My Natural Treatments and Remedies for Gallstones

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Filed Under: Digestive Health, Gallstones
Last Reviewed 04/17/2014

My Natural Treatments and Remedies for Gallstones

Find out how you can prevent and treat gallstones naturally

When you have a bad gallbladder, particularly one clogged with gallstones, it becomes extremely difficult to digest any fat in the diet, which can cause a wide variety of symptoms. There are, however, some natural remedies you can try to both treat and prevent the formation of gallstones.

Gallbladder Flush

To ensure a free flow of bile, both into and out of the gallbladder, you should clean this organ out with a gallbladder flush. It's simple to perform, but if you have gallstones or other gallbladder issues, you should check with your doctor first to make sure that any gallstones you have are not particularly large and calcified so that they wouldn’t be able to pass through the bile duct during the flush.

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High-Energy Shock Waves

First doctors established the technique of using a machine known as a lithotripter that uses high-energy shock waves to disintegrate kidney stones. The method was such a success that the same technique is now being used for gallstones. This is a great alternative to surgical removal of the gallbladder because it leaves you with your gallbladder intact. (Learn about how the removal of your gallbladder leads to impaired digestion.)

Also consider the difference in cost. Gallbladder surgery and hospital costs can run $8,000 and beyond, and hospital stays average 8.6 days plus additional recuperating time away from work. Using the $1 million gallstone lithotripter, the cost can be as low as $2,000. Check with your doctor if this procedure is available at your hospital.

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Vitamin C

According to researchers at the University Hospital Ulm in Germany, simply taking a little extra vitamin C daily can cut your risk of gallstones by nearly half. In an observational study of 2,129 patients, 4.7 percent of the participants that took vitamin C regularly developed gallstones. In the group that didn’t take extra vitamin C, gallstones developed in 8.2 percent of the patients.

Because this study involved dietary recall, in which subjects simply told the researchers whether they had taken vitamin C supplements, the exact amount needed to reduce your risk didn’t come out. The participants could have been taking anywhere from 500 mg to 5,000 mg daily. My usual recommendation of an additional 1,000 to 2,000 mg of C daily, however, should be enough.

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Exercise to Reduce Risk

One other protective factor noted in the study mentioned in the above tip "See What C Can Do," was regular leisure-time physical activity, which reduced the risk of developing gallstones by a third. While the study report didn't say exactly how much activity it would take to reach this effect, I'd suggest 20 to 30 minutes of moderate activity at least four times per week.

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More Dr. Williams Advice on Gallstones

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