What Are Gallstones?

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Filed Under: Gallstones, Digestive Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

What Are Gallstones?

Learn about gallstones and how to prevent and treat them

Your gallbladder's primary function is to receive bile that's generated by the liver, concentrate and mix it with mineral salts and enzymes, and then release the bile into the small intestine. For most people diagnosed with a "bad gallbladder," the problem is usually gallstones.

Gallstones typically develop when there’s an excess of cholesterol in the bile. The cholesterol combines to form crystals of cholesterol monohydrate, which then clump together as stones. Gallstones can be quite large, up to an inch in diameter. On their own, they don’t cause any trouble unless one blocks the bile duct that empties into the small intestine.

More Dr. Williams Advice on Gallstones

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