What are gallstones?
Gallstones are stones which form within the gallbladder. The function of the gallbladder is to concentrate bile and store it for use when we eat. The bile is then squirted into the bowels to help digestion.
Gallstones form in the same way that sugar comes out of tea when tea cools – when you put too much sugar into a cup of tea, as the tea cools, it is unable to keep all the sugar dissolved, and therefore it comes forms crystals in the bottom of the tea cup. In the same way, when cholesterol or bilirubin (both found in bile) is found in high concentrations, the bile becomes so “thick” that crystals of these substances form at the bottom of the gallbladder. Over time, more and more substance accumulates on the crystals and they become gallstones.