Gallstone

Gallstone

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Credit: ZEPHYR/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gallstone, frontal X-ray. Gallstones form in the gallbladder when cholesterol and pigments in bile crystallise. Over time these crystals may grow and develop into gallstones (upper left). When the stones obstruct the flow of bile from the gallbladder to the intestines they can cause severe pain and inflammation, a condition called biliary colic. Women are much more likely to suffer from gallstones than men, Female native Americans are particularly susceptible with almost 100% incidence by middle age. Other factors include rapid weight loss and age. Treatment is either with surgery to remove the gallbladder or drugs that dissolve the stones.

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