Gallstones are a chunk of solid and hard accumulates of digestive fluids formed in the gallbladder. These stones vary in size - ranging from small sand grains to getting as big as a tennis ball.

People can develop one or more gallstones simultaneously and are of mainly two types; cholesterol stones and pigment stones.

Symptoms of gallstones become visible only when it causes blockage in the duct. Signs include sudden, rapid and intense pain on the right corner or in the center part of the upper abdomen, backache between shoulder blades or in right shoulder, nausea and vomiting, bloating, heartburn, acidity, indigestion, dark colored urine, clay-colored stool and diarrhoea.

An individual suffering from these symptoms might require surgical removal of the gallbladder. However asymptomatic conditions do not need any treatment.

The causes of gallstones are not clear. However, it is believed that high cholesterol and bilirubin levels in bile may cause gallstones.

Ideally, bile acids dissolve cholesterol excreted by the liver, but if liver produces more cholesterol than bile could dissolve, it leads to the formation of cholesterol stones.

Excessive production of bilirubin due to some blood disorders or bile tract infections may also lead to gallstones.

Treatment:

Gender, age, fatty diets, increased cholesterol, family history, diabetes, sudden weight loss, liver diseases, etc. are main risk factors behind developing gallstones. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and open cholecystectomy are used to surgically remove gallstones.