(Cholelithiasis; Biliary Calculi)
]]>Gallstones]]> are solid particles that form within the gallbladder. Gallstones form from a liquid substance called bile.
Bile is mostly made up of water, salts, cholesterol, and lecithin. The liver makes bile and the gallbladder is the organ that stores it for later use. During digestion, bile is secreted into the small intestine to help with the breakdown of fat.
If the concentration of bile changes, particles can develop out of the liquid bile. The particles form solids called gallstones. Gallstones are most often made up of cholesterol particles in 85% of the cases.
Gallstones often go unnoticed, but sometimes they can turn into potentially serious conditions that may require care from your doctor.
Gallstones are the most common cause of gastrointestinal complications in the US. About 15-20 million people are affected by them.
Gallstones occur more often in women than men. Roughly 20% of females and 5% of males develop them. Symptomatic gallstones occur more often in pregnant women. Surgery to remove the gallbladder is called ]]>cholecystectomy]]>. Roughly 500,000 of these surgeries are done each year in the US.
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]]>Where can I get more information about gallstones?]]>
Adler DG, Baron TH, Davila RE, et al. ASGE guideline: the role of ERCP in diseases of the biliary tract and the pancreas. Gastrointest Endosc. 2005;62:1-8.
Ahmed A, Cheung RC, Keefe EB. Management of gallstones and their complications. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61:1673-1678.
Beers MH, Berkow R. The Merck Manual. 18th ed. West Point, PA: Merck and Co; 2006.
Gallstones. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamicmedical.com/dynamed.nsf?opendatabase. Accessed December 19, 2005.
Gallstones. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gallstones/DS00165. Accessed January 3, 2006.
Gallstones. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000273.htm. Accessed January 3, 2006.
Gallstones. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gallstones/. Accessed January 3, 2006.
Portincasa P, Moschetta A, Palasciano G. Cholesterol gallstone disease. Lancet. 2006;368:230-239.
Last reviewed June 2009 by ]]>Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, 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 medical condition.
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