It is estimated that digestive diseases affect millions of people in the World. Gallbladder disease is one of the more common of these diseases. Most people with gallstones do not know that they have them and experience no symptoms. These people may have painless gallstones, or silent gallstones. In rare cases, gallstones can cause serious health problems. Hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and operations occur annually as a result of gallstones. So what is Gall Stone disease anyway?
What is Gall Bladder
The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped organ on the underside of the liver that is used to store bile. Bile is made in the liver and is stored in the gall bladder until it is needed to help the digestion of fat.
How are Gall Bladder Stones Disease caused?
Gall bladder gets diseased due to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. This leads to an imbalance of the acid-alkali balance in the body which causes the cholesterol to precipitate in the gall bladder leading to stone formation. Over time, these may get infected and lead to an acute inflammation, pain, fever etc. A stone may move ahead into a narrow passage/duct and get stuck leading to severe agony.
Am I at risk of developing gallstones?
Gallstones are seen in all age groups but they are rare in the young. The possibility of developing gallstones increases with age. The following groups are considered to be at increased risk:
- People whose relatives have gallstones.
- Obese people.
- People with a high blood cholesterol level.
- Women who take drugs containing oestrogen, e.g. contraceptive pills.
- People with diseases such as chronic intestinal inflammation.
What are the Symptoms?
Some common symptoms of gallstones or gallstone attack include:
- Severe pain in the upper abdomen that starts suddenly and lasts from 30 minutes to many hours.
- Pain under the right shoulder or in the right shoulder blade.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Indigestion after eating high-fat foods, such as fried foods or desserts.
What can do about it?
The best way to treat gall stones is to prevent them. Diet plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of gall bladder disorder. Following diet tips aid in the treatment of gall bladder diseases:
Foods to AVOID
- Since most gall bladder stones are composed of cholesterol it is important to restrict cholesterol sources like animal based products such as dairy (milk, curd, cheese, paneer, khoya and chocolates), meat, chicken etc. The association of these sources with gall bladder disease has been mentioned in all texts (Unani medicine,homeopathy, modern medicine and Ayurveda ).
- Avoid or decrease acid increasing foods like tea, coffee, thick gravies, processed foods and foods with preservatives.
- Avoid or cut down smoking as it upsets the acid-alkali balance due to high Hydrogen ion concentration.
- Avoid fat loaded and fried food.
Foods to EAT
- In case of acute attack, the patient should be on a diet of fluids, juices, food with no oil, lots of watery vegetables such as lauki (bottle gourd), tori (ridge gourd) and kheera (cucumber), lots of fruits like apple and grapes, and thin vegetable soups.
- Vegetables which are particularly beneficial are carrots, beetroot (chukandar) and pear (nashpati).
- Include some spices in your diet like turmeric (haldi), ginger (adrak) and garlic (lehsun).
- Maintain hydration level. Most people who have attacks of gall bladder pain are the people who may be getting low levels of water which upsets the acid-alkali balance. At least 2 liters of water should be consumed per day.
- Other foods which benefit are Alfa-Alfa sprouts (very powerful alkalinizer), pancreatic enzyme tablets, b-complex,vitamin E capsules, mulethi (licorice).
Like all diseases, stress plays a major role in gall bladder disease. Therefore it is important to follow some de-stress techniques like pranayam and other breathing techniques. It is pretty essential that you participate in regular exercise, make sure to drink enough water regularly to encourage gall bladder emptying.