ZocdocAnswersIs it possible that I have gall stones?

Question

Is it possible that I have gall stones?

I have pain in the upper right part of my stomach and abdomen. Is it possible that I have gall stones? I?m only 33 but I?m worried because other people in my family have had this problem.

Answer

Gall stones are a common problem in the U.S., thought to affect up to 15-20% of adults as seen in studies using ultrasound screening. However, only a minority of these people will develop symptoms of gall stone disease. Gall stones may become intermittently lodged in the opening of the gallbladder, classically causing right upper quadrant abdominal pain that is associated with food intake (as meals stimulate contraction of the gallbladder). Occasionally the nearby portion of the diaphragm may become irritated, and pain may be referred up to the right shoulder. If the stone becomes permanently lodged in the duct leading out of the gallbladder, then acute cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) may occur, which usually requires surgical intervention and removal of the gallbladder. However, there are other problems that can cause upper right abdominal pain, such as liver disease, intestinal disease and lower lung disease. As the cause of your symptoms is unclear, it is advised that you seek out the guidance of your primary care physician. He/she can conduct a thorough medical history and physical exam and help you come up with a diagnosis. Imaging such as ultrasound may be ordered to help confirm the diagnosis.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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