The gallbladder is a small, pear shaped organ located underneath the liver. Its job is to store fluid produced in the liver, called bile, and release it into the small intestine through bile ducts. In doing so, the gallbladder helps to break down fats and digest our food. Gallstones are small, hard cholesterol and bile salts that can cause sharp abdominal pain, vomiting and fevers. Because normal digestion is possible without the gallbladder, the safest treatment for dealing with painful gallstones is to remove the gallbladder entirely.
Some risk factors for gallstones are:
- Women over 40
- No history of pregnancies
- Family history of gallstones