Gallstones: The Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Find out about the critical aspects of gallstones, including their causes, symptoms, and effective treatment options.


What are Gallstones?

Gallstones are small, hardened deposits that form in the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. These stones are primarily made of cholesterol and can vary in size. While many people with gallstones do not experience symptoms, those who do may require gallbladder removal surgery.

Symptoms of Gallstones

Gallstones often present no symptoms but can cause severe pain if they block a duct in the gallbladder. Common symptoms include:

  • Sudden and intense pain in the upper right abdomen or the centre of the abdomen, just below the breastbone.
  • Pain between the shoulder blades or in the right shoulder.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

In some cases, gallstones can lead to complications like inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), causing persistent pain, jaundice, and high fever.

Causes of Gallstones

The exact cause of gallstones is not entirely clear, but they are thought to develop due to an imbalance in the chemical makeup of bile in the gallbladder. Factors contributing to this imbalance include:

  • Excessive cholesterol in bile.
  • High levels of bilirubin, a chemical produced when the body breaks down red blood cells.
  • Incomplete or infrequent emptying of the gallbladder.

Certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing gallstones, such as being female, over 40, overweight, or having a diet high in fat and low in fibre.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for gallstones is usually necessary only if they cause symptoms or complications. The most common treatment is a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a minimally invasive surgery to remove the gallbladder. Living without a gallbladder is possible, as the liver continues to produce bile for digestion.

To prevent gallstones, it’s recommended to maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet rich in fibre, avoid skipping meals, and lose weight gradually if necessary.

Contact The Gut Clinic UK

Gallstones are a common condition that can cause significant discomfort and complications if left untreated. The Gut Clinic UK, with its team of expert specialists, provides comprehensive care for individuals suffering from gallstones, ensuring they receive the most effective treatment tailored to their needs. By understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for gallstones, individuals can take proactive steps towards maintaining their gut health.


Find a specialist for your gut problem.

The Gut Clinic UK is a one of largest physician-led platform renowned for its exceptional Gut specialists in the United Kingdom. We take pride in our rigorous selection process for specialists, ensuring that only the most qualified and experienced professionals join our platform.

Our specialists actively engage with patients, providing them with clear explanations, answering their questions, and involving them in the decision-making process.