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

Increasing your daily water intake is one of the easiest ways to improve your digestive health. Water helps dissolve substances in the GI tract to allow for a smoother passage.


Heartburn is a common affliction for many people, but if left untreated it can lead to complications such as Barrett’s Esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.