What Does the Gallbladder Do?


Your gallbladder is a small organ on the right side of your abdomen. It's part of your digestive system. But you may not know much about it. Let's take a moment to learn about the gallbladder, and what it does for the body.

Healthy gallbladder

A healthy gallbladder is small and pear-shaped. It sits just beneath your liver. The gallbladder and the liver connect to the pancreas and small intestine by a tube called the "common bile duct."

The gallbladder's role

The gallbladder's job is to store and release a fluid called "bile." Bile is a digestive fluid made by your liver. It helps your body break down the fats in your food. Before you eat, your gallbladder is full of bile. But as food makes its way to your intestines, your gallbladder contracts. It pushes the bile into your small intestine. Afterward, the gallbladder fills up again.


Even though the gallbladder performs an important role, it isn't a vital organ. That means you can live without it. If your gallbladder becomes diseased or injured, we can take it out with a surgery called a "cholecystectomy." After this surgery, your doctor will give you tips for living a full and healthy life.