Should Gallstones Be Treated Naturally or Surgically?

Posted by Kim
Jan 26 2012

Did you make a little too much merry over the holidays and now are bent over in pain revisiting the idea of just what to do about your gallstones? The holidays, with their high fat foods, alcohol and stress, are a perfect storm for gallstones. 

If you are in a tizzy trying to decide whether or not to have surgery for your gallbladder pain, the myriad, often contradictory information that is available can be exhausting, especially when you consider that indecision, according to Chinese medicine, is a common personality trait of those who suffer gallbladder dis-ease and the formation of gallstones.

Chinese medicine also says that gallstones are ‘fossilized bits of aggression,’ borne of resentment over being unfairly assigned the role of decision maker.  So, rack up another bile green gumball in your pocket  every time you tell yourself,  “What I really wanted to say was…” or, “I should have said something when…,” or “…told her the way I feel but didn’t”
after interacting with your core relationships or significant others. If you are a Libra, the most indecisive sign in the zodiac, all the more unfortunate for you! Timidity comes with a price and maybe your gallstones are that poke in the gut reminding you to speak up for yourself.

SO, What Are You Going to Do?

Speaking of significant others, the gallbladder has a very enigmatic part to it called the Sphincter of Oddi, heretofore known as the SO.

The SO is a smooth muscle valve, located at the neck of the gallbladder and is thought to control the flow of bile and also act on motility. The SO, set right at the duodenum, with its shallow moon crater morphology and almost mollusk like appearance, is so subtle and unassuming (can you say ‘passive aggressive?’), medical doctors only a quarter century ago were still debating whether it was an actual anatomical part separate from the duodenal smooth muscle or not. You can read all about this fascinating argument over something that barely amounts to a ridge in the duodenal landscape here:

So, if doctors can’t even decide if the thing is real, how are you supposed to know whether or not to end your relationship with your gallbladder? If keeping it is causing you so much pain deciding to part ways may be the kindest thing you can do for yourself. On the other hand, once you cut it out of your life you may be losing a valuable ally; your gut instinct. As this very painful condition pinches, grinds and twists you far away from your comfort zone it presents an opportunity for you to pay close attention to what you can and cannot digest. Think of each bile green stone as being a piece of your own tongue you bit off every time you did not speak up for yourself. Bitter indeed!

Although gallstones and the digestive issues that cause them can be treated, quite effectively, with diet you may be so inconvenienced by the pain it may be worth it to have it removed.

Lastly, this heretic believes not only that information is power, but that at least 50% of pain is fear. The more you know about your condition, its origins, causes and symptoms, the less fearful of another attack you’ll be.

Here are some facts and ideas to help you decide:

The olive oil and lemon juice flush is among the most popular and reported effective natural remedies. There are dozens of recipes and suggested dosages. Learn more about flushing gallstones.

You might also try a strict diet of liver friendly foods including radishes, watermelon, dandelion root, burdock root, chia seeds, and sea veggies for several weeks to see if you can reduce the stones or halt their formation altogether.

More Foods for Liver & Gallbladder

The following are foods that support the liver, aid digestion or even help dissolve gallstones:

Apple cider vinegar, diluted in water, is an excellent overall tonic and body Ph balancer whose alkalizing properties can help dissolve gallstones. Pysllium—seeds, husks or powder—aid in digestion by bulking up your stool for more regular elimination. Burdock root is a superior detoxifier. Red clover, dandelion root and leaves, milk thistle, chia seeds and flaxseed are also very good. Experiment with dosage and frequency. When you find that happy medium you’ll know it. More foods that are excellent liver aids are garlic, beets (golden beets are best), grapefruit (high in Vitamin C and boosts liver enzymes), cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and lemons and limes. And, finally, green tea (catechins assist liver function).

Some of you may feel you have gone past the point of no return, that your gallstones are too entrenched to be cured naturopathically or you’ve run out of time to deal with the pain. Adaptogenic herbs can buy you some of that time back. Some of them are turmeric, which assists enzymes that flush away dietary carcinogens. Ashwaganda, also known as winter cherry or Indian ginseng, helps tonify the body, making it an excellent adaptogen for stress. Shilajit, or Mineral Pitch, works as a free-radical scavenger and increases the bio-availability of other herbs.

If you’ve considered everything and resolve that surgery is the best thing for you after all, do not  feel defeated. Congratulate yourself for all your research and careful consideration and slip into that paper gown with joy. Without all that pain distracting you, you can dance down that path of self-discovery in much quieter contemplation. Replace the groans with Ohms!

If you do have surgery, here are some pre- and post-op things you can do to make your procedure a success and your healing time speedy:

Shore up your bodies’ immunity before surgery by following the liver cleansing diet as many weeks before surgery as possible. Do not take any blood thinning supplements or drugs in the week prior to surgery. Anything containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) should be avoided. These include feverfew, garlic, ginger, gingko biloba, kava kava and Vitamin E. Meanwhile, pump up the B12, acidophilus, essential fatty acids (EFAs), grapeseed extract, magnesium, and Vitamin C. You may also want to consider consulting your astrology chart for the best surgery date.

After surgery Vitamin E internally, and after stitches are removed, Vitamin E oil and rosehip seed oil are excellent for reducing scars. A tea made of rosehips and green tea is a potent healer. For tissue repair nothing beats bromelain, Vitamin C and arnica.
For pain yarrow tea is sublime.

Happy decision making! Don’t you feel better already?

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