BETWEEN 10-15pc of the adult population have gallstones but in most cases they don't cause any symptoms. Gallstones are small stones, made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder.
In a small number of cases, they can become trapped in a duct (an opening or channel), and can irritate and inflame the gallbladder.
This can lead to a range of symptoms, such as:
- A sudden intense pain in your abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes).
Known risk factors for gallstones include:
- Age: the older a person is, the more likely they are to develop gallstones.
- Sex: women are two to three times more likely to develop gallstones.
If your symptoms are mild, painkillers may be prescribed.
If they are more severe, surgery to remove your gallbladder may be recommended.