Infomation about Gallstones


What Is Gallstones

Gallstones are hard lumps of digestive fluid that form inside the gallbladder.  The gallbladder is filled with bile, which gets released into the small intestine as part of the digestion process.  Cholesterol, calcium carbonate, and calcium bilirubinate can form into Gallstones if they are out of balance.  Ranging in size, Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball.  People may only develop one or many Gallstones, and it is a fairly common condition in America. 

Signs Of Gallstones

People with Gallstones may or may not experience symptoms, but this depends on the size of the Gallstones.  About 80% of people with Gallstones don't experience any pain, and these are called "silent" Gallstones.  If a Gallstone lodges itself in a duct, it may cause blockage and the following symptoms can ensue:

  • Pain on the right side of the body, just below the ribs
  • Nausea
  • Back pain
  • Sudden pain in the center of the abdomen below the sternum
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness 
What Causes Gallstones

Most doctors aren't sure of the exact cause of Gallstones, but the common belief is that they are the result of an imbalance in the gallbladder.  About 80% of Gallstones are comprised of cholesterol and the other 20% are made up of calcium salts and bilirubin.  Another probably cause is if the gallbladder isn't functioning properly.  If the gallbladder is not emptying bile, Gallstones can form.  Common causes are listed below. 

  • Overweight or obese people (especially women)
  • Bile containing too much cholesterol
  • Bile containing too much bilirubin
  • A gallbladder that doesn't function properly
  • Women taking oral contraceptives
  • Diet high in fat or cholesterol
  • Family history of Gallstones
  • Diabetes
  • Dramatic weight loss

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Try to avoid rapid weight loss and fad diets, for example, low calorie diets.  The rapid weight loss can trigger nutritional deficiencies or electrolyte imbalances, both of which can lead to the formation of Gallstones.  It is best to maintain a healthy diet and bodyweight for optimum health and a lower risk of developing Gallstones.  Eating a diet comprised of plant-based foods can be beneficial because it delivers you all the essential nutrients that your body needs.  Avoiding processed foods, meat, dairy products, fried foods, sugars, and salty foods can help keep you healthy and keep your weight down. 
  • It can be beneficial to eat anti-inflammatory foods, as well as foods that help promote optimum kidney and gallbladder health.  The anti-inflammatory foods help regulate your body's cholesterol and they lower high-estrogen foods, which can contribute to excess estrogen.  Green leafy vegetables, celery, beets, blueberries, pineapple, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, turmeric, ginger, and coconut oil are great anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate into your diet. 
  • Apple cider vinegar is a great home remedy because it can stop the liver from making the cholesterol that comprises most Gallstones.  If you have a Gallstone attack, mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of fresh apple juice, which you juice yourself.  Alternatively, you can mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.  
  • Drinking peppermint tea can be helpful because peppermint aids proper digestion by stimulating bile flow.  It also contains a compound that can help dissolve Gallstones.  It is best to drink a cup of peppermint tea twice a day if you have Gallstones, or immediately after you feel a sharp pain near your gallbladder. 
  • It may be beneficial to place a warm castor oil pack on your upper right abdomen, where your gallbladder is, to help relieve pain or the number of Gallstones you have.  You can purchase a castor oil pack, or you can make your own.  To make your own, soak a piece of wool flannel in castor oil and place it on the abdomen.  Cover it with plastic wrap, place a heating pad or hot water bottle on top, leave it on for an hour or so, and then remove it.  Do this four times a week for a month, or until symptoms subside. 
  • You can help yourself by being more active.  As well as contributing to overall health, exercise helps to promote better circulation, proper digestion, and keeps your weight in check.  It is optimal to exercise for about 30-60 minutes 5 days a week.  Beneficial and moderate exercises include swimming, walking, cycling, Tai Chi, yoga, or Pilates. 
  • If you are a woman, you may want to reconsider taking birth control pills because these can cause the formation of Gallstones by changing your hormonal balance.  Birth control pills increase the body's estrogen stores, which increases cholesterol production as a result.  Non-hormonal birth control pills may be worth looking into. 
Things you should eat
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Pears
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocados
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Peppermint Tea
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