Gallbladder Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment
Consider Natural Prevention and Treatment
Before Resorting to Surgery
The gallbladder is a small organ about the size and shape of a medium pear. Problems with
this relatively small organ are responsible for more than 750,000 hospitalizations each
year in the United States, and some experts estimate that more than 20 million Americans
have gallstones. Of course, gallbladder disease is not limited to the United States.
The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver. Bile is a greenish alkaline solution
that acts somewhat like a detergent to assist in the process of digesting food. Bile is
composed of water, cholesterol, lecithin, and salts and pigments. After a person eats,
the gallbladder sends bile into the intestines where it is especially helpful in the
breakdown of fats.
Stones are formed in the gallbladder due to imbalances in cholesterol and bile. Factors
that contribute to stone-forming imbalances include being overweight, using estrogen
medications, having high blood cholesterol concentrations, being diabetic, and in some
cases, having a genetic predisposition. Fad diets that cause rapid, temporary weight loss
can stimulate rapid gallstone formation. Most gallstones are formed primarily of
Gallstones can become a serious problem, in addition to the pain they can cause, because
they can travel and block the main bile duct. This can lead to infections and
inflammation, and can cause damage to the pancreas, a situation that can become
Symptoms of gallstones include pain in the upper abdomen that develops quickly and lasts
for 30 minutes to several hours, and pain in the back at the level of the shoulder blades or
under the right shoulder. Other symptoms, which can indicate many problems other than
gallstones, include nausea or vomiting, fever, swelling in the upper right quadrant of the
abdomen, and yellowing of the skin or eyes. None of these symptoms should be ignored!
Treatment of gallbladder disease is usually surgical removal of the gallbladder, although
gallstone removal remedies may be a good first option befoe resorting to surgery. Surgical removal of
the gallbladder is called cholecystectomy and can usually be done laparoscopically, which means
only small incisions are required and the hospital stay is usually very short. Most
people can live quite well without a gallbladder, although they will have difficulty
digesting larger or fatty meals.
Gallstones may be preventable through eating a diet high in fiber and low in fat. Good
sources of natural fiber are raw fruits and vegetables and whole-grain cereals. Moderate
consumption of olive oil may lower a person's risk of developing gallstones. Research has
suggested that an ingredient in olive oil may help reduce cholesterol levels in the
As with almost every health issue, proper diet, adequate exercise and maintaining a healthy weight
are the best things you can do for yourself in relation to gallbladder disease.
Peruse our site and look through our articles to see if we can help you with your health
questions. Remember, though, that only your healthcare professional can diagnose and recommend specific
treatments for your health issues. We are here to give you a knowledge base that you can use to better
understand your doctor's orders and to help you know what questions to ask.