Gallstones are hardened deposits of digested fluid known as bile. These deposits form in the gallbladder, a small organ located beneath the liver. The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver and then releases it into the small intestine as needed.
Gallstones may range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball and they can be broken down into two types:
Risk factors for developing gallstones may include:
While most gallstones are asymptomatic, symptoms can include nausea, fever, jaundice and dark urine.
Typically, however, symptoms only present when gallstones cause a blockage in a bile duct. When a blockage occurs, symptoms may include:
The pain may last anywhere from several minutes to several hours.
As previously stated, gallstones typically do not show any signs or symptoms. They are usually only revealed in an ultrasound or CT for an unrelated condition. Therefore, they often do not require treatment.
However, gallstones that do cause symptoms may be treated in the following ways:
Learn more about all things digestive health and wellness by checking out our recent gastroenterology blogs.
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At Digestive Healthcare Center, our team of physicians has years of experience diagnosing and treating all manner of digestive disorders and conditions. We will work with you to determine the cause of your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our three gastroenterology centers in NJ or to set up a telemedicine virtual visit.
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