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Gallstones

Oral and Gastrointestinal

Gallstones are hardened pieces of material that form in your gallbladder – a small organ just under the liver and next to your pancreas. The gallbladder secretes bile from your liver into your intestines to aid in the digestion of fats. Sometimes, for reasons unknown, the bile fluid (along with other substances) form into gallstones that either sit inside the gallbladder or they can be ejected into the common bile duct. This can cause blockages in the bile duct or the opening to the pancreas triggering a gallbladder attack. During a gallbladder attack, a person may suffer from intense pain with nausea and vomiting. These attacks often happen after a high-fat meal, with caffeine intake, or randomly for no clear reason. Usually occurring during the evening or night, the pain can last from 20 minutes to a few hours, and even a few days. Gallstones with no symptoms are usually not surgically treated but can be managed with a strict diet to prevent more from forming. Untreated gallstones accompanied by symptoms can cause severe complications that may require surgical intervention and gallbladder removal.

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