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Can gallstones be life-threatening?

Gallstones can be life-threatening, but only in rare cases.

Gallstones are hard, pebble-like deposits that form in the gallbladder, the small organ that sits at the base of your liver. Your gallbladder stores bile, the yellowish liquid made by your liver, and when the bile is needed to help you digest your food, your gallbladder contracts to send the bile into a duct and down into your small intestine. Gallstones can become life-threatening if they get stuck in a duct or in the intestinal tract causing a blockage, swelling, and possibly infection.

Such problems may be especially dangerous for people who have a compromised immune system, diabetes, or other chronic health problems. When detected early, gallstones can usually be treated successfully through either medication or surgery.

Continue Learning about Gallstones

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Gallstones are small, pebble-like substances that develop when bile—composed of water, cholesterol, ...
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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.