Gallstones are small stones that form in the gallbladder. Gallstones are located under the liver. It can be very painful if not treated in time and may require an operation to remove them. Let us tell you that when cholesterol starts freezing or hardening in the gallbladder, we often complain of stones. In such a situation, the patient has to face unbearable pain and at the same time there is a problem in digesting food.
Between the liver and the gallbladder is a small tube called the bile duct, through which it carries bile to the gallbladder. When food enters a person’s body, this bladder draws bile like a pitchfork and sends it to the upper part of the small intestine, which is called the duodenum. This starts the process of digestion.
What is Gallstones ?
The most important problem related to the gallbladder, which is an important organ that protects the enzymes necessary for digestion, is that it is very prone to stone formation, which are called gallstones. In fact, when the amount of fluid in the gallbladder starts drying up, then the sugar-salt and other micronutrient elements present in it accumulate together and take the form of small stone pieces, which are called gallstones.
Sometimes there is accumulation of cholesterol, bilirubin and bile salts in the gall bladder. 80 percent of stones are made of cholesterol. Gradually they become hard and take the form of stones inside the gall bladder. Cholesterol stones are yellow-green in color.
When black or brown colored stones are seen in the bladder, they are called pigment stones. Sometimes there is accumulation of a substance called unconjugated bilirubin in the gall bladder, then it causes the problem of pigment stones. Due to disturbances in the gallbladder, many times bile starts accumulating in the bile duct, due to which people can also get jaundice. If bile goes into the pancreas instead of going into the intestines, it can lead to a serious condition called chronic pancreatitis. If not treated at the right time, it can also lead to cancer in the gallbladder.
Gallstone formation is a very painful disease. Two types of cholesterol and pigments are made in bile. But about 80 percent of the stones are made of cholesterol only. Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gall bladder. This bile helps in digesting fat rich food. But when the amount of cholesterol and bilirubin in the bile becomes high, stones are formed.
Symptoms of Gallstones
Sometimes the stones in the gallbladder are without any symptoms and sometimes they are also showing some symptoms. Symptoms of gallstones that are seen in particular are:
- Heaviness in the abdomen
- To sweat
Causes of Gallstones
There is no proven cause of gallstones and it can occur at any age. There are some factors that can increase the chances of gallstones such as:
- Post bariatric surgery
- Use of certain medicines
- Due to prolonged illness
Apart from this there are other reasons as well :
1) Bread, Rusk and other bakery products :
Consumption of bakery products such as bread, muffins, cookies, cupcakes, etc. affects the health of the gallbladder. Actually, the amount of saturated and trans fat in these foods is very high and most of these foods are made of white flour. If you have any disease related to Gall Bladder, then these products should not be consumed at all. Instead of this, you should eat foods made of coarse grains.
2) Consumption of sweet things :
Refined carbohydrates are found in abundance in sweets. Along with this, excessive intake of sugar thickens cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart diseases as well as gall bladder stones. That’s why too much of sweet things should not be consumed.
3) More Protein :
If you want to keep your gallbladder healthy, you should limit the amount of protein found in animals. In fact, proteins found in animals increase the risk of calcium stones and uric acid stones. Fish, meat have high amount of calcium along with protein, so don’t consume them too much. If you have gall bladder stone or kidney stone, then it should not be consumed at all.
4) Contraceptive drugs :
Gallbladder problems are also found in women who use contraceptive drugs in large quantities or frequently. That’s why women should adopt other types of contraceptive measures instead of medicines, because excessive consumption of medicines can make them a patient of gall bladder stones. Apart from this, these medicines also have a bad effect on the kidney and liver.
5) Due to Soda intake :
It is advised to consume more water in case of stone, but there are some beverages which should not be consumed in case of stone. Soda should not be consumed at all when there is a stone, it contains phosphoric acid which increases the risk of stone.
6) Due to Coffee :
Even if you consume a lot of coffee, you may have to face the problem of gall bladder. That’s why people who already have stones or any other complaint in the gall bladder, they should stop consuming coffee completely. People who are healthy can drink one or two cups of coffee a day but should not consume more coffee than this.
Prevention of Gallstones
To avoid gallstones, it is necessary to make changes in life and diet. Let us know what to eat in case of gallstones :
Yoga and Exercise- Regular exercise reduces cholesterol in the blood tissues, which can cause gall bladder problems. A relatively moderate amount of physical activity for thirty minutes a day, five times a week, has a significant effect on a person’s risk of developing gallstones. Yoga-The yogasanas that should be practiced for the treatment of gallstones are:
- 100 ml of carrot and cucumber juice. Mixing it in quantity and drinking it twice a day is beneficial in gallstones.
- 50 ml empty stomach in the morning. Drinking lemon juice is beneficial in a week.
- Alcohol, cigarette, tea, coffee and sugary drinks are harmful. Try to avoid them as much as possible.
- The use of vitamin-C i.e. ascorbic acid strengthens the body’s immune system. It turns cholesterol into bile. Taking three to four tablets of this daily is beneficial in stone.
- Pear is beneficial in gallstones, eat it a lot. Gall bladder diseases are cured by the chemical elements found in it.
- Patients of gallstones should take more and more green vegetables and fruits in food. They are low in cholesterol and also fulfill the requirement of protein.
- Consume sour fruits. Vitamin-C present in these proves to be very helpful in removing gall bladder stones.
- Stay away from fried and spicy things and eat a balanced diet.
- Consuming one spoon of turmeric daily removes stones.
- High intake of fruits and vegetables.
- High amounts of starchy carbohydrates. For example bread, rice, pulses, pasta, potato, chapati and plantain (banana-like food). When possible, choose items made from whole grains.
- Take small amounts of milk and dairy products. Take low fat dairy products.
- Small amounts of meat, fish, eggs and their substitutes such as legumes and pulses.
- Unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, rapeseed and olive oils, avocados, nuts and nuts.
- Take a diet rich in fiber. It is found in legumes, pulses, fruits and vegetables, oats and whole-wheat products such as bread, pasta and rice.
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water or herbal tea, at least two liters per day.
Should avoid eating :
- Doctors have suggested removing eggs from the diet in case of gallstones. According to them, it contains a lot of cholesterol which causes stones in the gall bladder.
- Acidic food should not be eaten in gallstones. Foods that are acidic, such as citrus fruits, coffee and tomato sauce, can not only irritate your stomach, but can also lead to gallstones.
- If you like to eat fried things then leave it immediately. Not only do they harm the health, but it can also increase the problem of gallstones. That’s why you try not to eat too many fried things. Let us tell you that fried foods contain hydrogenated fat, trans fat and saturated fat which can increase your gallbladder pain. Use olive or canola oil as a healthier option for frying.
- Talking about abstinence in gallstones, you should also avoid non-vegetarian food like meat, red meat, pork and chicken etc. Apart from this, do not eat oily mudli.
- One of the reasons why people are running after processed food is that it tastes good and does not require much effort to make it. It can not only spoil the digestive system of the body but can also increase the problem of gallstones. Trans fatty acids, usually present in packaged food, act to increase the symptoms of gallstones. Avoid chips, cookies, donuts, sweets or packaged foods.
- Stay away from foods with refined ingredients if you have gallstones. White bread, refined flour pasta, white rice and refined sugar all turn into fat, which can increase cholesterol in the bile.
- If you have a problem with gallstones, do not consume dairy products containing fat. Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, heavy cream, and sour cream contain high levels of fat, which increase the risk of gallstone formation. Try reducing the amount of dairy in your diet or choose low-fat milk.
- You should avoid certain foods to prevent gallstones or to protect your gallbladder. The biggest problems are high fat foods and processed foods. That’s why keep distance from them. Foods such as vegetable oil and peanut oil that are greasy or fried are more difficult to give up and can lead to gallbladder problems.
- Foods that contain trans fats, like processed or commercially baked products, can also harm gallbladder health. Avoid refined white foods like white pasta, bread and sugar, these can harm your gallbladder. You should also avoid alcohol and tobacco.
Prevention after Removing Gallstones
What are the things to be kept in mind after stone removal?. Following things you should keep in mind after removing gallstones :
- Drinking is not allowed for the first five hours after surgery. Then you can drink a couple of sips of non-carbonated drinking water every 20 minutes, up to 0.5 liters per day. The day after the operation, you can continue the usual drinking regime, excluding coffee, tea, sweet and carbonated drinks, alcohol.
- From three days on the diet includes boiled vegetables in the form of grated porridge, mashed potatoes, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, baked ground grated apples on the water. On the fifth day, you can start eating boiled omelet without yolk, mashed soups in any meat broth, you can add 100 grams of white bread croutons to them. Until the end of the first week, boiled fish and meat of low-fat varieties in ground form, liquid cereals with milk, mashed bananas are allowed.
- After removal of the gallbladder, abstinence continues for a month and a half. Its main principle is that the dishes should be steamed or boiled, food in small portions, the frequency of eating five-six times a day. All smoked products, pickled products, pickled and canned foods are excluded.
- After a month and a half, you can gradually introduce chicken yolk / once a week, boiled sausage, honey, mild cottage cheese, fresh sour cream, fresh fruits and berries. Instead of sugar, it is better to use sweeteners. This diet is called Table N5/Hepatic/ and will need to be followed for three months. In the future, with the permission of the gastroenterologist, the diet is gradually expanded, but still smoked meats, spicy and canned dishes, spicy products should be discarded. To improve the bile function of the liver, it is necessary to use vegetable fiber. Raw vegetables and fruits, vegetable oils are useful.
Side Effect of Gallstones
Although digestive problems are more common after gallbladder surgery, there are also symptoms of gallstones such as diarrhea, constipation after surgery. Side effects of gallbladder removal include a variety of problems as removal.
- Some people find it a little difficult to digest fatty foods in the first month after surgery. Eating a low-fat diet may help.
- The gallbladder stores waste products from the digestive tract and bile from the liver. When the gall bladder is removed, the bile released from the liver goes directly into the small intestine. Due to the absence of gall bladder, when it comes in the small intestine, there is a problem for some time in the process between the liver and it. Because of which sometimes the patient also gets diarrhea. This is also known as cholecystectomy syndrome, which lasts for a few days after the gallbladder is remove.
- Some people become constipated from the pain medications they take after gallbladder surgery. A diet that is rich in fiber beans, bran, whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help prevent and relieve constipation.
- Stones will remain in your common bile duct after gallbladder surgery. This can block the flow of bile into your small intestine and result in pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and jaundice soon after surgery. You may need an additional procedure to remove gallstones that have built up in your common bile duct.
- The instruments used during your gallbladder surgery can damage your intestines. Your doctor will take steps to reduce the risk of this complication during surgery. If this happens you may experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Apart from this, due to the side effects of having gall bladder stone, there is a sign of another disease :
- Jaundice and serious surgical conditions can also emerge from the presence of gallstones.
- It can also lead to infection, formation of pus and perforation of the gallbladder causing peritonitis.
- Life-threatening conditions such as pancreatitis can also arise.
- Cancer can occur in the gall bladder. In 6 to 18 percent cases of patients suffering from this stone, there is a risk of developing lifelong cancer, which is especially seen more in North India.
- Patients with large stones are more likely to develop cancer while those with small stones are more likely to develop jaundice or pancreatitis.
Home Remedies for Gallstones
Generally, home remedies are more commonly use for gallstones or stones in the gallbladder. Treatment of gallstones is very common :
1) Vitamin-C converts the body’s cholesterol into bile acids which break down the stones. You can take Vitamin-C supplement or eat foods that are rich in Vitamin-C like oranges, tomatoes etc. This is one of the best home remedies for stone pain.
2) This is one of the best home remedies for gallstones. It is anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Turmeric helps in breaking down bile, bile compounds and stones easily. It is believe that by taking one teaspoon of turmeric, about 80 percent of the stones are eliminated.
3) Include plenty of water-soluble fiber-rich foods such as whole grains and other grains in your diet. Fiber helps prevent stone formation naturally by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
4) Abundant amount of Vitamin-C in the body reduces the problem of stones. One red capsicum contains about 95 mg of vitamin-C, this amount is sufficient to prevent stones. So include capsicum in your diet.
5) Lemon juice being acidic in nature, it acts like vinegar and prevents cholesterol from building up in the liver. Take the juice of four lemons every day on an empty stomach. Follow this process for a week.
6) A high fiber diet is very essential for the treatment of gallbladder stones. Isabgol being a good source of soluble fiber binds cholesterol in the bile and helps prevent stone formation. You can have it with your other fiber rich food or at night before going to bed with a glass of water.
7) It increases bile and other digestive juices. It contains a compound called terpin which effectively breaks down the stones. You can also make peppermint tea by boiling mint leaves.
8) Dandelion leaves aid in liver and bladder functioning, promote bile excretion and help flush out toxins. Mix one tablespoon of dandelion leaves in one cup of water. Then keep it for five minutes to absorb. Now add one spoon of honey to it. Diabetics should avoid this remedy.
9) Mix beetroot juice, cucumber juice and carrot juice in equal amounts to cleanse and strengthen the gallbladder and cleanse the liver. This combination also helps you in cleaning the stomach and blood. The high water content in cucumber and the high amount of vitamin-C in carrots flush out toxins from the bladder.
10) Pears contain a compound called pectin which softens cholesterol-bound stones so that they can be easily passed out of the body. They are helpful in providing relief from pain and other symptoms caused by stones.
11) A glass of apple juice mixed with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar should be consume regularly once a day. Apples contain malic acid which helps in softening gallstones and vinegar prevents the liver from making stone-causing cholesterol. This is a quick remedy to reduce pain during a gallstone attack. Apple cider vinegar is very beneficial in relieving the symptoms of gallstones.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is gallstone?
Gallstones are solid deposits of the digestive fluid (bile) present in the gallbladder. It is a very common disease affecting 10-20% of the general population in India.
What are the reasons for the formation of gallstones?
If there is too much bilirubin in the bile, such as in cirrhosis of the liver or certain blood disorders, it can lead to stone formation. Eventually, if the gall bladder does not empty well, it leads to stagnation and stone formation.
Are there any risk factors for stone formation?
Gallstones are seen in women over the age of 40. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diet high in fat but low in fiber, diabetes and family history of gallstones are some of the common risk factors.
Who needs treatment for gallstones?
Not everyone needs treatment for kidney stones. All other patients who experience symptoms related to gallstones (pain, fever, jaundice, pancreatic inflammation) should seek medical advice. Individuals and families with a history of gallstones and gallbladder cancer also require treatment.
What is the treatment for gallstones?
It is a laparoscopic or keyhole surgery in which the entire procedure is performe through small holes in the abdomen. No other treatment is usually effective in eliminating gallstones.
Can the risk of gallstone formation be reduced?
Yes, maintaining a proper weight is the best way to reduce gallstones. Regular exercise and a low-calorie diet help keep stones at bay. Avoid skipping meals as it increases the chances of stone formation. Apart from this, those who intend to reduce their weight, do not do it too fast. Your goal should be to lose 500 grams to 1 kg/week.
When to See a Doctor ?
The pain in the abdomen is so severe that you cannot sit straight. Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Go to the doctor if symptoms like high fever with chills or vomiting are visible along with abdominal pain.