Hard particles that develop in the gallbladder
Gallstones are hard particles that develop in the gallbladder that can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Your gallbladder is most likely to give you trouble if something blocks the flow of bile through the bile ducts. That is usually a gallstone, which is formed when substances in bile harden. Gallstone attacks often happen after you eat. Signs of a gallstone attack may include nausea, vomiting or pain in the abdomen, back or just under the right arm.
Gallstones are most common among older adults, women, overweight people, Native Americans and Mexican Americans.
Gallstones are often found during imaging tests for other health conditions. If you do not have symptoms, you usually do not need treatment. The most common treatment is removal of the gallbladder. Fortunately, you can live without a gallbladder. Bile has other ways to reach your small intestine.
The presence of at least one gallstone in the common bile duct is referred to as choledocholithiasis. If the stones travel into the common bile duct, the tube connecting the liver to the intestine, they can become stuck and block the flow of bile.