What Causes Gallstones: Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors & Treatment


Gallstones are hard deposits composed in the gallbladder, also known as cholelithiasis. When stones are seen in the common bile duct, this referred to as Choledocholithiasis. Gallstones can be composed cholesterol, bilirubin, and mixed. Gallstones are composed due to high calibers of cholesterol from dietary intake. Another consequential factor that can contribute to gallstone formation is the problem with the contraction of the gallbladder, how often and well the gallbladder empty itself. Other may include, the presence of protein in the liver and bile that increments cholesterol crystallization leading to stone formation. Gallstones are commonly occurred and can lead to a variety of complications.

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Types Of Gallstones

There are two main types of gallstones:

Cholesterol gallstones - these may form if there is an exorbitant amount of cholesterol in the bile?

Pigment gallstones - these form when the bile has an extravagant amount of bilirubin. They are more prevalent among patients who have liver disease, infected bile tubes or blood disorders, such as sickle-cell anemia.

Risk factors

While your body engenders cholesterol naturally, you can additionally take in excess cholesterol through your diet. Many risk factors for gallstones are cognate to diet. These include:

  • A diet that’s high in fat or cholesterol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Rapid weight loss within a short period of time
  • Diet that’s high in fiber
  • Diabetes Mellitus

Other Risk Factors Include:

  • Being pregnant
  • Being female
  • Being of American Indian or Mexican-American descent
  • Familial history of gallstones
  • Having cirrhosis of the liver
  • Age 60 or older
  • Taking medications that have a high estrogen content
  • Taking certain medications for lowering cholesterol

Gallstone Symptoms

Gallstones symptomesYou will not experience any symptoms if gallstones have. According to American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), 80 percent people of gallstones don’t have any pain. Th
ese called “silent” gallstones. Your physicians may find these stones from in your gallbladder X-rays or be performing surgery on your abdomen.
Some people have gallstone symptoms. The most mundane symptom of gallstones is the pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. The pain often radiates to back or right shoulder.

Other Symptoms Include:

  • Pyrexia(fever)
  • A yellowish tint to your skin or ocular perceivers, which can betoken Jaundice
  • Nausea or regurgitating(Vomiting)
  • clay-colored stools

Gallstone Diagnosis

If your physicians think may have gallstones, he'll may you a physical exam. You may additionally get:

Blood tests to check for designations of infection or obstruction, and to rule out other conditions.

Ultrasound. This expeditious procedure is done in your doctor’s office, and it makes images of the inside of your body.

CT scan. Specialized X-rays sanction your medico to optically discern inside your body, including gallbladder.

Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). This test utilizes a magnetic field and pulses of radio-wave energy to make pictures of the inside of your body, including the liver and gallbladder.

Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan). This test can check on whether the gallbladder constructs correctly. Medicos inject an innocuous radioactive material, which makes its way to the organ. The technician can then watch its kineticism.

Endoscopic ultrasound. This test coalesces ultrasound and endoscopy to probe for gallstones.

Treatment For Gallstone /Surgery

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). The physicians insert an endoscope through your mouth down to the minute(small) intestine and inject a dye to sanction the bile ducts to be visually perceived. He can often then abstract any gallstones that have moved into the ducts.

May take up to 24 months to be efficacious. It is not as efficacious as surgery but is sometimes the only choice for patients who cannot have a general anesthetic.

ERCP (Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)Treatments for gallstones

The gallstones are only treated if they caused gallbladder inflammation, blockage bile ducts, or if they have peregrinate from the bile ducts into the intestines. Patients who are treated are generally put on a low-fat diet.


Cholecystectomy denotes the surgical abstraction of the gallbladder. This is conventionally performed with keyhole surgery (minimally invasive surgery) - a diminutive incision is made. However, sometimes keyhole surgery not possible for near about 10% of patients, who need open cholecystectomy. With open cholecystectomy, a colossal cut is made in the patient's abdomen. Patients who undergo open surgery require a longer hospital stay and recovery of time. If a patient's gallbladder is astringently inflamed he/she will require open surgery.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid-

If gallstones are composed of cholesterol it can sometimes be gradually dissolved with ursodeoxycholic acid. This type of treatment

In rare cases, when a patient cannot have surgery or ursodeoxycholic acid, he/she may undergo ERCP, which requires a local anesthesia. A flexible fiber-optic camera (endoscope) goes down patient's mouth, through digestive system, and into the gallbladder. An electrically heated wire widens the aperture of the bile duct; the stones are abstracted or left to pass into the intestine.


Ultrasonic shock waves are aimed at gallstones which break them up. If they become minute(small) enough they can then pass safely in the patient's stools. This type of treatment is unconventional and is only ever used when there are few gallstones present.

Complications Of Gallstones

If bile duct or duodenum are blocked by gallstones, the flow of digestive juices to the pancreas may block, this can cause jaundice and acute pancreatitis. Treatment customarily involves the surgical abstraction of the gallbladders.

It is prevalent for people who have had their gallbladder abstracted to experience feelings of indigestion, especially when they have a high-fat food. Some may pass more stools often than before.