Discharge Instructions for Gallstones

Gallstones form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. Stones in the gallbladder may or may not cause symptoms they can cause pain or infection. You and your doctor will decide on the best treatment for you. Here's what you can do.

Home care

These home care steps can help you after being diagnosed with gallstones:

  • Eat a low-fat diet.

    • Read food labels to be sure the foods you are choosing are low in fat.

    • Limit the use of high-fat meats, dairy products, animal fats, and vegetable oils.

  • Keep all appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition.

  • Discuss your treatment options with your doctor, including the following:

    • Surgery to remove the gallbladder and gallstones

    • Medication to dissolve the stones (mainly for people who cannot have surgery). Take your medications exactly as directed. Don't skip doses. Remember, it takes time for the medication to take effect.

    • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). A doctor uses a thin tube with video and X-rays to locate stones and remove them from the common bile duct.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to seek medical care

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen, shoulder, or back

  • Fever above 101.5°F (38.5°C) or chills

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice)