5 Top Natural Gallstone Treatments You Need To Know About
Gallstones have a lot in common with kidney stones. They are both hardened deposits that can cause an extraordinary amount of pain. But there are also quite a few differences between the two stones.
One of the big differences is how they are treated.
With kidney stones, most of the time they pass on their own and you feel better within a few days or a few weeks. Rarely do they need surgical intervention.
Gallstones are a different story.
We are going to go though everything you need to know about gallstone treatment options. What’s common, what options you have, and what natural treatments are available to you.
Before we get into natural gallstone treatments, take a few minutes to watch this Gallbladder 101 video to fully understand what we are talking about:
Do You Even Need Gallstone Treatment?
Just because you may have a gallstone does not necessarily mean you need treatment. If the gallstone is not bothering you, it does not have to be removed.
But you should always be on alert. As soon as there are any complications (like pain), you should start considering your gallstone treatment options. Also, if you have certain medical conditions like diabetes or cirrhosis, treatment may be necessary for you whether or not you are feeling any symptoms.
So if you know that you have gallstones, but they are not bothering you now, your focus should be on preventing complications and preventing new gallstones from forming.
The Go-To Treatment For Gallstones: Surgery
Typically, when gallstones are becoming a problem for somebody, a doctor will remove the gallbladder. Though the gallbladder is a useful organ, it is not necessary for a healthy, happy life. You can still digest food without an issue. The one potential side effect is heightened diarrhea. But many times, the body adjusts and the diarrhea goes away.
And if this surgery is the right choice for you, you are certainly not alone – around 750,000 Americans will have their gallbladders removed each year.
This is a fairly simple surgery that is done laparoscopically. Only a few small cuts are made, then the laparoscope is inserted, and the gallbladder can be removed. Expect to be put under general anesthetic.
Another form of surgical intervention is far less common, but does not end up with a gallbladder removal. An Endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (or ERCP for short) will widen the bile duct so the stone can pass on its own.
Another Gallstone Treatment Option: Medication
If your doctor does not feel you need your gallbladder removed – or if you are not a great candidate for surgery – doctors may try to give you medication for dissolving gallstones.
But I want you to be aware that this tends to only work if the gallstone is fairly small and does not contain calcium.
And there are some issues with these pills.
They are not 100% effective and most people have to take them for years. Once you stop taking the pill, a gallstone can come at anytime. (It is extremely important for me to mention that these pills can make oral contraceptives ineffective. So if you are on the pill, make sure to use other methods of birth control.)
Your Natural Treatment Alternative: Chanca Piedra
If surgery is not your #1 option (and your doctor does not believe surgery is absolutely necessary), you do have a natural alternative to help cleanse your gallbladder: the herb Chanca Piedra.
The English translation of Chanca Piedra is “stone breaker.” Often used to help dissolve and relieve kidney stones, Chanca Piedra is also used to help with gallstones.
Throughout history, this herb native to the Amazon has been used to help break down stones so they can dissolve and pass with ease. Modern science is now backing up this claim.
Aside from helping with the stones themselves, Chanca Piedra is a great support to the gallbladder (as well as many other organs.) There are no known side effects, so it is a safe supplement to try before moving on to more invasive options.
Other Natural Gallstone Options
Understanding the natural ways to deal with gallstones is important for anybody who has had one in the past and did not remove their gallbladder – and for anybody who feels they may be susceptible to gallstones in their future.
Here are some all-natural ways to keep gallstones at bay:
1. Keep A Healthy Weight: Exercise and Diet
Here are some of the overall diet guidelines for those worried about gallstones. Not only will they ward off gallstones, they will also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is another important factor:
- Drop the cholesterol
- Eat plant-based proteins over animal proteins
- Get plenty of fiber
- Limit your intake of sugar
- Stay well-hydrated
Exercise also helps you avoid gallstones. Two studies (one looked at men, the other looked at women) showed that a sedentary lifestyle lead to a large increase in gallstones. By simply adding some extra exercise and movement to your day, you are already preventing the stones from forming.
This does not mean you should jump on the fad diets for rapid weight loss. Studies have shown that losing too much weight (over three pounds each week) could actually have the opposite effect and increase the odds of developing gallstones.
2. Get Rid Of Inflammation: Turmeric
One helpful way to ease inflammation in the body is to take turmeric. You can cook with it, turn it into a milky tea, or simply buy it in capsule form. As an added bonus, one of turmeric’s active compounds – curcumin – can “increase the solubility of your bile” and discourage gallstones.
3. Take Extra Vitamin C
One of the simplest steps you can take in dealing with gallstones naturally is to up your vitamin C intake.
One study looked at 2,129 subjects between the ages of 18 and 65. 8.2% of those not taking a vitamin C supplement developed a gallstone. But for those who took vitamin C supplements, the prevalence dropped to only 4.7%.
4. Drink ACV
Apple cider vinegar is often hailed as the “savior” liquid for many health conditions – and gallstones are one of them. Due to its alkalizing properties, ACV can be a big help to those who want to get rid of or prevent gallstones.
Find an organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that still has the “mother” – the cloudy, stringy substance at the bottom of the bottle. Then add a teaspoon or two to a tall glass of water.
5. Keep Taking That Chanca Piedra
I want to revisit Chanca Piedra for one moment. This supplement is not only something you can reach for when you are in the midst of dealing with a gallstone, it is also something you can take to prevent new ones from popping up.
If you have already dealt with gallstones, have some now, or feel you are likely to get one in the future, adding this supplement to your daily routine is an all-natural option.
Dealing With Gallstones
Now you have a great idea of what treatment options are available to you if gallstones become an issue. You can rest assured that the most common treatment, surgery, is actually considered safe and easy.
But if you do not want surgery to be your go-to option, you can also be hopeful that there are plenty of all-natural ways to deal with gallstones.