Gallbladder Disease

Gallstones and inflammation of the gallbladder, which rarely happens without the presence of gallstones, are most common in women. Pain felt in the upper-right quarter of the abdomen, then often moving to the back, is frequently the result of a stone blocking the bile duct. Stones are formed when there is an excess of cholesterol in the bile or a deficiency of substances such as lecithin needed to disperse the fat.

Gallstones are primarily composed of cholesterol that crystalizes and hardens into stones ranging from the size of tiny seeds to one inch in diameter. They are formed usually as a result of too much saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet, and it is recommended that consumption of saturated fats be reduced and cholesterol containing foods kept at 300 mg daily.

Too much sugar and too little fiber in the diet have been shown in studies to promote gallbladder attacks. Coffee, regular or decaffeinated, stimulates gallbladder contractions and can bring on an attack. Skipping meals can cause a gallbladder attack because the gallbladder needs to be active in producing bile acids which keep cholesterol dissolved. Some individuals may be deficient in HCl (stomach hydrochloric acid). Obesity and constipation are risks for forming stones. Food allergies have been shown to precipitate gallbladder inflammation but not stones; eggs, onions, and pork are the most common offenders.

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