What Are Gallstones

 In Other Conditions

The gallbladder lies under your liver in the upper right side of your abdomen and stores bile that helps break down fat in your intestines. Sometimes gallstones can form in the gallbladder, they are made from cholesterol or pigment and range in size from small to large. The image below highlights gallstones found during a Health Nucleus MRI.

What are possible symptoms?

  • Right upper abdomen pain
  • Pain may radiate to the right shoulder or upper back
  • Nausea and vomiting

What are risk factors for developing gallstones?

  • Obesity
  • Rapid Weight loss
  • Pregnancy
  • Estrogen intake (including birth control pills)
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Diabetes
  • Family history and genetics can play a role

Potential complications?

  • Inflammation of the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis) caused by a gallstone blockage
  • If the gallstones exit the gallbladder and block the area where the bile would exit this is called choledocholithiasis
  • Jaundice
  • Infection
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Tear in the gallbladder

What are possible treatments?

  • If no symptoms, then no treatment is needed
  • If there are symptoms, then surgery to remove the gallstones or gallbladder
  • Lithotripsy: a non-surgical treatment option

How do I prevent gallstones?

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Increase physical activity

Where can I get more information?

For additional information, please seek guidance from your primary care provider.


Afdhal, N. H (2016) Approach to the patient with incidental gallstones. In Chopra S & Grover, S (Eds.)  UptoDate. Available from: http:// https://www.uptodate.com/contents/approach-to-the-patient-with-incidental-gallstones?search=gallstone&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

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