Gallstones are hardened stone-like objects that form in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small saclike organ located next to the liver. The gallbladder stores bile and then secretes it when you eat a fatty meal. Gallstones range in size from a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball and are composed of hardened cholesterol or bile. Risk factors for developing gallstones include taking birth control pills, pregnancy, diabetes, liver disease, obesity, or rapid weight loss. Most people who have gallstones do not have any symptoms from them. Complications of gallstones occur when a gallstone causes a blockage to the flow of bile. If this occurs, bile accumulates in the gallbladder causing an increase in pressure that may lead to rupture. A sign of a gallbladder attack is pain in the upper right side of the abdomen under the ribs.
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