Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver. The gallbladder holds a digestive fluid called bile that's released into your small intestine.
Gallstones range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. Some people develop just one gallstone, while others develop many gallstones at the same time.
People who experience symptoms from their gallstones usually require gallbladder removal surgery. Gallstones that don't cause any signs and symptoms typically don't need treatment.
Aug. 18, 2016
- Gallstones. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/gallstones/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed June 15, 2016.
- Understanding gallstones. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/info_for_patients/2013/6/6/understanding-gallstones. Accessed June 15, 2016.
- Choi Y, et al. Biliary tract disorders, gallbladder disorders and gallstone pancreatitis. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/biliary-tract-disorders-gallbladder-disorders-and-gallstone-pancreatitis/. Accessed June 15, 2016.
- What are the risk factors for gallbladder cancer? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/gallbladdercancer/detailedguide/gallbladder-risk-factors. Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Feldman M, et al. Gallstone disease. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 23, 2016.