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Risk Factors for Gallstones
Gender and Age
- Being overweight
- IV feeding
- Diseases of the gallbladder and its ducts
- Blood diseases, including sickle cell anemia
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Crohn’s disease
- Previous history of gallstones
- Resection of ileum
- Very high triglyceride levels
- Chronic hemolysis
- Rapid weight loss
- Spinal cord injury
- Gastric bypass
- Metabolic syndrome
- Native Americans, especially Pima Indians, who have the highest rate of gallstones in the United States
- Mexican Americans
- Northern Europeans
- Oral contraceptives
- Hormone replacement therapy—in postmenopausal women
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs—fibrates
- Thiazide diuretics
- Total parenteral nutrition
- Rapid weight loss; which causes the liver to secrete extra cholesterol into the bile
- Fasting; which decreases gallbladder movement, causing bile to become overly concentrated with cholesterol
- Higher intake of trans-fatty acids
- High-dietary glycemic index or glycemic load
Adler DG, Baron TH, et al. ASGE guideline: the role of ERCP in diseases of the biliary tract and the pancreas. Gastrointest Endosc. 2005;62:1-8.
Ahmed A, Cheung RC, et al. Management of gallstones and their complications. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61:1673-1678.
Gallstones. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 23, 2013. Accessed December 5, 2013.
Portincasa P, Moschetta A, et al. Cholesterol gallstone disease. Lancet. 2006;368:230-239.
Shaffer EA. Gallstone disease: epidemiology of gallbladder stone disease. Best Pract Res Clin Gastronenterol. 2006;20:981-996.
Wittenburg H, Lammert F. Genetic predisposition to gallbladder stones. Semin Liver Dis. 2007;27:109-121.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2014
- Update Date: 09/17/2014