Difference Between Gallstones and Kidney Stones

The kidney's job is to filter blood, which results in the production of urine. The function of the gallbladder is to hold bile, which is created by the liver and aids in the breakdown and absorption of lipids. They both have a crucial role to perform in a human body.

Gallstones, often known as gallbladder stones, and kidney stones may not be well-known to many individuals. The majority believe the two to be interchangeable.

The two differ in some significant ways. The two types of stones, kidney stones and gallstones, are totally different from one another, and they both have their roots in two different bodily systems.

Gallstones and kidney stones can both exist in your body without endangering your health and are both fairly common. Both are initially very pain-free and only become problematic when they grow to more severe sizes. In this article, we will understand the difference between them.

What are Gallstones?

Gall bladder is a component of the digestive system. It holds bile, which your digestive system uses to break down lipids. It is situated in the upper right area of your belly, directly below your liver. Gallstones develop in the gallbladder, a tiny "bag" located under the liver. Gallstones can develop when bile contains excessive amounts of cholesterol or bilirubin, much like kidney stones can when there is an excess of calcium in the body. Gallstones are cholesterol-hardened stones in more than 80% of cases. These kinds of stones may be inherited or result from environmental factors.

Gallstones may be more likely to affect you if they run in your family. Additionally, being a female, being in your reproductive years, being older than 40, or being overweight puts you at higher risk.

The area where the gallbladder is situated, which is on the upper right side of your belly under your ribs, is where gallstones typically cause pain. The pain can appear and disappear at other times, but it usually does so between 30 and 60 minutes after eating a meal. With a gallstone, you might also feel sick to your stomach or vomit.

What are Kidney Stones?

A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that develops as a result of the urine's constituents' crystallising. The accumulation of certain minerals in your body leads to kidney stones. Stones of various sizes can be formed when minerals like calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus concentrate.

As big as a pearl or as little as a sand grain, kidney stones can range in size. Sometimes, they might even be bigger. Kidney stones either remain in the kidneys or pass through the ureters (the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder) and exit the body with the urine.

You can experience back, side, or groyne pain, depending on where the kidney stone is placed. Many people compare this pain to childbirth since it is acute, unexpected, and intense. You can observe blood or have discomfort when urinating, and it is also linked to nausea and vomiting.

A multitude of variables, including dehydration, obesity, calcium supplements, food, genetic conditions, age, digestive disorders, hyperuricemia, pregnancy, and ethnicity, affect the likelihood of developing kidney stones (Asians and Caucasians have higher propensity).

Similarities between Gallstones and Kidney Stones

  • The kidney and gallbladder are both susceptible to producing stones due to the foods and beverages we consume.

  • Both kidney stones and gallstones are frequent and safe to have inside your body.

  • Both kidney stones and gallstones − won't hurt you if they don't move.

  • Both kidney stones and gallstones won’t hurt you unless they are large enough to obstruct the normal passage of fluids through their individual physiological systems.

Difference between Kidney Stones and Gallstones

The following table highlights the major differences between Kidney Stones and Gallstones −


Kidney Stones



The urinary tract is where kidney stones develop.

In the gallbladder, gallstones develop.

Risk group

Across all ethnicities, middle-aged males are more susceptible, especially if there is a family history of kidney stones.

Native American-Indian and Hispanic women are more vulnerable, particularly if they have diabetes, obesity, or have lost weight quickly.

Diagnostic Method

CT scans, ultrasounds, and intravenous pyelograms can all be used to diagnose kidney stones.

A CT scan, cholangiography, cholescintigraphy, blood cholesterol test, and jaundice are used to identify gallstones


Calcium, phosphate, oxalate, and uric acid crystals are the main components of kidney stones

Cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin make up gallstones.


Some symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and blood in the urine.

Gallstone sufferers report upper right abdominal pain, back pain, and nausea.

Treatment options for kidney stones include lithotripsy, surgery, producing polyurea, and painkillers. Cholecystectomy, ursodeoxycholic acid, ERCP, and lithotripsy are all used to treat gallstones. Surgery to remove gallstones does not significantly alter the digestive system.


More water consumption and a reduction in oxalate-rich foods can help prevent kidney stones. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating well (avoid sugar, carbohydrates, and saturated fats), and exercising will help you avoid gallstones. Either way it is important to see a doctor if you have symptoms that could indicate kidney or gallstone stones.

Updated on: 23-Jan-2023


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