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Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that form in your gallbladder, the small, pear-shaped organ located on the right side of your abdomen. The gallbladder's function is to move digestive fluids into the small intestine. When the hardened material builds up, it can obstruct the bile duct that carries the fluid to the small intestine, which can trigger intense pain and discomfort. But there are proven treatments for gallstones, including surgery, bile salts, shockwave therapy, and maintaining a healthy diet.

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1. The signs and symptoms of gallstones

What happens when a gallstone blocks the bile duct to cause the obstruction? It causes sudden and, in many cases, constantly accelerating pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen or the center of the abdomen, just below the breastbone. A gallstone attack often presents as intense back pain between the shoulder blades or on the right shoulder. Nausea and vomiting may accompany the pain. Gallstone pain may last just a few minutes, or it can linger for a few hours.

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