What does the gallbladder do?

Advertisement
Advertisement
The gallbladder helps with digestion, in particular, breaking down fatty foods that are ingested. The gallbladder mixes bile from the liver with food to act as a filter and then empties the bile into the intestines for the body to eliminate what's not needed. The gallbladder helps wash away waste, mostly fatty deposits that can build up as they travel through the digestive tract.

There are a select few organs the body can function without, and the gallbladder happens to be one of them. The small, oblong sac-like organ is located between the liver and the small intestine.
The gallbladder is a small out-pouching of the biliary system that is located in the abdomen and attached to the underside of the liver, storing and concentrating some of the bile that is made there. After a fatty meal, the gallbladder contracts, thus forcing bile into the intestine. Bile is a complex mix of chemicals that are secreted into the small intestine, aiding in the digestion of fats. For some, the ratios of these chemicals cause stones to form in the gallbladder.
 
Harsha Vittal, MD
Gastroenterology
The gallbladder stores bile, a substance that's secreted when you eat to facilitate digestion. Watch as gastroenterologist Harsha Vittal, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital explains why the gallbladder is considered a vestigial organ.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

The gallbladder doesn't get a lot of attention compared with other organs in your body. But this tiny organ does some heavy lifting. Dr. Oz talks about keeping your gallbladder healthy in this video.


Continue Learning about Digestive Health

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.