Can Gallbladder Problems Cause Blood Clots?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

My mother got thrombosis in both her legs in about a month's time. She was told that these thromboses are caused by her putative gallbladder cancer, and also a secondary form in the liver. She's had a gallstone problem for 40 years, but it was silent for the last twenty years or so. Now she is experiencing symptoms like bladder problems, pain, and fatigue again. Any insight you have will help.

Doctor's response

We assume that you are asking whether your mother's present complaints could be due to the gallstone problem that has been silent for 20 years. Gallstones are very common and affect up to 40% people over the age of 65. Often, gallstones cause no symptoms. The major symptoms of gallstones are upper abdominal pain and obstruction to the flow of bile which leads to jaundice (in which the patient's skin turns yellow). People with various complaints who are known to have gallstones often wonder whether their symptoms could be caused by their gallstones. The general point is that gallstones cause a few, very characteristic symptoms. Most other symptoms are not due to gallstones. Cancer of the gallbladder, especially when it has spread to the liver, can cause pain and fatigue. Some cancers also increase the tendency of blood to clot, and this leads to thrombosis within arteries and veins.


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