factors that contribute to gallstones include: Excess bilirubin: About 25% of gallstones are made up of excess bilirubin instead of cholesterol. Bilirubin is a byproduct that’s produced when your liver breaks down red blood cells. Certain medical disorders can cause your liver to produce extra bilirubin while doing its job. Some of these include infections, blood disorders and liver disease. Gallbladder stasis: Your small intestine signals to your gallbladder to send bile when it has fats to digest. When your gallbladder is healthy, it contracts to efficiently move bile out when necessary. But if your gallbladder doesn’t contract well enough, some bile may be left behind. This bile gradually concentrates into a kind of sludge at the bottom of your gallbladder, which then crystallizes.