Things you need to know
- Gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located under the liver and at the right side of the abdomen. It is responsible for storing and concentrating bile juice (a digestive fluid produced by the liver).
- Gallstones are hard deposits that form inside your gallbladder. These stones vary in size and numbers and can cause a range of complications, if not treated timely.
- It is possible to effectively prevent the formation of gallstones through dietary changes, routine exercise and weight loss.
- Gallstone treatment involves the use of surgical intervention. They are usually treated with gallbladder removal surgery.
Gallstones are small crystals, usually made up of cholesterol that form inside your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located just under the liver in your upper right abdomen. It is responsible for storing and releasing bile fluids produced by your liver. Bile is a digestive fluid that helps breakdown fat in your body.
Sometimes the cholesterol levels in the bile become too high and take the form of stones.
Most people do not experience any gallstones symptoms. However, certain commonly experienced symptoms include:
- Sudden and rapidly increasing pain in the upper abdomen
- Pain in the back
- Intense pain between your shoulder blades
- Nausea and vomiting
How to prevent gallstones from forming?
A healthy change in your lifestyle can help in gallstones prevention. A healthy lifestyle includes mindful eating, routine physical activity and weight management. Here are some measures you can take in your everyday life to achieve the same.
Your gallstones prevention diet should include plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables. Eat at least five portions of different fruits and vegetables everyday to prevent gallstones from forming.
Furthermore, your diet should include food items high in fibre content such as whole grains and cereals. In order to prevent gallstones formation, you should ensure to eat healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Low-fat dairy products like milk and yoghurt are also essential for your gallbladder health. You should also ensure to eat healthy starchy carbohydrates.
Foods to include in your diet are: fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, peanuts, oatmeal, coffee, cabbage and chocolate.
Foods to avoid include: Fried and fast foods, foods high in sugar and salt, white flour and refined grains.
Being obese or overweight increases your risk of gallstones formation. It is important to maintain a healthy body weight in order to prevent stones in your gallbladder.
However, it is also important to note that rapid or sudden weight loss, such as that assisted by a bariatric surgery, can also significantly increase your chances of gallstones. If you are overweight, you should aim to lose excess weight gradually and slowly. You should reach your ideal weight goal over a period of about 6-10 months at least.
Regular physical activity notably reduces your risk of developing gallstones. You should engage in an exercise regime everyday or most days for nearly 30-40 minutes. Exercising regularly prevents unwanted weight gain and helps boost your digestive health.
Know your risk
While everyone is susceptible to developing gallstones, some individuals are more prone than others. It is important to understand and identify your personal risk of the disease in order to prevent it.
Consult your healthcare provider to discuss your risk of gallstones and practice measures to prevent it. If you are a high-risk patient, your doctor may also prescribe certain preventative medication to lower your risk.
Fatty foods, fried foods, high-fat dairy products and sugary foods can trigger the development of gallstones in your body.
Increased quantity of cholesterol in bile can lead to the formation of gallstones.
Yes, it is possible to flush out gallstones naturally through dietary changes.