What to do about gallstones

Digestive diseases

Gallstones are one of the most common digestive problems treated in women.

More than 25 million people in the United States have gallstones; women are twice as likely as men to develop them. The good news is that most of the time, gallstones cause no major symptoms. For those that do, removing the gallbladder cures the problem.

What are gallstones?

The gallstone story begins with the liver's production of bile, a substance used by the small intestine to digest fatty foods and aid in the absorption of certain vitamins. Bile is made in a network of tiny ducts in the liver and carried by a larger duct to the gallbladder, a small, pear-shaped organ that concentrates and stores it. When we eat, the fat in food triggers the release of a hormone that causes the gallbladder to contract and release bile into the intestine.

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