Why Are Women More at Risk of Developing Gallstones?

Gallstones, Women, cancer, pancreatitis, sepsis

You may not have known this, but women are certainly at an increased risk for gallstones. They arise in up to 20% of women by the age of 60 in the United States. What’s more, women between age 20-60 have three times the likelihood of developing gallstones when compared to their male counterparts.

The danger lies in the fact that gallstones lead to an increased risk of developing gallbladder cancer. That’s why early screening and prevention is important, particularly important for women with higher risk factors. Dr. Gabriel Adopian and the rest of our staff shares this information with our patients in Pasadena, California, so you know what to look for when it comes to your gallbladder health.

What are gallstones?

Gallstones are calcified forms of cholesterol and other substances residing in the gallbladder. Pebble-like in shape and size, they can cause severe inflammation. They’re quite common in individuals with gallbladder cancer, with up to 4 out of 5 cases of gallbladder cancer presenting with gallstones upon diagnosis.

While gallstones aren’t necessarily indicators of gallbladder cancer, they’re a significant risk factor and shouldn’t be dismissed, particularly if you’re a woman, since they’re far more common in women than in men.     

Learning more about your risk

While women are more at risk, the likelihood of developing gallstones also increases with a couple of different factors, including:

Identifying symptoms of gallstones

It may surprise you that 80% of people with gallstones experience no pain or discomfort. Thus, it’s important to look out for the following symptoms that may be indicative of gallstones:

There are also many complications associated with gallstones, including:

What to do if you suspect gallstones

When it comes to cancer, early detection is an important factor in treatment and success rates. Your health, comfort, and peace of mind are important to us, and we believe in taking the time to address all of your concerns with compassion and understanding. Visit our website for more information on gallbladder disease, and give us a call or click the online button to schedule an appointment today.

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