(Biliary Colic; Calculus of Gallbladder; Cholangitis; Cholelithiasis; Cholecystitis; Cholecystolithiasis; Choledocholithiasis)
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- Too much cholesterol in the bile
- Too much bilirubin
- Not enough bile salts
- When the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough
Problems that affect the gallbladder such as:
- Inflammation of the lining of the gallbladder
- Poor gallbladder function
- Diseases of the gallbladder and ducts
- Previous gallstones
Dietary factors such as a:
- Rapid weight loss and fasting
- High fat diet
- Certain conditions such as diabetes or Crohn's disease
- Blockage in the biliary tract
- History of intestinal problems
- Blood diseases that increase breakdown of hemoglobin and therefore bile production, including sickle cell anemia
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Metabolic syndrome
- Lack of physical activity
- Thiazide diuretics
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs—fibrates
- Intermittent pain on the right, below the rib cage; the pain may spread
- Bloating, nausea, and vomiting
- Belching, gas, and indigestion
- Abdominal pain
- Low-grade fever
- Yellowish color of the skin or whites of the eyes
- Clay-colored stools
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy —the removal of the gallbladder through several small incisions in the abdomen. To view the gallbladder, a small, lighted tube with a camera is inserted into one of the incisions. Surgical instruments are used to remove the gallbladder through one of the other incisions.
- Open cholecystectomy—the removal of the gallbladder through a large incision in the abdomen. This is necessary if there is an infection in the abdomen or a great deal of scar tissue.
- Over-the-counter or prescription medication to control pain
- Bile salt tablets to dissolve gallstones; these medications may need to be taken for months or years until the stones are dissolved
American Liver Foundation http://www.liverfoundation.org
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov
Canadian Liver Foundation http://www.liver.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Gallstones. American Academy of Family Physicians' FamilyDoctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/gallstones.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.
Gallstones. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 19, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.
Gallstones. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gallstones. Updated November 27, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014.
6/18/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Yarmish GM, Smith MP, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria on right upper quadrant pain. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/RightUpperQuadrantPain.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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