Bile: Bile is a yellow-green fluid that is made by the liver, stored in the gallbladder and passes through the common bile duct into the duodenum where it helps digest fat. The principal components of bile are cholesterol, bile salts, and the pigment bilirubin.
An imbalance between these components of bile leads to the formation of gallstones. Gallstones can thus be composed of different materials. Cholesterol gallstones form when there is an imbalance between the amounts of cholesterol and the bile salts. Cholesterol is normally kept in liquid form by the dissolving action of the bile salts. An increased amount of cholesterol in the bile overwhelms the dissolving capacity of the bile salts and leads to the formation of cholesterol gallstones. Similarly, a deficiency of bile salts promotes cholesterol gallstone formation. Pigment gallstones are frequently associated with chronic infection in the bile, especially in certain Asian countries where parasitic infection of the bile ducts is common. Patients with blood diseases that cause excessive breakdown of red blood cells can have increased amounts of bilirubin (breakdown product of red cells) in the bile, thus causing bilirubin gallstone formation.
- Bile acid
Bile acid: An acid made by the liver that works with bile to break down fats. On a more technical level, bile acids are steroid carboxylic acids derived from cholesterol. The primary bile acids are cholic and chenodeoxycholic acids. They are conjugated with glycine or taurine before they are secreted into the bile.
- Bile acid resin
Bile acid resin: Bile acid resins are substances that bind in the intestines with bile acids that contain cholesterol and are then eliminated in the stool. The major effect of bile acid resins is to lower LDL-cholesterol by about 10 to 20 percent. Small doses of resins can produce useful reductions in LDL-cholesterol. Bile acid […]
- Bile duct cancer
surgery (taking out the cancer or taking steps to relieve symptoms caused by the cancer), radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays to kill the cancer cells); and chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells). The chances of recovery and the choice of treatment depend on the location of the cancer in the bile duct, the stage […]
- Bile sludge
Bile sludge: A mixture of microscopic particulate matter in bile that occurs when particles of material precipitate from bile. Bile is the fluid that is made by the liver. It is stored in the gallbladder until after a meal, when it passes out of the gallbladder and through the common bile duct into the intestine […]
Bilharzia: A schistosome, a trematode worm parasite. Three main species of these worms’Schistosoma haematobium, S. japonicum, and S. mansoni’cause disease in humans. Larval forms of the parasite live in freshwater snails. When the parasite is liberated from the snail, it burrows into the skin, transforms to the schistosomulum stage, and migrates to the urinary tract […]