Gallstones are small hard masses in the gallbladder made up of bile components or cholesterol. Most gallstones are small and therefore are able to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Larger gallstones can become lodged in the gallbladder and intestines, causing pain. There are treatments available for eliminating gallstones, such as removing them through surgery or dissolving them. Dissolving the gallstones can many times be achieved without complications.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Vitamin C
- Bile acid medications
- Prescription for ESWL procedure
Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. Water may help dissolve small gallstones, and it also causes urination which aids in ridding the body of gallstone promoting cholesterol. Aim for eight glasses per day, if you can tolerate it.
Incorporate more fibre into your diet. Fibre will help absorb fats and gallstone promoting cholesterol in your body. The more fibre you eat, the faster food and waste will pass through the body, lessening the time it takes for gallstones to form from cholesterol.
Increase your intake of vitamin C rich foods or consider taking supplements. Vitamin C can convert cholesterol into acidic bile products that help the gallbladder dissolve gallstones. Ask your doctor to recommend a brand of supplements and an appropriate dosage.
Magnesium supplements and coffee help dissolve gallstones. Coffee also stimulates the flow of the bile, which assists in the process of dissolving gallstones. A 240 mg magnesium tablet taken before you drink a cup of coffee may promote the dissolution of gallstones, providing that you follow the routine on a consistent basis. Ask your health care provider how long you should continue with the regimen.
Ask your doctor about taking a prescription bile acid medication. Taken daily, this medication can dissolve your gallstones within six months, although it may take longer. It is important to note, that bile acid medications may not be effective at all for gallstones.
Inquire about extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy or ESWL. This procedure utilises shock waves to break up or pulverise stones into tiny pieces that can easily be passed through the gastrointestinal system. This procedure is done on an outpatient basis.
Tips and warnings
- If you are taking a medication that contains magnesium, such as certain laxatives, do not take additional magnesium supplements to help dissolve your gallstones. Check the label of your over the counter medications to make sure they do not contain magnesium.
- If, after utilising the above steps, you experience pain in the upper right area of your abdomen, which may radiate to the back, notify your doctor immediately. This can indicate a gallbladder attack that requires prompt medical evaluation and treatment.
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