Gallstones Gallstones


Stones or hardened deposits that form in the gallbladder are called gallstones. The stones or lumps are made up of cholesterol. The gall bladder is an organ situated beneath the liver in the abdomen. The gall bladder collects and stores bile, a combination of fluid, fat, and cholesterol. Bile helps in the digestion or breakdown of food. Gallstones frequently cause abdominal pain and can lead to infections if not removed. There are two main types of gallstones: Cholesterol gallstones – Made of undissolved cholesterol, and the most common Pigment Gallstones – Made of bilirubin.

Symptoms of gallstone are as below:

  • Sudden abdominal pain
  • Back pain between shoulders
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the right shoulder
  • Indigestion
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice: yellow skin or eyes


  • Bile containing too much cholesterol
  • Bile containing too much bilirubin
  • Not enough bile salts
  • Gall bladder doesn’t empty completely or often enough
  • Obesity 
  • Pregnancy
  • Intake of high-fat diet
  • Intestinal diseases
  • Diabetes

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we just remove stones and leave the gallbladder alone?

In patients with gallstones, the gallbladder is diseased, unlike with kidney stones where the kidneys are healthy. Even if the stones are removed, they will recur within 3-6 months.

Do all gallstones need to be treated? What size stones are to be treated?

Unlike in kidney stones, the treatment of gallstones is not decided by the size and number of stones. Only the presence of stones and associated symptoms decide treatment. If a patient has symptoms, even a single stone needs removal irrespective of size. Likewise, if patient has no symptoms and gallstones are detected during general health check-up patient can simply followed up even if he has multiple stones.


How do you reduce the risk of having gallstones?

Preventive measures and methods to reduce the risk, once affected are:

  • Eat high-fibre foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Lose weight slowly and safely
  • Regular physical activity.