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"Is the pain near my ribs due to gallstones?"


I think I might have gallstones. There is a sharp pain just below my rib and I read on the web that this is a symptom. Can I doctor diagnose gall stones easily? Do I have to have my gall bladder removed?


Your primary care physician will definitely want to hear about these new symptoms you are developing. He or she can talk to you in more detail about where the pain is located, when it started, and what seems to aggravate it. You may end up needing further imaging studies to evaluate whether your gallbladder (or something else) is causing your pain.

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In general, identifiying gallstones can be done very easily with an ultrasound of the abdomen. The gallbladder is found in the upper right part of the abdomen, and ultrasound evaluation can reveal not only stones but also whether or not the wall of the gallbladder is thickened, possibly indication some inflammation or infection. Many people have gallstones, and finding these on any kind of imaging study does not necessarily mean the gallbladder needs to come out. Cholecystectomy--removal of the gallbladder--is only indicated when people have repeated, intractable bouts of gallbladder inflammation or infection. Your doctor will want to find out more about your symptoms now as well as symptoms in the past to see if this has ever been a problem for you. If gallbladder removal is thought to be a good idea, you will be referred to a general surgeon for further evaluation.

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