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by Advanced GI WA

Gallstones are small, hard deposits that form in the gallbladder. They do not produce symptoms in most patients. In cases where symptoms do occur prompt treatment is required.

Gallstones become common as we age. In patients over 50 years of age the prevalence is 25-30%. They are more common in women, in people who are overweight or lose weight rapidly, and in those with a family history of gallstones. They are also more common in people with Crohn's disease.

Gallstones that present no symptoms generally do not interfere with gallbladder, liver or pancreas function and do not require treatment.

In general, patients who have symptoms will need surgery right away, or after a short period of time.

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