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Dr Maran M, a leading gastro surgeon in Chennai, India, explains the difference between gallstones and kidney stones.

6 Differences Between Kidney Stones and Gallstones

Many have confusion about Gallstones and Kidney stones. As a matter of fact, there are so many people out there who think both are the same. When they simply refer that their diagnosis has confirmed the presence of stone, they immediately confuse both. The occurrence of Kidney stones is more known than Gallstones. In other words, the awareness about the occurrence of stones in the gallbladder is relatively low compared to Kidney stones. Let us see the differences.

How Gallstones are different from Kidney stones?

  1. Kidney stones are real stones, and they are made of calcium and other minerals that crystallize in the kidney. On the other hand, Gallstones are mostly made of cholesterol or pigments. They are more of a solid lump than a stone.
  2. Men are prone to getting Kidney stones whereas women are more prone to getting stones in the gallbladder.
  3. If the Kidney stones get down the renal canal, they end up being broken down and passing out of the body which is good news. But if the Gallstones gets out, they end up blocking the bile path. They then can cause serious damage and emergency which is not good news. That is why most often the gastro surgeon recommends getting the gallbladder removed by surgery to prevent the gallstones from blocking the bile flow which may be life-threatening at times
  4. Stones in the kidney lead to blood in the urine whereas the manifestation of gallstones can lead to jaundice and other complications
  5. Based on the size, kidney stones can be treated by medicines too. Whereas the only option available for gallstones is to remove the gallbladder entirely with stones in case the diagnosis confirms its presence.
  6. Kidney stones can be avoided by developing the habit of taking regular fluid intakes. Whereas stones in the gallbladder can be avoided by taking food that is less in cholesterol.

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