The symptoms of gallstones depend on how, if and where the gallstones block or get lodged in. However, it is important to note, the size or number of gallstones per se is not as important as its presence, as it only takes a single stone to cause symptoms or problems.
Pain is a common symptom, which manifests in different ways. For some, it occurs in the upper right part of the abdomen or in the centre of the abdomen just below the breastbone. Others may experience it in the right shoulder or as back pain between the shoulder blades.
Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Fever and chills
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes, clay-coloured stools, tea-coloured urine)
- Nausea and vomiting
The symptoms of gallstones usually occur after having a fatty and/or oily meal, and commonly at night. Some people though don’t show any symptoms. They are said to have silent stones, and these stones do not affect the gallbladder, liver or pancreas function.
Occasionally, gallstones may present without significant prior symptoms, with a gallstones-related complications as its first symptoms.