Q: How do gallstones pass?

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Gallstones pass through the bile ducts in the gallbladder on their own most of the time, if they are small enough. Infrequently used treatments to pass gallstones include:

  • Taking ursodiol, a natural bile acid, to dissolve and pass cholesterol gallstones

  • Lithotripsy, or electric shock waves to break up gallstones and allow them to pass

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. What to do about gallstones. Harvard Health Publishing.
  2. Gallstones. Sepsis Alliance.
  3. Treatment for Gallstones. National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases.