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Causes of Gallstones

This article aims to explore the different causes of gallstones.

  • 11 Oct 2023
  • 2 min read

Gallstones are small, hard deposits that are formed in the gallbladder, an organ located near the liver. While many people don’t experience any symptoms from these stones, they can cause an array of problems if left untreated. Gallbladder stones may be tiny or may grow to the size of a golf ball as a result, the gallbladder stones can block the bile duct, causing pain in the upper right side of the abdomen and other symptoms like pain radiating to the shoulder or the back, nausea or vomiting. These conditions require medical attention and treatment that is accessible through health insurance. In this article, we aim to explore the different causes of gallstones.

How are Gallstones Caused?

There may be a few possible reasons for the causes of gallstones in adults:

Too much cholesterol in the bile

Our body needs bile for digestion which usually dissolves cholesterol. But in some cases, when bile cannot digest enough cholesterol, the extra cholesterol might form stones in the gallbladder.

Too much bilirubin in the bile

In conditions like liver damage and certain blood disorders, our body produces more bilirubin, which is a substance produced during the breakdown of red blood cells. When bilirubin is formed, it passes through the liver and is finally excreted out of the body. When the concentration of bilirubin increases in the liver, pigment gallstones are formed in the gallbladder because it can’t break down the excess bilirubin, resulting in the formation of hard stones that are often dark brown or black. 

Concentrated bile due to a full gallbladder

The gallbladder needs to empty its bile content to function properly. But in some cases of liver diseases, the gallbladder fails to empty its bile concentration as a result, the bile concentration becomes too high, resulting in the formation of gallstones.

Apart from these, the risk factors for gallstones can be related to diet, which can be controlled, while other factors are uncontrollable risk factors that include age, race, sex, as well as family history.

Lifestyle risk factors

●    Obesity
●    A diet rich in fat or cholesterol and low in fibre
●    Undergoing rapid weight loss
●    Living with type 2 diabetes

Genetic risk factors

●    Being born female
●    Being a Native American increases the risk
●    Having a family history of gallstones
●    Being 60 years or older

Medical risk factors

●    Living with cirrhosis
●    Being pregnant
●    Taking medicines to lower cholesterol
●    Taking medicines to control high estrogen content 


Gallstones are a common condition that can cause significant discomfort and certain complications if left untreated. So, one should look for the causes of gallstones and their symptoms and explore gallstone treatment options to manage gallstones effectively. Some changes in diet and leading a healthy lifestyle can help lower the risk of gallstone formation and promote better digestive health. If a person experiences acute cholecystitis or develops symptoms related to gallstones, he should seek immediate treatment.

The above blog aims to provide general information about health and related topics. Any information provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials is not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is important that you contact your Doctor before starting a new medicine or health regime.

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