The primary function of the gallbladder is to store and transport bile to aid in digestion of fatty foods. Part of the biliary system, the gallbladder is located on the right side of the abdomen right under the liver. It is not needed for survival however, and can be removed surgically via a procedure called a cholecystectomy if medically necessary.
The liver produces bile, a yellowish-brown digestive enzyme. Bile aids in the breakdown and digestion of fatty foods in the small intestine. The gallbladder stores bile when it is not being used for digestion. The gallbladder also helps the liver drain waste products to the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.
Gallstones, gallbladder attack and gallbladder disease are typical problems affiliated with the gallbladder. Solid particles made of cholesterol, bilirubin and bile salts found in bile are called gallstones. Gallstones are very painful and can cause obstruction of the biliary system. A gallbladder attack is commonly caused by gallstones blocking the bile ducts, which in turn causes an increase in pressure in the gallbladder. Gallbladder disease, also known as cholecystitis, is an inflammation of the gallbladder as a result of gallstones blocking the ducts to the small intestine. Fatty and fried foods can cause gallbladder problems, such as gallstones and gallbladder pain.