Gallstones in the gallbladder are common, occurring in 10-20% of the population, and do not cause symptoms in most people. However when symptoms do develop, medical attention should be sought as the majority of patients will get recurrent symptoms and a minority will develop more serious complications such as inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), bile duct (cholangitis) or pancreas (pancreatitis).
Symptoms can include:
- Upper abdominal pain, often spreading to the right-hand side or back
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Symptoms coming on after eating
- Prolonged pain, fever or jaundice may develop with complications
Common tests to investigate gallstones include an abdominal ultrasound scan, magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) and an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP).
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