Gallstones and Gallbladder

Also known as: cholelithiasis.

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ attached to the liver that stores bile.

What are gallstones?

Gallstones are abnormal solid deposits made of cholesterol and biliary pigments. They are found inside the gallbladder.

What causes gallstones?

The precise cause of gallstones isn’t clear. It appears to be formed due to alterations in the bile composition due to inadequate diet or abnormal lipid and bilirubin metabolism.

What are the symptoms of gallstones?

Symptoms of gallstones may include pain:

  • Pain (sometimes intense)
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dark Urine
  • Unusual Stools

Gallstones can cause life-threatening infections of the bile duct, severe inflammation of the pancreas and the gallbladder.

What are gallstones treatments?

If there is pain associated with gallstones, removal of the gallbladder is indicated. If there is no pain, surgery is not usually necessary. Another option for high risk patients is to try dissolving them with improved diet and medication but this is often unsuccessful and not the standard practice. For otherwise healthy patients.

Reviewed by: Dr. Juan L Calisto, MD

This page was last updated on: September 09, 2019 10:09 AM