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Complications

Gallstones are small stones that form in the gallbladder, a small organ found near the liver.

Gallstones can cause sudden episodes of severe tummy pain. But many people with gallstones have no symptoms.

Gallstones do not always need to be treated. If they're causing problems, you may need surgery to remove your gallbladder.

Gallstones are thought to be caused by too much cholesterol in your gallbladder. Women and people who are overweight or over 40 are most at risk.

Read more on the NHS website.

Gallstones can cause sudden episodes of severe tummy pain. But many people with gallstones have no symptoms.

Symptoms of gallstones

Gallstones often have no symptoms.

But if a gallstone becomes trapped in an opening (duct) inside the gallbladder, it can trigger a sudden, intense pain in your tummy that usually lasts between 1 and 5 hours.

This type of abdominal pain is known as biliary colic.

Some people with gallstones can also develop complications, such as inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis).

This can cause:

When gallstones cause symptoms or complications, it's known as gallstone disease or cholelithiasis.

Read more on the NHS website.

Gallstones do not always need to be treated. If they're causing problems, you may need surgery to remove your gallbladder.

Medical treatments

Treatment is usually only necessary if gallstones are causing:

In these cases, keyhole surgery to remove the gallbladder may be recommended. 

This procedure, known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, is relatively simple to perform and has a low risk of complications.

It's possible to lead a normal life without a gallbladder.

Your liver will still produce bile to digest food, but the bile will drip continuously into the small intestine, rather than build up in the gallbladder.

Read more on the NHS website.

Gallstones are thought to be caused by too much cholesterol in your gallbladder. Women and people who are overweight or over 40 are most at risk.

Read more on the NHS website.