If you are experiencing severe and ongoing abdominal pain, make an appointment to see your doctor. If your doctor thinks gallstones may be causing your symptoms, it’s likely you’ll be referred to a gastroenterologist or a surgeon.
Your doctor or specialist might order tests to detect any gallstones. You’ll probably have blood tests to check your liver function and various tests to check your bile ducts for gallstones.
The most common imaging test to detect gallstones is an abdominal ultrasound.
Other tests may include:
- plain abdominal x-ray
- a computed tomography (CT) scan
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- a hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan (this is a type of nuclear scan that assesses how well the gallbladder functions)
- an endoscopy, which involves your doctor inserting a thin, flexible, lighted tube into your mouth and guiding it down through your oesophagus (throat), stomach and small intestine in order to see your biliary system
You may also be asked to have an ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. This type of endoscopy may enable your doctor to remove any gallstones that are detected during the procedure.
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Last reviewed: November 2018