To understand diets for gallbladder problems it is essential to understand the function of the gallbladder as well as different types of gallbladder problems.
Function of the Gallbladder
The gallbladder is not a vital organ but it is an important organ and plays a role in digesting fat. This pear-shaped organ is located near the liver and the two work together. The liver creates bile which helps in the fat digestion process. The gallbladder then stores the bile and releases it into the small intestine to help digest foods that contain fat as needed. If the gallbladder is removed, the liver creates more bile when fat is introduced to the small intestine. However, without the gallbladder, digestion and absorption may be hampered. For people who have had their gallbladder removed, a special low fat diet is often required.
Types of Gallbladder Problems
Gallbladder disease affects about 15 percent of people over the age of 50 and gallbladder problems also tend show up more in obese people, people with high cholesterol and those who have gastrointestinal trouble. Probably the most well known gallbladder problem is gall stones and the second, but less known, is a gallbladder problem called cholecystitis.
Gallstones form for a number of reasons. They are often the result of too much cholesterol in the bile. Another possible reason contributing to the formation of gallstones is when the gallbladder takes too much water out of stored bile. Either way, when gallstones form, they can block bile ducts and interfere with the flow of bile which then can cause problems with digestion.
Cholecystitis is a gallbladder problem which strikes women more often than men. It can be linked to rapid drastic weight loss and may be the result of following fad diets such as a very low calorie diet plan (800 calories or less per day) or high protein liquid fasts. Cholecystitis can be painful and must be treated by a doctor or it can become life threatening.
Diets for Gallbladder Problems
Diets for gallbladder problems differ based on your specific needs and type of problem. Most often, the solution to gallbladder problems is a combination of diet and medical attention.
Diet for Cholecystitis
This particular gallbladder problem is due to inflammation of the gallbladder. This inflammation may block the flow of bible into the small intestine and cause pain, swelling and may even lead to infection.
The best way to avoid cholecystitis is to steer clear of quick-fix fad diets and to reach or maintain your ideal weight through a healthy diet plan. For mild cases of cholecystitis, the treatment most often recommended includes: bowel rest, fluids, intravenous antibiotics, and medication for pain. The diet most often used for people with cholecystitis is a low-fat diet, but this is only when food can be tolerated. If you suspect you may be suffering from cholecystitis, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor for a correct diagnosis and to discuss the right diet and medical treatments for your case.
Diet for Gallstones
Obesity increases the risk for gallstones and rapid, drastic weight loss also contributes to the risk of developing gallstones. It is best to reach your ideal weight with slow, steady weight loss through a healthy diet. Keep the weight off to avoid gallstones.If you do have gallstones, talk with your doctor about diet. Often a Mediterranean type diet is recommended. This includes:
- A variety of vegetables
- Variety of fruit
- Whole grains
- Low fat
Gallbladder problems should not be taken lightly. Often when these problems become serious your doctor will recommend removal. Because your gallbladder plays a role in digestion, diet can make a difference. Talk with your doctor regarding the gallbladder diet specific to your gallbladder problem and other health-related issues..