Answers to Common General Surgery Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about general surgery.

What can trigger a gallbladder attack?

Dr. Steven Sutherin discusses triggers of gallbladder attacks. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What can trigger a gallbladder attack?

Anything in the stomach causes the gallbladder to squeeze, even a glass of water, but it squeezes harder when there is fat in the stomach. So anything greasy, fried foods, pizza, will stimulate the gallbladder even harder and make it squeeze harder. Again if there is a gallstone in there, it will make the gallbladder attack much, much worse.


Anything we eat or drink will cause the gallbladder to squeeze to empty, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

But fat in the stomach causes the gallbladder to squeeze harder. And foods that are fried and greasy make the gallbladder work even harder.

Having a gallstone can cause the attack to be much worse.

According to the American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP), you’re more likely to get gallstones if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Are of American Indian or Mexican descent
  • Are older than 60
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are pregnant
  • Eat a high cholesterol diet
  • Eat a low-calorie diet and have recently lost weight quickly
  • Have a family history of gallstones
  • Have diabetes
  • Take birth control pills

To learn more about what causes a gallbladder attack, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

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Source: James deCaestecker, DO, FACS, Gem City Surgical Associates; Daniel Taylor, MD, FACS, Miami County Surgeons; L. Stewart Lowry, MD, FACS, Miami County Surgeons; Luan Tran, MD, Miami Valley Surgery Associates; Steven Sutherin, MD, FACS, Miami Valley Surgery Associates

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