The gallbladder is a gastrointestinal organ located within the right hypochondriac region of the abdomen. This intraperitoneal, pear-shaped sac lies within a fossa formed between the lobes of the liver. The primary function of the gallbladder is to concentrate and store bile, which is produced by the liver.
Bile is an aqueous, alkaline, greenish-yellow liquid whose main function is to emulsify fats in the small intestine and to eliminate substances from the liver. The liver produces 0.25-1 litres of bile per day. Bile is made up of bile acids, cholesterol, phospholipids, bile pigments, electrolytes and water.
Bile is continuously produced, but we only need it during and after meals. After eating, the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) is released from the duodenum. This stimulates the gallbladder to contract, and relaxation the sphincter of Oddi, thus allowing bile to flow into the duodenum.
In this section, learn more about the physiology of the gallbladder- read about the process of bile production and its significance.