The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ under the liver. It collects, stores, and releases bile into the small intestine. Bile contains cholesterol, fluids, and fats and helps the GI tract absorb nutrients and fat-soluble vitamins.

Gallbladder sludge or biliary sludge forms when bile sits in the gallbladder for an extended period.

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1. Gallstones vs. Gallbladder Sludge

Cholesterol is a component of the bile. Too much cholesterol in the body oversaturates the fluid, however, and solid particles of cholesterol, bilirubin, and calcium accumulate. Sometimes, this build-up forms gallstones, but not always. If it accumulates but doesn't form stones, it is called gallbladder sludge.

digital image of the gallbladder with gallstones
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