Specialist expertise: Gallbladder and Bile Duct Disease, Liver Disease, Pancreas Disease, General Surgery, Laparoscopic Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Gastrointestinal Surgery, Liver Surgery, Hernia Surgery, Open Cholecystectomy, Pancreatic Surgery, Gallstones, Liver Cancer, Pancreatitis, Pancreatic Cancer, Complex Hernia Surgery, Abdominal Wall Hernias, Complex Abdominal Wall Hernias, Inguinal Hernia, Liver Metastasis.
Most gallstones are not dangerous, but they can become dangerous, and if left untreated can pose a severe threat to your health. Gallstones can pose a danger if they block the exit of gallbladder and the flow of bile through it. In this instance, you may get an infection within the gallbladder. This is what is known as cholecystitis which can be either acute or chronic (long-standing).
When gallstones leave the gallbladder they usually go via the bile duct. If gallstones get stuck in the bile duct this can lead to jaundice. Jaundice means yellowing of the eyes and the production of dark yellow urine. Gallstones can also irritate the pancreas and cause pancreatitis. Both pancreatitis and jaundice can be serious, life-threatening illnesses.
In rare instances, gallstones can go into the bowel and cause blockage, meaning food cannot pass through. When this happens, patients would present with abdominal pain and vomiting which should be treated as a serious condition. How gallstones should be treated has to be decided with your specialist, who will consider your symptoms, scan results and blood test results before making any recommendations.