Know the basics

What is choledocholithiasis?

Choledocholithiasis, called bile duct stones or gallstones in the bile duct, is the presence of at least one gallstone in the common bile duct. The stone may be made up of bile pigments or calcium and cholesterol salts.

How common is choledocholithiasis?

Choledocholithiasis is extremely common. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of choledocholithiasis?

The common symptoms of choledocholithiasis are:

  • Abdominal pain in the upper or middle-upper abdomen;
  • Fever;
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice);
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Nausea and vomiting;

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes choledocholithiasis?

There are two types of gallstones: cholesterol stones and pigment stones.

Scientists believe that cholesterol stones are caused by too much cholesterol or bilirubin bile or the bile salts are not enough.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for choledocholithiasis?

There are many risk factors for choledocholithiasis, such as:

  • History of gallstones or gallbladder disease;
  • Health condition: obesity, pregnancy, prolonged fasting;
  • Inherit problems: old (>40 years old), female, ethnicity (American Indians and Mexican-Americans), gene.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is choledocholithiasis diagnosed?

If you have symptoms, a doctor will want to verify the presence of a gallstone in the common bile duct. He or she may use one of the following imaging tests:

  • Transabdominal ultrasound (TUS);
  • Abdominal CT scan;
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS);
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERCP): Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP);
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA).

Or taking one or more of the following blood tests to look for an infection and to check liver and pancreas function, such as complete blood count, bilirubin test, pancreatic enzymes test, liver function tests.

How is choledocholithiasis treated?

The goal of treatment is to relieve the blockage.

Some treatment may involve:

  • Surgery to remove the gallbladder and stones;
  • ERCP and a procedure called a sphincterotomy, which makes a surgical cut into the muscle in the common bile duct to allow stones to pass or be removed.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage choledocholithiasis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with choledocholithiasis:

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight;
  • Eating foods rich in fiber contents;
  • Avoid consuming trans-fatty acid foods.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: September 2, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017