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Last Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Natural Ways to Treat Gallstones

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Dr. Deepti Yogeshwar0Ayurvedic Specialist
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What are Gallstones?

Gallstones are solid deposits of digestive fluid that may develop in the gallbladder. Cholesterol, bile pigments, calcium bilirubinate, and calcium carbonate make up their composition.

Types of Gallstones

  • Cholesterol Stones: This is the most common kind of gallstone and is caused by an excess of cholesterol in the bile. It can also happen if bile contains too little bile salts, which help break down the cholesterol. They are usually yellow-green in colour and made of hardened cholesterol.
  • Pigment Stones: These stones are made up of bilirubin, a waste product from red blood cell breakdown, and calcium salts. They are dark brown or black in colour and tend to be smaller than cholesterol stones. 

What are the signs and symptoms of Gallstones?

The following is a list of the most frequent symptoms of gallstones:

  • Abdominal pain: This condition may affect either side of the body and is often characterised as a cramping or squeezing feeling in the abdominal region. It is possible that it will be worse after eating, particularly a meal that is heavy in fat.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Gallstone pain can sometimes cause nausea and vomiting, as well as bloating and an increased feeling of fullness.
  • Heartburn: This is a burning sensation that may start in the chest and move up towards the throat or neck. It may be worse after eating.
  • Indigestion: Indigestion may cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including bloating, burping, pain in the stomach region, or a sense of fullness even after consuming just a little quantity of food.
  • Jaundice: This is when the skin and whites of the eyes appear yellowish in colour due to an increase in bilirubin levels in the blood. It may also cause dark urine and pale stools.
  • Fever: A fever may be present if an infection is present due to gallstones blocking the normal flow of bile from the gallbladder into the intestines.

What are possible complications of Gallstones?

  • Acute Cholecystitis: This is an inflammation of the gallbladder which can be caused by a blockage of the gallbladder or bile ducts due to gallstones.
  • Pancreatitis: This is an inflammation of the pancreas that may be caused by gallstones blocking the pancreatic duct.
  • Jaundice: This is a yellowing of the skin and eyes due to a buildup of bilirubin in the blood caused by blocked bile ducts due to gallstones.
  • Intestinal Obstruction: This occurs when a gallstone gets lodged in the small intestine or colon causing blockage which leads to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and bloating among other symptoms.

Natural Ways to Treat Gallstones

  • Panchakarma Therapy: Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation therapy that helps to flush out toxins from the body. This assists in decreasing the size of gallstones.
  • Abhayarishta: This Ayurvedic medicine is used to provide relief from gallbladder inflammation and spasm caused by gallbladder stones.
  • Lohasavam: This is a herbal decoction that helps in treating gallstones and other digestive disorders such as constipation, acidity, etc.
  • Kulathadi Choornam: It is helpful in reducing the size of gallstones and helps in its easy passage.
  • Punarnavasava: It helps to reduce inflammation in the liver caused by gallstones and also reduces pain associated with it.
  • Punarnavadi kashayam: It is a decoction used for treating abdominal pain caused due to gallstone obstruction of bile ducts.
  • Dasamoolarishta: This medicine helps in proper digestion and relieves symptoms associated with gallstones such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, etc.
  • Haritaki churna: Haritaki churna is made from dried haritaki fruit which has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammation associated with gallstones and also reduces its size gradually over time when taken regularly for long periods of time.
  • Guggulu Churna: Guggulu Churna is a herbal powder made from various herbs which are beneficial for treating gallbladder issues including gallstones by reducing their size over time when taken regularly for a certain period of time along with other Ayurvedic remedies.
  • Amruthotharam Kashayam: It is an herbal decoction that works to reduce inflammation in the liver caused by Gallstones and also promotes easy passage of stones out of the body when taken regularly over time.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Gallstones are often treated with apple cider vinegar. It can help break down the stones and reduce their size.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice has properties that can help break down gallstones and make them easier to pass.
  • Dandelion Root Tea: Dandelion root is an effective home remedy that can help dissolve gallstones and promote their removal from the body.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is another effective remedy for gallstones as it helps to flush out the stones from your system.
  • Ginger Root: Ginger root is another natural ingredient that can be used to help reduce gallstone symptoms such as pain, nausea, and indigestion.

If none of the aforementioned treatments work, you may want to consider surgery.

What are the surgical treatments for Gallstones?

  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: This is the most common and effective surgical treatment for gallstones. During this treatment, the gallbladder is extracted via small abdominal incisions. This alleviates the discomfort and symptoms linked with gallstones.
  • Open Cholecystectomy: This treatment requires a bigger abdominal incision to remove the gallbladder and any existing stones.It is usually used if laparoscopic surgery cannot be performed or if there are complications with laparoscopic surgery.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): This treatment is performed to find and remove stones from the bile ducts by inserting an endoscope into the stomach via the mouth or nose.
  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): This method utilises sound waves to break big stones into smaller fragments, which may subsequently be passed through the body naturally or extracted by endoscopy.

Best doctors to consult for Gallstones?

  • Gastroenterologist: A gastroenterologist is a type of doctor who specialises in diseases and conditions of the digestive system, including gallstones. They can help diagnose and provide treatments for gallstones, such as medications and/or surgery.
  • Surgeon: A surgeon can remove the gallbladder if necessary, which is a common treatment for more severe cases of gallstones. They will be able to provide detailed advice on any potential risks associated with the procedure, as well as provide information on recovery time and post-operative care.
  • Internist: An internist is a type of doctor who specialises in general internal medicine, which includes diagnosing and treating conditions related to the digestive system, such as gallstones.
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