Many people do not experience any symptoms and are said to have "silent gallstones." Often the gallstones are found when a test is performed to evaluate some other problem. Treatment is only recommended if a person actually experiences symptoms of the condition.
A severe and steady pain in the upper abdomen or right side is the most common symptom of gallstones. The pain, which also may affect the shoulder blades or right shoulder, lasts anywhere from several minutes to hours. In addition, you may experience sweating or vomiting.
In its more advanced and severe stages, gallstones can cause prolonged pain and infection of the gallbladder. Stones that have passed into the bile duct usually result in pain, fever and jaundice, which is yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.