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The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid made by the liver. Bile helps digest fats in the foods you eat. Gallstones form when certain substances in the bile crystallize and become solid. In some cases, the stones don’t cause any symptoms. In  others, they irritate the walls of the gallbladder. More serious problems can occur if stones move into nearby ducts- such as the common bile duct- and case blockages. This stops the flow of bile and can lead to pain, nausea, and infection.

According to the Mayo Clinic, ‘Gallstones range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball.’

Common Symptoms

Gallbladder problems can cause painful attacks, often after a meal. Some people have only one attack, and possibly a single stone, while others may have multiple stones:

  • Severe pain or aching in the upper abdomen, back, or right shoulder blade
  • A dull ache beneath the ribs or breastbone
  • Nausea, upset stomach, or vomiting
  • Jaundice (a buildup of bile chemicals in the blood), which causes yellowing of the skin, eyes, dark urine, and itching

Treating Gallstones

If your stones are not causing symptoms, you may choose to delay treatment. But if you’ve had one or more painful attacks, your doctor will likely recommend removing your gallbladder. This prevents more stones from forming and causing attacks. It also helps prevent complications, such as stones passing into the ducts and causing infection or pancreatitis. After the gallbladder is removed, your liver will still make bile to aid digestion.

Diet for Gallbladder health & during Gallbladder problems

According to WebMD, healthy foods for your Gallbladder include, “fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains  (whole-wheat bread, brown rice, oats, bran cereal); lean meat, poultry, and fish; low-fat dairy products.” The following is a list of foods to avoid if you’re experiencing Gallbladder problems, provided by WebMD: “Fried foods; highly processes foods (doughnuts, pie, cookies); whole-milk dairy products (cheese, ice cream, butter); Fatty red meat.”

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to check on your Gallbladder health, click here. Granite Peaks is able to see patients within one week if the needs are non-emergent.  No referral is necessary. Please call our offices at, (801) 619-9000 with additional questions.