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Discharge Instructions for Gallstones

You have been diagnosed with gallstones. These form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. Stones in the gallbladder may or may not cause symptoms. If stones move out of the gallbladder into a duct, they can cause pain or infection. You and your doctor will decide on the best treatment for you. Here's what you can do.

Home Care

  • Eat a low-fat diet.

    • Read food labels to be sure the foods you are choosing are low in fat.

    • Limit the use of high-fat meats, dairy products, animal fats, and vegetable oils.

  • Keep all appointments with your doctor. Gallstones can return. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition.

  • Discuss your treatment options with your doctor, including the following:

    • Surgery to remove the gallstones

    • Medication to dissolve the stones (mainly for people who cannot have surgery). Take your medications exactly as directed. Don't skip doses. Remember, it takes time for the medication to take effect.

    • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). A doctor uses a thin tube with video and X-rays to locate stones and remove them.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen, shoulder, or back

  • Fever above 100.5°F (38.0°C) or chills

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice)


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