What is Gallbladder Bile?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Gallbladder bile is a bodily fluid produced by the liver to naturally assist in the digestion of fat. This substance can vary in its description from orange to green to brown or a may even feature a yellowish-brown hue. Made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, bile eventually enters the small intestine where it then works to help break down fats that enter the body when food is eaten.

Gallbladder bile is made up of several other ingredients found in the body, such as gallbladder bile salts, inorganic salts, mucus, lecithin, cholesterol, bilirubin and water. Also known as liver fluid, bile builds up in the body between meals and is temporarily stored inside the gallbladder, which is directly connected to the liver. Eventually, this substance is transferred to the small intestine through the gallbladder bile duct where, during meals, it works to help digest fats.

Multiple complications and conditions may occur if the gallbladder bile duct becomes blocked and is unable to function as intended. One such condition is jaundice, which occurs when a blockage results in a buildup in the bloodstream of bilirubin, which is present in bile. One of the most recognizable symptoms of jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. Some with this condition also report general discomfort and itchy skin. Jaundice is also known as icterus and requires medical treatment to remove the blockage and reverse symptoms.


Gallbladder bile duct cancer is what occurs when tumors develop in the bile duct. These tumors may form in the upper or the lower parts of the duct and will present symptoms such as stomach pain, jaundice, loss of appetite, unintended weight loss, fatigue and weakness. Some also report feelings of nausea and vomiting with this type of cancer. Liver test results will also show abnormalities when gallbladder bile duct tumors begin to form.

Gallbladder bile duct cancer most commonly affects patients age 65 or older. The surgical removal of tumors is the primary treatment for this type of cancer unless it is in an advanced stage where surgery cannot help. When this happens, doctors will suggest that a tube be inserted into the duct for the purpose of guiding bile into the small intestine. While this method does not cure the cancer, it can help relieve the pain, discomfort and jaundice that result from the bile duct blockage.


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