Gallstones are literally small stones that take shape in the gallbladder. Typically made of cholesterol, they can be completely harmless if they remain small and stay out of important passageways leading in and out of the gallbladder. However, should they become wedged in a duct of the gallbladder, they have the potential to cause serious discomfort and pain.
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Additionally, if left untreated a problematic gallstone can lead to inflammation, jaundice and fever. The issue could leave a patient writhing in pain for hours at a time and could necessitate the complete removal of the gallbladder from the abdomen. So, what are the causes of gallstones and what are the chances that you may have to face this kind of condition in the future?
1. Excessive cholesterol
Gallstones, in many cases, are made up of cholesterol. They form in the gallbladder when the bile in our bodies contains so much cholesterol that the chemicals contained in our bile, and excreted by the liver, cannot effectively dissolve it. In the end, when our livers deliver more cholesterol than our bile can handle, the result is often gallstones.
The development of cholesterol-based gallstones may not present serious health problems until one of these gallstones becomes lodged in a particularly sensitive area, such as the duct leading into the gallbladder. To limit the chances of this happening, and of gallstones forming in the first place, it’s wise to limit the amount of cholesterol in your diet.