Steps To Reduce Gallbladder Symptoms
In today’s modern age where processed foods abound, gallbladder symptoms and dysfunction are extremely common. However, they vary in their frequency and severity depending on the nature and extent of the problem.
The most common gallbladder symptoms are:
- Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen or in the center, just below the breastbone.
- Pain that radiates between the shoulder blades or just under the right shoulder
- Nausea, indigestion, bloating and vomiting
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Chalky or light colored stools
- Dark urine
- Fever and chills
If pain is extremely intense and/or accompanied by a high fever or jaundice-like symptoms, medical care should be sought immediately.
However, for those who experience mild and temporary pain, there are steps to take to keep symptoms in check and reduce the most frequent cause of gallbladder pain- gallstones.
One of the key factors, directly related to a high risk of gallstone formation is obesity and being overweight. A healthy and sensible diet is often cited as the best way to prevent gallstones. If you are experiencing pain after eating, it is advisable to work toward a healthy weight by consuming less fried, sugary and processed foods, which are rich in unhealthy fats. Instead, consuming fiber-rich foods like raw fruit, vegetables, cooked beans and peas, whole-grain cereals and bran, along with healthy fats such as fish oil, coconut oil and olive oil, are highly beneficial for the health of the liver and gallbladder.
Through reducing the number of calories consumed, along with increased regular physical activity, a healthy weight can be achieved. Studies have found that exercising for even 45 minutes a day can reduce the risk of developing gallstones and the development of more serious gallbladder symptoms. However, once the goal weight is achieved, it is important to continue following a healthy diet and exercise plan to maintain results.
Although it is important for overweight people to lose weight, it is equally as important to go slow and steady. Rapid weight loss caused by crash diets can actually increase the risk of developing gallstones.
This is because as the body metabolises fat during times of rapid weight loss, it triggers the liver to secrete extra cholesterol into the bile, potentially causing the development of gallstones.
It is also recommended that you avoid skipping meals or fasting when attempting to reduce gallbladder issues. When a meal is skipped, bile tends to build up in the gallbladder until the next time you eat. Especially in the case of fasting, the bile fluid remains in the gallbladder for an extended period and can lead to the development of crystals that go on to form stones. Consuming small meals during the day, at regular times, one can minimize the risk of gallstones because the gallbladder will regularly contract and flush contents out.
Recent studies also show that a moderate intake of caffeine can help to prevent the formation of cholesterol gallstones. The Harvard researchers have suggested the caffeine in coffee may have the effect of triggering gallbladder contractions to discourage the build up of sludge and gallstones.
Another step you can take if you experience gallbladder symptoms is to make a conscious effort to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. This will help to dilute the bile and reduce gallbladder sludge that leads to symptoms.