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If you experience pain or other symptoms that you think may be gallstones, visit your doctor.

If you experience pain or other symptoms that you think may be gallstones, visit your doctor.
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Gallstones diagnosis

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 which your doctor to remove any gallstones that are detected during the procedure.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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Gallstones: what are they? - myDr.com.au

Gallstones are stone-like deposits that form in the gallbladder. There are 2 main types of gallstones: cholesterol stones and pigment stones.

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Gallstones: complications - myDr.com.au

Complications relating to gallstones include: inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), bile duct (cholangitis), and pancreas (biliary pancreatitis); and obstruction of the intestine (gallstone ileus).

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Gallstones: diagnosis - myDr.com.au

Several tests may be used in the diagnosis of gallstones, including blood tests, ultrasound and other imaging tests.

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Gallstones - Lab Tests Online AU

Gallstones are hard lumps of crystals that develop within the gall bladder. The gall bladder is a small sac underneath the liver. When the gall bladder works normally it collects and stores bile from the liver. Bile is a mixture of chemicals that help the digestion of food. At meal times the gall bladder squeezes the bile out and into the intestines.

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Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) - myDr.com.au

MRCP is a technique for imaging the bile ducts and the pancreatic duct (and the gallbladder, pancreas and liver) using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). It can show gallstones, tumours, and inflammation.

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Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which can either be acute (sudden and severe) or chronic (ongoing). The pancreas is a gland that secretes both digestive enzymes and important hormones. Heavy alcohol consumption is one of the most common causes of chronic pancreatitis, followed by gallstones.

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Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) - myDr.com.au

ERCP is an investigation used to view the gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and pancreatic duct.

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Pancreatitis - myDr.com.au

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The main symptom is pain in the upper abdomen that feels as if it goes through to your back.

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ALP - Lab Tests Online AU

Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found in high levels in bone and liver with smaller amounts found in the intestines. Small amounts of ALP are also found in the placenta of pregnant women. Each of these body parts makes different forms of ALP.

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