Complications of living with gallstones

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Complications of Gallstones (Gallbladder stones)
medical illustration of the gallbladder

Gallstones occurs when bile (digestive juice) cannot digest the fat effectively. This leads to cholesterol molecules clumping together and forming stones. The complications of gallstones are minimal and non life-threatening. But, there are few risks present when they are left untreated even after being discovered in the gallbladder. A few of these complications are:

  • Acute Cholecystitis
  • Jaundice
  • Sepsis

Detailed explanation of these complications can be read below.

Acute Cholecystitis

Acute cholecystitis is the condition which occurs when the gallbladder becomes inflamed and infected because of the stones. This is the most common complication which can occur when the gallstones are left untreated. This type of cholecystitis requires immediate medical treatment. A few symptoms of acute cholecystitis are:

  1. High fever that persists for days.
  2. Sudden and random chills felt in the body.
  3. Appetite loss which causes loss of weight.


Jaundice is not a disease or a condition itself. Instead it is a sign or a symptom suggesting that something is wrong with a body organ.

Jaundice, in this context, occurs when something is wrong with the gallbladder and requires immediate medical attention. The skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow, signifying that the amount of bilirubin (yellow pigment) in the blood is high thereby hinting at some sort of disorder in the gallbladder.


This is a very rare complication which can occur because of gallstones or a gallbladder infection.

The immune system of the body secretes chemicals in small quantities to destroy an infection. When this chemical is secreted in large amounts, the chemical rather than focusing on destroying the foreign substance or infection, harms the entire body. This causes a very rare life-threatening condition known as sepsis which requires immediate medical treatment.


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