Possible symptoms of bile duct stones include intermittent or continuous abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and jaundice, according to the University of Michigan Health System. An individual with bile duct stones may also experience a loss of appetite and may pass clay-colored stools, notes MedlinePlus.
The presence of bile duct stones is a condition that is also known as choledocholithiasis. A bile duct stone occurs when a stone forms inside the bile duct or when a gallstone travels out of the gallbladder and lodges itself in the bile duct, states the University of Michigan Health System. Bile duct stones may not cause any symptoms until they create a blockage in the bile ducts, and in some cases, they may travel out of the bile duct by themselves. If a blockage does happen, it can cause inflammation, bacterial infection or serious organ damage.
To diagnose a bile duct stone, a doctor may use imaging methods, such as magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography or endoscopic ultrasound, notes the University of Michigan Health System. The doctor may also order blood tests that check for abnormal levels of bilirubin, white blood cells, pancreatic enzymes and liver enzymes, states the Virginia Mason Medical Center.
A doctor may treat a bile duct stone with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, which involves using an endoscope with special tools to remove the stone, according to the University of Michigan Health System.