Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder in-between meals. Disorders involving the liver or gallbladder can lead to reduced bile production and/or delivery to the small intestine. When fat-containing food particles arrive in the small intestine, bile is squeezed out of the gallbladder and travels to the small intestine through a duct. Some people have their gallbladder removed for medical reasons. Since bile is made in the liver and the gallbladder merely functions as a temporary storage depot for bile, this is not a serious concern. In many cases, the liver sends adequate amounts of bile directly to the small intestine to support adequate digestion of a reasonably sized meal. However, if fat is not efficiently digested and absorbed, a lower-fat diet might be prescribed by a physician. The presence of increased amounts of fat in feces can be used to gauge the efficiency of fat digestion and absorption. Feces will become more pale and greasy in appearance when proper absorption does not occur. In addition, bacterial metabolism of some of the fat may result in some discomforting symptoms as well.
Was this article helpful?