What are risk factors for biliary colic and cholecystitis?

Updated: Jan 18, 2017
  • Author: Peter A D Steel, MBBS, MA; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Risk factors for biliary colic and cholecystitis include pregnancy, elderly population, obesity, certain ethnic groups (Northern European and Hispanic), weight loss, and liver transplant patients. [6]

The phrase "fair, female, fat, and fertile" summarizes the major risk factors for development of gallstones. Although gallstones and cholecystitis are more common in women, men with gallstones are more likely to develop cholecystitis (and more severe cholecystitis) than women with gallstones. [7]

Some oral contraceptives or estrogen replacement therapy may increase the risk of gallstones. Drugs that have been associated with cholecystitis include octreotide and ceftriaxone. [8, 9] In addition, the incidence of sludge or stone formation during pregnancy is 5.1% in the second trimester, 7.9% in the third trimester, and 10.2% at 4-6 weeks postpartum. [10, 11]

Age increases rates of gallstones, cholecystitis, and common bile duct stones. Elderly patients are more likely to go from asymptomatic gallstones to serious complications of gallstones without gallbladder colic.

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