Gallstones in women: What are the risk factors?

Gallbladder stones or gallstones are a condition of excessive deposition of bile, bilirubin or cholesterol in the gallbladder or bile duct that restricts the optimal bile flow to the small intestine. It is one of the common disorders associated with the gallbladder, the pear-shaped organ responsible for digestion.

Some cases of gallstones don’t have evident symptoms; this is often referred to as “silent stones”. Otherwise, gallstones are usually associated with mild to chronic abdominal pain, nausea, bouts of vomiting and fluctuations in body weight. Sometimes, gallstones also lead to pancreatitis, a condition of inflammation in the pancreas. Jaundice in adults also is an indicator of gallstones.

Anyone is prone to developing gallstones. However, women are at a greater risk compared to men. Multiple pregnancies, obesity, a family history of gallstones may make women more at risk of gallbladder stones. Gallstones treatment relies on the cause, symptoms, and intensity of the stone.

Risk Factors for Gallbladder Stones


Like a myriad of other health conditions, gallstones in women can be traced back to the genetic or hereditary aspect. Women with a family member or close relative with the history of gallbladder stones are more prone to the development of gallstones.

Some researches have even highlighted that Native American women tend to have a genetic disposition to secrete higher levels of cholesterol, which ultimately leads to gallbladder stones.


The significance of a healthy and balanced diet can’t be undermined as it plays a pivotal role in the overall health and well-being of an individual, especially women.

An increased level of cholesterol due to a fat-rich diet even creates an imbalance in the amount of bile salt that makes it challenging for the body to breakdown the cholesterol. Ultimately, the cholesterol keeps depositing in the bile duct that leads to further complications.

Women practicing dieting and those who go for long hours without eating anything may experience lesser gallbladder contractions. Lesser gallbladder contraction is equivalent to more bile deposition in the gallbladder and gallstone development. A pattern of losing and gaining weight induced by dieting may also make women prone to the development of gallstones.


Needless to say, obesity is a prime risk factor for a myriad of primary and secondary health complications. This being said, it is also one of the major risk factors for gallstones in women. The higher your Body Mass Index (BMI) is the higher is your risk of developing gallbladder stones.

Women compared to men are more at risk of gallstones due to hormonal changes and pregnancy. Besides, studies have reinstated the fact that women with a higher BMI are three times more prone to developing gallstones.

Weight Loss:

While individuals with obesity symptoms are at a higher risk of gallstones, those who experience a sudden drop in body weight are also prone to it. A sudden and abnormal dip in body weight may shift the nutrient content in the body, which may create an imbalance in the bile salt quantity, bilirubin, and cholesterol content.

As weight loss stems as a concerning risk factor for gallstones in women, medical professionals always advise a healthy and natural way of maintaining an appropriate BMI.

For further queries on gallstones in women, turn into the experts at Narayana Health, today!