Gallstones are hard deposits that form in your gallbladder — a small, pear-shaped sack that stores and secretes bile for digestion. Twenty million Americans are affected by gallstones. Gallstones can form when there’s too much cholesterol or waste in your bile or if your gallbladder doesn’t empty properly.
When gallstones block the ducts leading from your gallbladder to your intestines, they can cause sharp pain in your upper-right abdomen. Medications sometimes dissolve gallstones, but if that doesn’t work, the next step is surgery to remove the gallbladder.