About 80% of people who have gallstones have no symptoms. These cases are called “silent gallstones,” which cause no problems and do not require treatment.
For those people who do have symptoms, gallstones often cause pain in the upper abdomen. The “attack” begins suddenly, often after a fatty meal and often during the night.
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Steady and sharp pain in the upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours Pain in the back between the shoulder blades Pain under the right shoulder Nausea and/or vomiting Diarrhea Abdominal bloating Recurring intolerance of fatty foods Colic Belching Gas Indigestion Worsening of heartburn Abdominal pain after a fatty meal
Contact your healthcare provider
if you have the above symptoms and any of the following:
Sweating Chills Low-grade fever Yellowish color of the skin or whites of the eyes Clay-colored stools
Adler DG, Baron TH, Davila RE, et al. ASGE guideline: the role of ERCP in diseases of the biliary tract and the pancreas.
Ahmed A, Cheung RC, Keefe EB. Management of gallstones and their complications.
Am Fam Physician.
American College of Gastroenterology
website. Available at: www.acg.gi.org.
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
website. Available at:
Portincasa P, Moschetta A, Palasciano G. Cholesterol gallstone disease.
Portincasa P, Moschetta A, Petruzzelli M, et al. Gallstone disease: Symptoms and diagnosis of gallbladder stones.
Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol.
Last reviewed November 2008 by
Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.