Can I cleanse my gallbladder?

All of these cleansing questions make me want to put a pillow over my head and not come out! Just kidding :)

Most people do not know that they have gallstones because they are “silent” and painless. The unlucky people who suffer from the very painful symptomatic gallstones, hope and wish for a simple cure-all. It would be wonderful if there was a simple “cleanse” to prevent gallstone formation, but sadly there are no gallbladder flushes or cleanses that have been proven to break up, or eliminate gallstones.

MedicineNet.com

Gallstone Formation Risk Factors:

  • Obesity: People that are obese produce high levels of cholesterol; this leads to the production of bile containing more cholesterol than it can dissolve. When this happens, gallstones form.
  • Rapid Weight Loss: People who lose more than 3 pounds per week may have a greater risk of developing gallstones than those who lose weight at slower rates. Weight loss dieting causes cholesterol level to increase and the amount of bile salts to decrease. Also, following a diet too low in fat, or going long periods without eating, may decrease gallbladder contractions. Without gallbladder contractions, gallstones form.
  • Weight Cycling: People who weight cycle have a higher risk for gallstones than people who maintain their weight loss. The rise in cholesterol levels during the weight loss phase may be responsible.

Some people rely heavily on these “cleanses” that include drinking a concoction of apple juice, lemon juice, and olive oil to eliminate gallstones. Many people swear by these flushes because they have subsequent bowel movements that include small round objects thought to be gallstones. However, the objects are actually the result of the olive oil mixing with bile, the fluid in the gallbladder that digests fat.

What’s the best way to prevent gallstones? Eat a well-balanced,  high-fiber diet and maintain a healthy weight. Is that too much to ask? :)

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