Liver and Gallbladder

The liver is the largest internal organ in our body. It performs more than 500 different vital functions. One of which is the liver act like a detoxifier of the body, helping the body to get rid of toxins. It has a system of tubes within it called the bile ducts which collects a chemical called bile that is produced by the liver. Bile is needed by us to help us digest fat, along with the help of enzymes produced by the pancreas. This bile is transported by the bile ducts into a main tube outside the liver called the common bile duct, which connects the liver to the small intestine (duodenum). The gallbladder is a small bag-like organ that is attached to the common bile duct. Its function is to store excess bile.

Based on the Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report 2015, liver cancer is the 4th most frequent cancer in males. Part of the reason for this is the prevalence of Hepatitis B infection in Singapore. Another important disease that is on the rise is Fatty Liver, which can cause chronic inflammation and subsequently, liver cancer.

Problems of the liver and gallbladder may present with the following symptoms:
  • Abdominal pain, usually in the upper right abdomen or the gastric area
  • Abdominal bloating, especially after food
  • Pain felt over the right shoulder blade
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the white of the eyes)
  • Dark urine and pale stools
  • Abdominal swelling and leg swelling
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Abdominal lump, usually felt over the upper part of the abdomen
We highlight some of the common conditions here:

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