Cholelithiasis is the term that refers to gallstones, which are concentrations that form in the biliary tract, usually in the gallbladder.
Most commonly, multiple small gallstones measuring about 0.5 cm will be present within the gallbladder. However occasionally there can be either one very large gallstone present measuring up to 5 cm diameter or hundreds of smaller stones the size of a grain of sand.
The disease tends to be asymptomatic is the majority of cases, with the most common presenting symptom being right upper quadrant (biliary colic) or epigastric abdominal pain or discomfort, especially after a fat-rich meal. Other symptoms include belching, bloating, flatulence, heartburn, and nausea.
The term biliary colic refers to paid due to a gallstone trying to pass but fails due to its size and temporarily blocking and obstructing the bile duct.
Once gallstones become symptomatic, definitive surgical intervention with cholecystectomy is indicated.
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