5 Natural Remedies for Treating Gallstones at Home
If you find yourself experiencing the pain of gallstones, check with your physician to see if he recommends surgery or a noninvasive attempt to break up the gallstones using sound waves. Once the first gallbladder attack has passed, try some home remedies and dietary adjustments to avoid ever having to experience a second attack.
The Gallbladder Cleanse
While many fans of the so-called Gallbladder Cleanse tout its abilities to rid the body of gallstones, there's no scientific evidence backing any of their claims. Various formulas for the gallbladder cleanse exist, typically centering on drinking olive oil and fruit juice for several days, often fasting from all food. While the large amount of olive oil ingested during a gallbladder cleanse does act as a laxative, the hard objects excreted during the cleanse have turned out in studies not to be gallstones at all but rather just to be lumps of oil and juice. Some versions of the gallbladder cleanse produce nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, and may, in fact, create further health hazards.
Studies show that drinking coffee can help prevent gallstones. Two cups of coffee per day diminish the risk of gallstones by 40 percent, and four cups a day increases that reduction to 45 percent. Tea, soft drinks containing caffeine and decaf coffee do not have the same effect; only caffeinated coffee results in gallstone prevention.
Diets rich in fiber appear to help prevent gallstones from forming. Flax seeds, psyllium seeds, legumes and whole grains all have protective qualities where gallstones are concerned, and high fiber cereals make for a healthy gallbladder.
Those who follow a vegetarian diet are half as likely to have gallstones as the general population. Scientists believe veggies may help in the fight against gallbladder disease because they reduce the amount of cholesterol found in the bile produced by the gallbladder.
Other Dietary Adjustments
High amounts of vitamin C also appear to play a role in preventing gallstone formation. The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon also reduce the incidence of gallstones. While a low-fat diet is helpful to combating gallbladder problems, the gallbladder needs some fat to be able to release bile as needed. However, reducing saturated fat in the diet can reduce the likelihood of gallstones. In addition, drinking only half a glass of wine per day, and no more, reduces gallstone attacks by 40 percent.
The gallbladder produces bile to help ease the digestion of fatty foods, but when it produces bile that contains too much cholesterol, gallstones can form. When gallstones leave the gallbladder and enter the intestines, they can produce incredible amounts of pain. Sometimes the only treatment is to wait for the gallstones to pass, and sometimes physicians prescribe gallbladder surgery. In between those extremes are a few home remedies to try, most involving diet, and one popular home remedy that is probably best to avoid.