ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Where is your Gallbladder?

Updated on May 2, 2011

The gallbladder is a small pouch attached to the side of the bile duct, the tube that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine. A gallbladder is found in about two thirds of all vertebrate animals. Its function is to concentrate and store bile, which is produced by the liver, until it is needed for digestion.

Storage and Concentration of Bile

The human gallbladder usually ranges in length from about 2.75 to nearly 4 inches and can hold up to 2 ounces of bile at anyone time. The outer wall is composed of muscle, and when it contracts the gallbladder empties. The inner wall is absorptive. When there is no digestion occurring in the small intestine the muscle surrounding the intestinal end of the bile duct is tightly closed, and the bile, as it is produced by the liver, flows into the gallbladder and distends it.

The liver normally produces from 13 to 32 ounces of bile each day. As it is produced, the bile contains 97% water, 2.5% bile salts, and 0.5% other solids. The gallbladder removes much of the water from the bile and may concentrate it as much as twelvefold. After it is concentrated by the gallbladder the bile may contain 50% bile salts.

Release of Bile

When ingested fat reaches the small intestine a hormone called cholecystokinin is secreted by the intestinal wall and released into the bloodstream. This hormone causes the muscle at the intestinal end of the bile duct to relax and also causes contraction of the muscle forming the outer wall of the gallbladder.

This process empties all of the bile from the gallbladder into the small intestine. The bile salts in bile are essential for the absorption of fat from the intestine and the gallbladder continues to contract and empty as long as unabsorbed fat remains in the intestine.

About 90% of the bile salts emptied into the intestine are later reabsorbed into the blood from the terminal portions of the small intestine. This process may be so rapid that the bile salts released by the gallbladder at the beginning of a meal may be reabsorbed and used to form more bile for use during the same meal. About three hours after a meal, all the body's bile salts are back in the gallbladder, where they are stored until they are needed again.

Diseases and Disorders of the Gallbladder

The gallbladder, like other organs, is subject to a variety of diseases and disorders. Among these are various infections and cancer. One of the most common disorders of the gallbladder is the formation of gallstones (cholelithiasis). Gallstones occur more frequently in older people than younger people, more in women than in men, more in the obese than in the thin, and more in American Indians and Caucasians than in African Americans.

Sometimes gallstones obstruct the drainage of bile to the gallbladder or injure the gallbladder wall, producing severe pain and sometimes causing the gallbladder to rupture. If the gallstones block the flow of bile through the bile duct, the dammed up bile may damage the liver.

Whenever gallstones cause severe pain or damage they are removed surgically. The removal of the gallbladder causes no known ill effects.

Occasionally, a person is born without a gallbladder.

Have you ever had gallstones?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Pigment gall stones are generally far more likely to affect middle aged people, and people with severe hemolytic anemia. People of Chinese descent who come up with gall stones tend to be most likely to have the pigment sort.

    • Mr Knowitall profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Knowitall 

      7 years ago

      I've not personally suffered from gallstones, but of the few that I know that have, all of them have said they would not wish it upon their worst enemy.

    • katiem2 profile image


      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Cool, good to know where the gallbladder is. I once became very ill and wondered this very question. Now I know for sure. When you want to find out Google it! :) Katie

    • jayjay40 profile image


      7 years ago from Bristol England

      Very useful information thank you


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)