How does the prevalence of biliary obstruction vary by sex?

Updated: Oct 16, 2019
  • Author: Jennifer Lynn Bonheur, MD; Chief Editor: Vinay Kumar Kapoor, MBBS, MS, FRCS, FAMS  more...
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The sexual predilection also depends on the specific cause of the biliary obstruction. Gallstone disease is the most common cause of biliary obstruction. Women are much more likely to develop gallstones than men. By the sixth decade, almost 25% of American women develop gallstones, with as many as 50% of women aged 75 years developing gallstones. This increased risk is likely caused by the effect of estrogen on the liver, causing it to remove more cholesterol from the blood and diverting it into the bile.

Approximately 20% of men aged 75 years have gallstones, with more complicated disease courses occurring in those who have had cholecystectomies.

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