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|By: Michael Manion||Topics/Keywords: #Gallbladder #Health||Page Views: 18431|
|All about your gallbladder.|
The gallbladder is a small organ, three to four inches long, located directly beneath the liver. It acts as a bile reservoir; it concentrates bile. During digestion, the gall bladder contracts and secretes its bile in order for the small intestine to digest fats. Bile is secreted from the gall bladder through what is called the cystic duct into the common bile duct, and, finally, into the small intestine.
Bile contains water, cholesterol, bile, bile salts, bilirubin, calcium, lecithin, and other substances. The solid portions are calcium and cholesterol. The bile salts act to keep all these dissolved as a liquid. Some people do not have the proper ratio of chemicals in the gall bladder; this can cause cholesterol crystals to form. Such crystals are often called gallstones. This condition is called cholelithiasis.
Many times, these stones can pass freely into the small intestine with no problem. Often persons with gallstones have no symptoms. The problems occur when the gallstones become lodged in the cystic duct, blocking the flow of bile from the gall bladder into the system. Even then, this only becomes a problem if the gall bladder becomes inflamed or, more seriously, infection sets in. if these gallstones become trapped in the cystic duct, most times it is not serious. The symptoms can be nausea, vomiting and pain in the upper right abdominal region. These symptoms often arise after the individual has eaten fried or fatty foods, which exacerbate these symptoms. Sometimes people with these symptoms believe they are having indigestion, food poisoning or even a heart attack.
If the gall bladder becomes inflamed, it can cause severe pain in the upper right abdomen. This may be accompanied by fever, nausea, and vomiting. This condition must be treated immediately. If left untreated, inflammation of the gall bladder, called cholecystitis, can be life threatening. If there are no gallstones, an antispasmodic, laxative, rest and a mild natural sedative may be effective. One should also study the cause of the inflammation so that it can be properly treated. In many cases, it is simply a matter of improper diet.
Sometimes cholesterol crystallizes, combining with bile in the gall bladder, to form gallstones in the common bile duct. If a stone blocks this duct, it can cause chills, fever, swollen abdomen, sharp pain in the upper right abdominal region, and jaundice (a yellowish pigmentation of the skin caused by a build up of too much bile which eventually makes its way into the blood stream).
Some risk factors contribute to the formation of gall stones.
One very large assistance that can help prevent or alleviate this condition is proper diet. Nutrition is a key component in the possible arrest of the contributing factors. These are suggested nutritional supplements:
|Alfalfa||See under Herbs, below.|
|Essential fatty acids||As directed on label.||Important constituents of every living cell. Needed for repair and prevention of gallstones.|
|Lecithin granules or capsules||1 tbsp 3 times daily, before meals.|
|1,200 mg 3 times daily, before meals.||A fat emulsifier; aids digestion of fats.|
|L-Glycine||500 mg daily, on an empty stomach. Take with water or juice. Do not take with milk. Take with 50 mg vitamin B6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption.||Essential for the biosynthesis of nucleic and bile acids.|
|Multi-enzyme complex with ox bile||As directed on label. Take before meals.||Aids in digestion if too little bile is secreted from the gallbladder. Caution: Do not give this supplement to a child. If you have a history of ulcers, do not use a formula containing HCI.|
|Vitamin A||25,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily.||Needed for repair of tissues. Use emulsion form for easier assimilation|
|Vitamin B complex plus extra vitamin B12 and choline and inositol||50 mg 3 times daily, with meals. 2,000 mcg daily 500 mg daily. 500 mg daily.||All B vitamins are necessary for proper digestion. Use a high-potency formula. Important in cholesterol metabolism and liver and gallbladder function.|
|Vitamin C||3,000 mg daily.||Deficiency can lead to gallstones.|
|Vitamin E||600 IU daily.||Prevents fats from becoming rancid.|
Caution: Do not use barberry during pregnancy.
For inflammation of the gall bladder, eat no solid food for a few days. Consume only distilled or spring water. Then drink juices such as pear, beet, and apple for three days. Then add solid foods: shredded raw beets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and freshly made uncooked applesauce made in a blender or food processor.
For gallstones, take 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the juice of a lemon before bed and upon awakening. Stones are often passed and eliminated in the stool with this technique--look for them. You can use grapefruit juice instead. To relieve pain, try using hot castor oil packs on the gall bladder area. Place castor oil in a pan and heat, but do not boil it. Dip a piece of cheesecloth or other white cotton material into the oil until the cloth is saturated. Apply the cloth to the affected area and cover it with a piece of plastic that is larger in size than the cotton cloth. Place a heating pad over the plastic and use it to keep the pack warm. Keep the pack in place for one-half to two hours, as needed.
The recommended treatment for gallstones is usually surgical removal of the gall bladder. If symptoms are not too severe, this is usually first approached through what is called laparosopic surgery, a one day procedure where four small incisions are placed in the abdomen. A carbon-dioxide inflation is placed into the area to allow it to expand and a small tube with a camera at the end is inserted which sends a transmission back to a television monitor so that doctors can view the area. A clamp is placed on the cystic duct and the gall bladder is removed. After the procedure, you may go home the same day and return to normal activity within a week or two.
Sometimes, if there is a need to remove the gall bladder immediately, a cholecystectomy is required. In this case, a large incision is placed in the area of the liver and gall bladder and the organ is clamped cut and removed. This may require a five-day hospital stay, and allow returning to normal activity after three to six weeks of home recovery.
Sometimes, while performing laparoscopic surgery, doctors will assess what needs to be done and switch to performing a cholecystectomy. Both these procedures take about an hour and general anesthesia is administered prior to any surgery. Tell your doctor if you know you have any sensitively to any form of anesthesia. Sometimes after the operations you may experience some gas and/or flatulence along with diarrhea while the body is seeking to normalize itself.
However, if gallstones show up on an x-ray but do not cause symptoms, there is no need for surgery. A gallstone may slip into a common bile duct. If this occurs, extraction or surgical removal may be necessary. If the stone is large enough, it can be removed. This works in single occurrences and with medications to prevent others from forming. Sometimes stones in the gallbladder can be fragmented or dissolved without surgery, using drugs. Sound waves were thought to be useful but they are no longer considered helpful as surgeons cannot pinpoint the stones as accurately as needed in too many cases. Bile acid preparations used to dissolve stones work very slowly and can be used only on small stones.
It is well-known that certain psychological profiles favor certain diseases and conditions. According to Louise L. Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, the attitudes that promote gallstones are bitterness, hard thoughts, condemnation and pride. She recommends this daily affirmation:
“There is joyous release of the past. Life is sweet and so am I.”
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