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Cholelithiasis (Gallstones)
(GS005)

Introduction


Gallstones develop in the gallbladder from crystals of either cholesterol or bilirubin. Stones can be too small to be seen with the eye (biliary sludge), or can range from the size of grains of sand to the size of golf balls. There may be one or hundreds of stones in the gallbladder. When gallstones are present, the condition is called cholelithiasis.

At any point, stones may obstruct the cystic duct, which leads from the gallbladder to the common bile duct, and cause pain (biliary colic), infection and inflammation (cholecystitis), or both.

Gallstone disease is a common medical problem that affects 25 million persons or 10-15 percent of the US population. Between 10-20% of all adults over 40 have gallstones, however only 1-3% complaint of symptoms during the course of a year. Women are at increased risk because estrogen stimulates the liver to remove more cholesterol from blood and divert it into the bile. Pregnant women with stones are more likely to have symptoms.

Silent gallstones often never cause symptoms and require no treatment. When treatment is requires, there are several medications, as well as non-surgical and surgical methods.

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The Medifocus Guide on Gallstones provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:


What Your Doctor Reads:


This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:


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