- Reviewed by Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor
In the hierarchy of digestive organs, you might first list the stomach, liver, or colon. But there's a pear-shaped sac tucked under your liver that barely gets a second thought: the lowly gallbladder.
This small but mighty organ plays an important role in helping us digest food, but we often don't acknowledge it unless something goes wrong — which happens in about 15% of American adults, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Yet gallbladder disease — which includes stones, inflammation, infection, or blockage — can lead to excruciating pain or even life-threatening complications down the line.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
About the Author
Maureen Salamon, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
About the Reviewer
Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.