Cholesterolosis: It’s a condition that causes complication in gall bladder which is actually a small pear shaped sac lying under the liver.
The main function of gall bladder is that it stores bile juice that helps convert cholesterol and fats into cholesteryl esters to help in the digestion process. These cholesteryl esters further allow fatty acids and cholesterol to get transported through your body.
Cholesterolosis mainly happens after the formation and accumulation of cholesteryl esters in gall bladder. And due to this, they get stick to the wall of your gall bladder forming polyps.
The above condition has been found to be quite common in adults as compared to children. In the past, we all witnessed how only a fewer incidences in children were reported mainly due to the less number of tests done on children’s gallbladders.
When we say ‘Less imaging’, it simply means that cholesterolosis couldn’t be diagnosed mainly due to the lack of the symptoms.
Reports suggest that Cholesterolosis can be either diffused or localized.
The formation of localized cholesterolosismay lead to the formation of individual polyps. While the diffused cholesterolosis means the presence of a group of polyps.
Diffused cholesterolosis is also known by another term strawberry gallbladder.
Those who suffer from cholesterolosis generally do not experience any symptoms. But some experts believe that its symptoms can be like that of having gallstones.
cholesterolosis is known to occur when an abnormally high levels of cholesteryl esters form. It’s believed to happen from degeneration during the natural age which is a constant process.
To be precise, the actual cause of secretion of such a high amount of cholesteryl esters is still unknown and is under debate.
Although, various studies conducted in this regard don’t show a direct relation between the possible causes. There are some causes that may lead to its production like:
- Elevated BMI
- Elevated serum cholesterol levels
- Alcohol consumption
While scientists are in the phase of confirming the above causes, they are still not at the position of confirming any of the above results.
However, there are some studies that show patients with cholesterolosis have a higher amount of saturated cholesterol in their bile. Why it causes this enhanced level of saturated cholesterol in their bile is a point of discussion.
Due to all the above confusion, studies are being conducted to find a proven cause of cholesterolosis apart from the degenerative process of ageing.
Treatment & Management Options
In the majority of cases, you won’t be able to know the actual cause of cholesterolosis unless you go for some tests like ultrasound and other imaging tests related to gallstones.
As there are not symptoms directly linked with the occurrence of cholesterolosis and the polyps are generally benign, there is no treatment required.
In case, you become a suspect of cholesterolosis as per your doctor, you may be asked to go for a MRI scan once a year mainly to keep an eye on polyps. There are some cases where a doctor likes to go for a biopsy of your polyps to get a confirmation that they are indeed benign.
Some experts believe that if you are able to keep your general health in a good state, there are no chances that you have cholesterolosis. By general health, we mean the following:
- Not smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Controlling high cholesterol
- Losing excess weight or keeping your BNI in a recommended level
However, there are not sufficient data that controlling all the above measure will improve the above condition. But in general, controlling all the above will definitely improve your overall health.
How Cholesterolosis Is Diagnosed?
Cholesterolosis is mainly found by undergoing some tests like MRI, cholecystectomy, ultrasound or some other imaging tests. But this condition is often diagnosed after conducting tests during imaging to diagnose gallstones.
Complications & Associated Conditions of Cholesterolosis
Please note that there are no known causes of benign cholesterolosis. But as per some experts, the above condition may become the reason to increase the risk of gallstones. Still, there is no proof about the same till date.
Medical experts have found the most common condition directly associated with cholesterolosis which is called adenomyomatosis.
It’s because adenomyomatosis looks quite similar to some other imaging procedures. In any case, your doctor will always ask you to go for an MRI so as to tell the difference between the two medical conditions.
There are some other uncommon cases of cholesterolosis found in children, associated with some other medical conditions like:
- Pancreatobiliary malunion: It’s a case of bile duct obstruction
- Metachromatic leukodystrophy: This condition causes an abnormal accumulation of fats in cells
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome: It causes the formation of noncancerous polypsin the gastrointestinal tract
Please note that most cases of cholesterolosis are benign in nature. But if you have somewhat larger polyps, your doctor may ask you to go for some other imaging tests to check them precisely. Otherwise, it will have no direct effect on your overall health.
- Sandri L, et al. (2003). Gallbladder cholesterol polyps and cholesterolosis.
- Watanabe F, et al. (1998). Increased acylCoA-cholesterol ester acyltransferase activity in gallbladder mucosa in patients with gallbladder cholesterolosis.
- Sahlin S, et al. (1995). Cholesterol metabolism in liver and gallbladder mucosa of patients with cholesterolosis.