Do gallstones go away?
Can you dissolve gallstones?
Your treatment plan for gallstones depends on how the symptoms are affecting your daily life. If you don't have any symptoms, active monitoring is often recommended. This means you won't receive immediate treatment, but you should let your GP know if you notice any symptoms. As a general rule, the longer you go without symptoms, the less likely it is that your condition will get worse.
Read more about: Gallbladder surgery side effects
Surgery to remove the gallbladder, called cholecystectomy, is one of the most common operations performed on adults in the United States. The gallbladder is not an essential organ, which means you can live normally without a gallbladder.
A health care professional will usually give you general anesthesia NIH external link for surgery. Once the surgeon removes your gallbladder, bile flows out of your liver through the hepatic duct and common bile duct and directly into the duodenum, instead of being stored in the gallbladder.
Surgeons perform two types of cholecystectomy:
Medications to dissolve gallstones
Medications you take by mouth may help dissolve gallstones. But it may take months or years of treatment to dissolve your gallstones in this way, and gallstones will likely form again if treatment is stopped.
Sometimes medications don't work. Medications for gallstones aren't commonly used and are reserved for people who can't undergo surgery.
What is the most common treatment for gallstones?
The usual treatment for gallstones is surgery to remove the gallbladder. Doctors sometimes can use nonsurgical treatments to treat cholesterol stones, but pigment stones usually require surgery. cholecystectomy is one of the most common operations performed on adults.
Read more about: Cancer treatment in Iran
Can you get rid of gallstones without surgery?
Although there is no reliable evidence that these remedies work, the following treatments are popular natural alternatives to medical interventions.
One of the most common treatments for gallstones is a gallbladder cleanse. Proponents of this method claim it breaks down the gallstones and flushes them from the body. A 2009 paper states that although scientific evidence to support a gallbladder cleanse is minimal, anecdotal reports indicate it may be helpful for some people.
A gallbladder flush involves consuming a blend of apple juice, herbs, and olive oil for 2 to 5 days. Recipes vary, and some procedures allow a person to eat food while others do not.
This diet may be unsafe people with diabetes or blood sugar problems, who do not consume solid food during the cleanse.
Some people believe that apple juice softens gallstones, allowing them to be excreted from the body with ease.
One cleanse involves mixing apple cider vinegar into the apple juice before drinking it. Although there is limited evidence to suggest that apple cider vinegar does have some health benefits, no studies support its use as a treatment for gallstones.
Furthermore, people with diabetes, stomach ulcers, and hypoglycemia should be wary of consuming large amounts of fruit juice.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, dandelion has been used historically to treat gallbladder, liver, and bile duct problems. Supporters believe that the bitter roots may stimulate bile production in the gallbladder.
People usually drink dandelion teas or coffees to remove their gallstones. However, there is no evidence to suggest this is beneficial. Furthermore, people with gallstones, gallbladder problems, or kidney problems should speak with a doctor before consuming dandelion.
A range of dandelion teas and supplements are available to purchase in health stores and online.
Milk thistle has been used medicinally to detoxify the liver for centuries. While it may support the liver and gallbladder, there are no studies evaluating its effects on gallstones.
A person can take milk thistle as a tonic or in a capsule or tablet form. People with diabetes, ragweed allergies, or a history of hormone-sensitive cancers should discuss the use of milk thistle with their doctor.
Milk thistle is available to buy in health stores and online.
Lysimachiae herba or gold coin grass is a popular traditional Chinese remedy for gallstones. Research suggests it may be beneficial for treating or preventing cholesterol gallstones.
The supplement is available as a powder or liquid.
Read more about: Bladder cancer treatment
Extracts of artichoke have been shown to stimulate bile production and aid both gallbladder and liver function.
However, there is no research specifically focusing on the effects of artichoke on gallstones.
Globe artichokes can be cooked and prepared in various ways. But the research is based on artichoke extract supplements, which are probably more potent than the vegetables.
It is essential to speak with a doctor before taking artichoke extract because it may cause a gallbladder attack if a bile duct is obstructed.
Psyllium is a soluble fiber derived from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant. Research has shown it to benefit the heart, pancreas, and other areas of the body.
A very old study found that psyllium husks protected hamsters from the formation of cholesterol gallstones. A more recent study, from 1999, supports these findings.
Castor oil packs are a popular remedy among naturopaths and natural living enthusiasts for a wide variety of complaints.
To apply a castor oil pack, soak a cloth in warm castor oil and place on the abdomen. Cover with a towel. Some people choose to place a heat source, such as a hot water bottle or heating pad, on top. Leave the pack on the abdomen for up to an hour.
There are no scientific studies to support the use of this treatment for gallstones.
Acupuncture may relieve gallstone symptoms, although the research is very limited.
In one study on 60 people with cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation), acupuncture was found to alleviate back pain, stomachache, and nausea, while also regulating the volume of the gallbladder.
It should be noted that this research does not look specifically at gallstones, and it may only relieve symptoms, rather than helping people to pass the stones.
Read more about: Laparotomy
Some yoga poses are said to cure gallstones, although no studies support this claim. The following poses are believed by some to be beneficial for people with gallstones:
Read more about: cholecystectomy complications
Do gallstones go away?
Some gallstones may dissolve and go away with intervention while others need more extensive treatment. Gallstones may not always cause symptoms, and in those cases, dietary changes may be all that is needed to prevent complications. People can live normal lives without a gallbladder.
Read more about: Duodenal Switch vs. Gastric Sleeve
Can you dissolve gallstones?
If your gallstones are small and don't contain calcium, it may be possible to take ursodeoxycholic acid tablets to dissolve them.
But these aren't prescribed very often because:
Side effects of ursodeoxycholic acid are uncommon and are usually mild. The most commonly reported side effects are feeling sick, being sick and itchy skin.
Ursodeoxycholic acid isn't usually recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Sexually active women should either use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, or a low-dose oestrogen contraceptive pill while taking ursodeoxycholic acid, as it may affect other types of oral contraceptive pills.
Ursodeoxycholic acid tablets may occasionally be used to prevent gallstones if it's thought you're at risk of developing them.
For example, ursodeoxycholic acid may be prescribed if you have recently had weight loss surgery, as rapid weight loss can cause gallstones to grow.
Read more about: Gastric banding surgery pros and cons
According to Harvard Health Publications, 80 percent of gallstones are made of cholesterol. The other 20 percent of gallstones are made of calcium salts and bilirubin.
It’s not known exactly what causes gallstones to form, though there are some theories.
Having too much cholesterol in your bile can lead to yellow cholesterol stones. These hard stones may develop if your liver makes more cholesterol than your bile can dissolve.
Bilirubin is a chemical produced when your liver destroys old red blood cells. Some conditions, such as liver damage and certain blood disorders, cause your liver to produce more bilirubin than it should. Pigment gallstones form when your gallbladder can’t break down the excess bilirubin. These hard stones are often dark brown or black.
Your gallbladder needs to empty its bile to be healthy and to function properly. If it fails to empty its bile content, the bile becomes overly concentrated, which causes stones to form.
Read more about: Diagnostic laparoscopy for gynecology
Gallstones Risk factors
Factors that may increase your risk of gallstones include:
Read more about: SGPT(ALT)