Gallstones (or gallbladder stones) are hardened particles that develop inside the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small organ that sits under the liver. It aids in digestion by releasing and storing bile, a fluid that helps break down fats. The liver makes bile and sends it to the gallbladder. Gallstones are made of cholesterol crystals and other substances that are part of bile.
Gallstones that do not cause pain are usually not a problem. However, gallstones can cause the gallbladder to become infected, irritated, or inflamed. Gallstones can also obstruct the normal release of bile into the intestine if they enter and block the bile duct. A gallbladder attack is a medical emergency because an infected gallbladder can burst.
Not sure when to go to the ER for gallstones? If severe gallstone pain lasts for more than an hour or is accompanied by fever — or if you suspect a gallbladder attack — seek medical attention and emergency services immediately. Use the Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican online waiting service, InQuicker, to select your estimated arrival time for gallstones in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.
What Causes Gallbladder Stones?
Health care experts don’t fully understand why gallstones form. However, some factors that may increase your risk of developing gallstones include:
- Family history of gallstones
- Age 40 or older
- Mexican or Native American descent
- Rapid weight loss
- Being overweight or obese
Women are more likely to develop gallstones than men.
Around 80 percent of people who have gallstones do not have symptoms. As a result, they never even know they have them. Symptoms develop when gallstones move into the bile duct leading to the small intestine.
The main symptom of a gallbladder attack is severe pain in the upper right part of your abdomen. The pain may spread (radiate) to your shoulder or upper back. Nausea and vomiting may also occur.
Gallbladder Surgery & Gallstones Treatment at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican
Once you’ve had a gallbladder attack, you have a 70 percent chance of having another one. Most doctors recommend surgery to remove the gallbladder after symptoms of a gallbladder attack. In the majority of cases, doctors use laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder. This approach usually results a quicker recovery and less pain compared to an open abdominal incision.
You may have temporary digestion issues right after surgery, but you don’t need your gallbladder to live normally.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican provides treatment for gallstones in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.