Gallstones | Symptoms


What problems can gallstones cause?

Most people who have gallstones never experience any symptoms. They might never even know they have gallstones.

Sometimes, a gallstone can leave your gallbladder and go into the passageway from your gallbladder to your intestine. If a gallstone gets stuck in that passageway and blocks it completely, you will have severe pain in the right upper part of your belly. You may also feel pain in your upper back. The pain usually starts suddenly and lasts for several hours. This is known as a gallbladder attack.

Complete or partial blockage can also cause your gallbladder to get irritated and inflamed. If this happens, you will usually have pain that lasts several hours. You may also develop a fever. Your skin may turn a yellowish color, known as jaundice (say "john-diss"). You may vomit or feel nauseous.


Management of Gallstones and Their Complications by A Ahmed, M.D., RC Cheung, M.D., and EB Keefe, M.D. (American Family Physician March 15, 2000,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 03/00