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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Gallstones are hard substances that form in your gallbladder or bile duct. Your gallbladder and bile duct are located on the right side of your abdomen, near your liver. Your gallbladder stores bile. Bile helps break down the fat that you eat. Your gallbladder also helps remove certain chemicals from your body.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have a fever and chills.
- Your skin or eyes turn yellow.
- You have severe pain in your upper abdomen, just below the right ribcage.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have nausea and are vomiting.
- Your urine is dark.
- You have clay-colored bowel movements.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
What you can do to manage or prevent gallstones:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. This may help you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. Try to eat regular meals during the day. This will help your gallbladder empty.
- Exercise as directed. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can help you lose weight and improve your health.
- Manage your weight. If you are overweight, it is important to reach a healthy weight. You will need to lose weight slowly because rapid weight loss can increase your risk for gallstones. Talk to your healthcare provider about your weight. He or she can help you create a safe weight loss plan if you need to lose weight.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.