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Gallstones are small, hard deposits of digestive fluid and cholesterol crystals that develop inside the gallbladder. Left untreated, gallstones can enter and block the duct that allows bile to flow into the small intestines during digestion. While most cases of gallstones are not painful, they can lead to inflammation, irritation, and infection. An infected gallbladder that bursts requires immediate medical attention.
In the event of a gallbladder attack, call 911 for the quickest medical care.
At Dignity Health Central California, our emergency doctors deliver quality care to prevent and treat gallbladder problems. If you or a loved one needs to go to the ER for painful gallstones in Central California, you have the option of waiting at home until you are ready to be seen. Just use our online scheduling tool, InQuicker, to select your estimated hospital arrival time.
Gallstone Symptoms: When to Get Emergency Care
The symptoms of gallstones are recognizable when the gallstones move into the bile duct and create swelling and irritation. The most common gallstone symptom is severe abdominal pain in the upper right area of the stomach, which can spread to the shoulder or upper back. You may also vomit and feel nauseous. Seek emergency medical care if these symptoms last more than two hours or you have a fever.
Around 80 percent of people who have gallstones never have symptoms.
Gallstone Causes & Risk Factors
While the causes of gallstones are not yet fully understood by medical experts, certain risk factors do play a role in their development. These include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Female gender
- Family history of gallstones
- Age 40 or older
- Native American or Mexican descent
For more information about ways to lower your risk for gallstones, meet with a provider at Dignity Health Central California.
Gallstones Treatment at Dignity Health Central California
Treatment for gallstones depends on whether or not you have symptoms.
In the event of a gallbladder attack, our doctors typically perform surgery to remove the gallbladder. Using the latest minimally invasive techniques, our doctors can perform this procedure laparoscopically, resulting in less pain and scarring and a quicker recovery time. If you have a gallbladder attack, you have about a 70 percent chance of having another one — surgery prevents this.
We offer emergency treatment and gallstone surgery at these hospital locations:
At Dignity Health Central California, our doctors, nurses, and support staff deliver personalized care with humankindness.
Dignity Health Central California provides quality gallstones treatment in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.