Gallstones are crystalline structures that form in the gallbladder and sometimes migrate to block the bile duct as well. About 1 in 10 American people have 1 or more gallstones.

Sizes of gall stones may range in size of grain to a size of a golf ball. There are 3 types of gall stones. Cholesterol stones are formed of crystallized cholesterol, combined with small amount of calcium salts. The other 2 types of gallstones are black pigment stones and brown pigment stones composed with varying amounts of calcium salts and bilirubin. In the United States 80% of all gallstones are cholesterol stones.

Complications from this disease can be inflammation of the gallbladder, pancreas, bile duct, or rarely gallbladder cancer. In people with a history of gall stones without symptoms the chances of complications are less. It is still not fully understood what causes gallstones in some people, and not in others. Anyone who has a gallbladder attack should seek prompt medical attention.

Women usually are at higher risk of developing gallstones, than men because they are exposed to high levels of estrogen and progesterone in many points like pregnancy, birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy and others. Gallstones cause symptoms only when they migrate into a duct. By passing the stones through a duct, attacks may be sudden, resulting in strong abdominal pain that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to hours.

In many cases, the pain is felt more in the shoulder or on the back, after the abdominal area. These gallbladder attacks are usually common after meals or at night. A fever or chills could also develop during the complication.

Gallstones may be treated with surgery or prescription drugs. Ursodiol, a naturally occurring bile acid helps to dissolve cholesterol. This drug will only work if gallstones are resulted due to cholesterol. People with larger stones may need a Laparoscopic surgery. There are minimal risks if you are dealing with an experienced surgeon.

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