(Biliary Colic; Calculus of Gallbladder; Cholangitis; Cholelithiasis; Cholecystitis; Cholecystolithiasis; Choledocholithiasis)
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- Too much absorption of bile salts from the bile
- Too much absorption of water from the bile
- Too much cholesterol in the bile
- Inflammation of the lining of the gallbladder
- Age: older than 60 years
- Women between 20 and 60 years old
- Women with high estrogen levels due to pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, or hormone replacement therapy
- Race: Pima Indians and other Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Northern Europeans
- Use of cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Rapid weight loss and fasting
- Previous gallstones
- Diseases of the gallbladder and ducts
- Blood diseases, including sickle cell anemia
- Intermittent pain on the right, below the ribcage
- Bloating, nausea, and vomiting
- Belching, gas, and indigestion
- Abdominal pain
- Low-grade fever
- Jaundice (yellowish color of the skin or whites of the eyes)
- Clay-colored stools
- Abdominal x-ray—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, about 15% of gallstones can be seen on plain x-rays
- Ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to find gallstones
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)—an accurate and non-invasive means of evaluating the pancreas and gallbladder
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)—a test that uses a combination of endoscopy (the use of a flexible fiberoptic camera to look into your digestive system) and x-rays
- Cholecystogram or cholescintigraphy—x-rays that show movement of the gallbladder and any blockage of the cystic duct that carries bile to the bile duct
- Blood tests—may be used to find an infection, jaundice, pancreatitis, or an obstruction
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy—Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is 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—Open cholecystectomy is 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.
American Liver Foundation http://www.liverfoundation.org
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov
Canadian Liver Foundation http://www.liver.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Editorial staff and contributors. Other treatments for gallstones. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated December 7, 2009. Accessed July 15, 2010.
Gallstones. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated July 13, 2010. Accessed June 15, 2010.
Gallstones. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/gallstones.html. Updated September 2008. Accessed June 21, 2009.
Gallstones. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gallstones. Updated July 2007. Accessed June 23, 2008.
Mahnke D. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated June 1, 2010. Accessed July 15, 2010.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/93/2012 -