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If your gallstones are causing painful symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery to have your gallbladder removed entirely, called a cholecystectomy. It sounds extreme, but don’t worry—you can function without it.

Gallstones are tiny hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. They become troublesome when they get lodged in a duct, creating a blockage.

The function of your gallbladder is to hold a fluid called bile that is made in the liver. Bile gets released into your small intestine when you eat to give your body a hand in digesting fats and certain vitamins. If you’ve had a cholecystectomy, the bile your liver makes will flow straight into your small intestine. This direct route to your intestine can have a laxative effect. Ask your doctor about post-cholecystectomy changes to your diet to minimize problems.

Gallstone Diagnosis at Inspira

If you have the following symptoms of a gallbladder attack, make an appointment with an Inspira doctor so they can order an ultrasound exam to diagnose gallstones:

  • Back pain between your shoulder blades
  • Low-grade fever or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in your right shoulder
  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone
  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen
  • Tea-colored urine with light-colored stools
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
A person laying down holding their stomach

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