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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What are gallstones?
Gallstones are small, pebble-like stones that form in your gallbladder, a fig-sized organ that is part of your digestive system and lies underneath your liver. Made from cholesterol, calcium salts and bile pigment, gallstones are very common.
What causes gallstones?
The actual cause of gallstones is still unknown, but it is thought that they are created because of an imbalance in the creation and storage of bile, which assists in breaking down cholesterol, some fats and fat-soluble vitamins, bilirubin, and drug by-products. The …
Who can develop gallstones?
Risk factors for developing gallstones include: Gender - females have a much higher risk of developing gallstones; Obesity; Losing weight rapidly or frequent fasting; Pregnancy; Age - especially once you are over 40 years of age; Genes - they are more …
How are gallstones diagnosed?
A common bedside test for gallstones is to breathe in while your doctor taps on the area above your gallbladder. If there is extreme pain, it may help confirm a diagnosis of an inflamed gall bladder (cholecystitis), often caused by gallstones. Gallstones can …
How are gallstones treated?
Gallstones that are found incidentally and don't cause symptoms, generally do not need treatment. During an acute attack of biliary colic, treatment focuses on managing the pain with pain-relief medications. If you have gallstones that are small and don't …
Will gallstones clear up without treatment?
It is unlikely that gallstones will clear up without treatment, but since in most cases gallstones show no symptoms, treatment is not required. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly may help keep you …
Will gallstones keep returning?
Gallstones may come back, even after surgery. However, if they do, it will usually be within the bile ducts, which can be more problematic. Therefore, even if you have had surgery to treat gallstones, a lifestyle of healthy weight, low-fat diet and …
Are there different types of gallstones?
There are three different types of gallstones: Cholesterol stones are formed from solidified cholesterol and are quite large. Pigmented stones are small, dark-looking stones made of bilirubin pigments and are usually small and numerous. Mixed stones …
About this article
Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.9 out of 5
Votes: 499 (Click smiley face below left to rate)