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Gallstones - When To Call a Doctor

Abdominal pain can be a sign of a serious or even life-threatening condition, especially if you have a heart condition or are older than 60. If you are having sudden or severe pain and are not sure what is causing it, you may need immediate medical treatment. You should be especially concerned if you are having trouble breathing or you faint or lose consciousness. For more information, see the topic Abdominal Pain, Age 12 and Older. For more information on abdominal pain in children, see the topic Abdominal Pain, Age 11 and Younger.

Call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Pain that may be caused by gallstones (continuous moderate to severe pain in the upper right abdomen camera.gif) along with a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher and chills that are clearly not caused by stomach flu or any other reason.
  • Pain in the upper midsection or upper right abdomen, along with a yellow tint to your skin and the white part of your eyes, dark yellow-brown urine, or light-colored stools.
  • Diabetes or an impaired immune system and you have symptoms that may be caused by gallstones.

If you have symptoms of gallstones but no fever, chills, or yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes, you may still require evaluation and treatment. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor watch your symptoms or condition to see whether you need treatment. Watchful waiting is often the first approach to a first attack of gallstone pain.

Who to see

Symptoms caused by gallstones can be evaluated by any of the following health professionals:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 15, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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