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Gallstones in Teens: Care Instructions



Gallstones are stones made of cholesterol and other substances that form in the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile, which helps the body digest food. Gallstones also can form in the bile duct. This is the tube that carries bile from the gallbladder and the liver to the small intestine. Gallstones may be as small as a grain of sand. But some can be as large as a golf ball.

Gallstones that block the gallbladder from emptying or get stuck in the bile duct can cause pain and infection.

The doctor may have given you medicine for pain. You may need follow-up appointments for more testing and treatment. If you continue to have problems, you may need surgery to remove your gallbladder.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Rest until you feel better.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Avoid foods that cause symptoms, especially fatty foods. These can make the gallbladder tighten and cause pain.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are vomiting.
  • You have new or worse belly pain.
  • You have a fever.
  • You cannot pass stools or gas.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.