Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located under your liver. It stores bile, a fluid made by your liver that helps to digest fat. The gallbladder and several ducts (tubes) used to transport fluids, are called the biliary system. The following ducts are a part of this system:
- Hepatic bile ducts - carry bile out of the liver
- Cystic duct – takes bile from the liver to store in the gallbladder
- Common bile duct - takes bile from cystic and hepatic ducts to the small intestines
- Pancreatic duct - carries digestive enzymes out of the pancreas
As your stomach and intestines digest food, your gallbladder releases bile through the common bile duct. This duct connects your gallbladder and liver to your small intestines.
Specific types of gallbladder disease include:1
- Gallstones: One or more hard, pebble-like substances that develop in the gallbladder. There are two types of stones. The most common is the cholesterol stone made mostly of hardened cholesterol. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. The pigment gallstone is small, dark and made of waste products.
- Cholecystitis: Inflammation of the gallbladder
- Chronic acalculous: The gallbladder does not empty properly
- Gangrene: Decay of gallbladder tissue or abscesses (collection of pus)
- Polyps: Growths of tissue in the gallbladder
- Sclerosing cholangitis: Swelling of the hepatic bile ducts attached to the liver
- Tumors: Abnormal growths on the gallbladder and bile ducts
- "Gallbladder Diseases", National Institutes of Health, www.nlm.nih.gov URL: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/gallbladderdiseases.php