PATIENT EDUCATION: What Are Gallstones?

gallstonesGallstones (commonly misspelled gall stones or gall stone) are solid particles that form from bile cholesterol and bilirubin in the gallbladder.

  • The gallbladder is a small saclike organ in the upper right part of the abdomen. It is located under the liver, just below the front rib cage on the right side.
  • The gallbladder is part of the biliary system, which includes the liver and the pancreas.
  • The biliary system, among other functions, transports bile and digestive enzymes.

Bile is a fluid made by the liver to help in the digestion of fats.

  • It contains several different substances, including cholesterol and bilirubin, a waste product of normal breakdown of blood cells in the liver.
  • Bile is stored in the gallbladder until needed.
  • When we eat a high-fat, high-cholesterol meal, the gallbladder contracts and injects bile into the small intestine via a small tube called the common bile duct. The bile then assists in the digestive process.
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