, if they cause inflammation, your doctor will recommend gallbladder removal surgery. The preferred approach is to remove your gallbladder laparoscopically. A few small incisions are made into your abdomen through which the organ is carefully extracted.

Unfortunately, if infection is present, the surgeon may be forced to perform open surgery. That requires making a long incision (5 to 8 inches) into your abdomen and cutting through your abdominal muscles to reach and remove your gallbladder.

If you have developed gallstones after taking Yasmin or Yaz birth control pills, see your doctor to make sure there is no infection present. If there is, your symptoms will likely include nausea, vomiting, pain in your abdomen and back, and a yellowish tint to your skin. These are signs that you need immediate treatment. After you have received medical attention, contact a Yaz attorney. You may be able to file a claim against the oral contraceptive’s manufacturer.


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