Skip to content
Font Size

Gallstones Without Symptoms: When Surgery Is Needed - Topic Overview

Experts disagree about whether the gallbladder should be removed for gallstones that do not cause symptoms. Surgery may be needed if you have:

  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Plans to get an organ transplant (such as a heart or kidney).
  • A high risk of gallbladder cancer (for example, if you are a Pima Indian, have a very large gallstone, or have a calcified gallbladder).

Doctors sometimes recommend surgery for women who are trying to get pregnant. This may be true for a woman who has had symptoms in the past that are believed to be caused by gallstones, and the woman and her doctor are concerned that her symptoms may get worse during pregnancy. They may choose to do surgery to prevent any possible complications, especially if the woman's pregnancy is likely to be high-risk because of other problems.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It?

"Leaky gut syndrome" is said to have symptoms including bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, and aches and pains. But it's something of a medical mystery. “From an MD’s standpoint, it’s a very gray area,” says gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic. “Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ.” "Leaky gut syndrome" isn't a diagnosis taught in medical school. Instead, "leaky gut really...

Read the Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It? article > >

Most doctors do not recommend that people with diabetes have surgery for gallstones that do not cause symptoms. The risk of surgery in people who have diabetes may be higher than the risk of a gallstone attack. Surgery is recommended after the first occurrence of symptoms.

The gallbladder may be removed during bariatric surgery, even in people who haven't had a problem with gallstones.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Gallstones Without Symptoms: When Surgery Is Needed Topics

    Today on WebMD

    man holding his stomach
    Get the facts on common problems.
    blueberries in a palm
    Best and worst foods.
     
    woman shopping
    Learn what foods to avoid.
    fresh and dried plums
    Will it help constipation?
     
    top foods for probiotics
    Slideshow
    couple eating at cafe
    Article
     
    sick child
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing bubble gum
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Woman with crohns in pain
    Slideshow
    Woman with stomach pain
    Slideshow
     
    diet for diverticulitis
    Video
    what causes diarrhea
    Video