There are several risk factors for gallstones, however, since they are so common, many patients suffer from gallstone disease without any of these risk factors.
- Genetics (other family members may also have them)
- High fat diet
- Multiple pregnancies
- Female gender
What Are the Symptoms of Gallstones?
Gallstones often don’t cause symptoms. It is very common for a patient to come into my office after an ultrasound or Cat Scan performed for another reason shows gallstones. These patients are typically counseled that they do not need their gallbladder out, however, it is very likely that in time, they will begin to develop symptoms and will need to have their gallbladder removed. Frequently patients tell me that they don’t have symptoms, but then complain of terrible heartburn that does not respond to medication. On further questioning, we deduce that the “heartburn” symptoms are more likely gallbladder attacks.
I will recommend surgery immediately for these groups of patients:
- Patients with early liver disease (cirrhosis)
- Patients with active infections of the gallbladder (cholecystitis)
- Patients who have had an episode of pancreatitis
- Patient who have stones that have gone into the main bile duct
If you think you need further evaluation for your gallstones, click here to request an appointment.