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Gallstones are a common digestive condition that can trigger sharp pain in the upper right side of your stomach, back, or just under your right arm. Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located just under your liver.

Gallstones form when bile (fluid that aids fat digestion) stored in your gallbladder hardens into stone-like lumps. Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball; you may have a single large stone to hundreds of tiny ones. If left untreated, gallstones can cause a life-threatening infection.

Although you may not have any symptoms — usually because your gallstones are small or not causing a blockage — when your gallstones grow or a blockage occurs, gallstone symptoms (also called a gallbladder attack) may happen very suddenly.

You are likely to experience the following gallbladder symptoms after a fatty meal or at night:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Anemia
  • Bloating and gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue and headaches
  • Joint pain


Physical Exam
We can accurately diagnose your gallstones through a medical examination and review of your past health history.

Blood Test
Your GI doctor may order a blood test to check for signs of infection, blockage, liver problems, jaundice, or pancreatitis.

Your GI doctor may order ultrasound imaging to create images of your internal organs on a computer screen.

HIDA Scan (Cholescintigraphy)
This test checks for any abnormal contractions of the gallbladder or blockages in your bile ducts.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
Your GI doctor may order a CT scan of your gallbladder to locate gallstones, check for infection, or bursting of the gallbladder or bile ducts.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
In this test, your GI doctor can see the inside of your organs on a video screen to check for any problems.


Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
This procedure allows the stones to pass into your intestine.

Gallbladder Removal (cholecystectomy)
This is a common surgery performed when stones are stuck in your gallbladder and cannot be removed. Your body can still work well without your gallbladder and you can have a healthy life.

Percutaneous Drainage/Cholecystostomy
This procedure temporarily removes the blockage and drains any infection.

Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)
Your GI doctor will inject this solution directly into your gallbladder to dissolve the stones.

Why Choose UHealth?

A broad array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Regardless of your age, condition, or whether you need long- or short-term digestive treatments, you will receive the most accurate diagnosis and most effective treatment to keep your stomach, digestive system, and organs healthy.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.