The liver makes bile, a kind of chemical soap, that surrounds fat and proteins in our food and helps us with digestion. This bile is stored in a bag, just under the liver called the gallbladder. Under certain conditions, this bile can concentrate into Gallstones or into a thick sludge, which can then block the exit tube to the intestine. This blockage results in jaundice where eyes and skin can turn yellow, and the urine dark like coffee. The patient also has nausea, vomiting and pain in their right upper belly. The treatment is usually surgical to remove the gallbladder, and sometimes an ERCP is needed to remove the stones lodged in the connecting tube to the intestine. The stones or sludge can also block the exit of pancreatic juices resulting in pancreatitis. If gallstones are found on a scan and are not causing problems, we usually don't rush to surgery routinely (about 8% of men and ~20% of women have stones)!

Digestive Health Tips From Our Staff

If you are 50 years old, without high risk factors, you should begin your regular colorectal screenings to prevent colorectal cancer. 


Dr. Powell states he chose to practice Gastroenterology, “to treat a wide scope of different problems and afflictions and using modern treatment to help these patients feel better.”