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The normal function of the gallbladder is to store bile produced by the liver and to aid in the digestion and absorption of fats in the duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine).

Gallstones compose a solid formation of cholesterol and bile salts.

However, it should be noted that not all patients will recover almost instantaneously as my daughter did--the typical patient may need up to a week to recover before returning to normal activities.

Alternative treatments for gallstones include: Each of these alternative treatments leave the gallbladder in place.

When I was diagnosed with gallstones at 26, I was told that the typical gallstone patient was fair, fat, and forty.However, research shows that approximately 80 to 90 percent of all gallstones are cholesterol gallstones which form when the liver begins secreting bile that is abnormally saturated with cholesterol.The excess cholesterol crystallizes and then forms stones which are stored in the gallbladder or the cystic duct.Coffee drinking has been associated with a decreased risk of symptomatic gallstones, according to research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the June 9, 1999, issue of the .The study found that men (over 46,000 men were studied) who drank two or three cups of coffee a day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing gallstones, while men who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day decreased their risk by 45 percent.

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