The gallbladder is a useful organ that collects bile and distributes it to the small intestine to aid in the digestion of fat. If there is too much cholesterol present in bile, gallstones can form. These stones can block the bile ducts that connect the gallbladder or other organs such as the liver or pancreas to the intestines. Blockage can cause pain, infection, and even death. Gallstones are usually treated with ERCP, a procedure that involves having an endoscope passed through the digestive system.
Unfortunately, ERCP errors are common, which can be further detrimental to health. Instead of waiting for gallstones to develop and worrying about relying on an ERCP to successfully treat the condition, be proactive in avoiding the development of gallstones and do the following.
Eat at Regular Intervals
When you miss meals or wait a long time in between meals to eat, bile builds up in the gallbladder, waiting to be used for digestion. Eating at regular intervals can help the gallbladder to release some of the bile, keeping a healthy flow that is instrumental in the prevention of gallstones. Eating healthy fats like fish and avocados has also shown to help the gallbladder work efficiently, which can prevent stones.
Make Sure Diet Includes Enough Fiber
A diet that includes adequate quantities of fiber has shown to help prevent gallstones from forming. However, this is only effective when fiber is obtained from healthy sources like leafy greens, beans, and fruit, rather than processed grains. Additionally, sugar has shown to contribute to the formation of gallstones, so processed grains that are high in sugar should be avoided.
Maintain a Healthy and Consistent Weight
Being overweight increases the risk of developing gallstones, but losing or gaining weight very quickly has shown to increase these risks even more. Try to maintain or obtain a healthy weight through natural means, by eating a varied diet that is low in sugar and high in nutrition. Exercising will help you to avoid gallstones by helping you to maintain a healthy weight and by keeping the digestive system functioning effectively so that the bile moves out of the gallbladder and through the digestive system regularly.
Consume Olive Oil
Consuming about two tablespoons of olive oil per day is particularly helpful in preventing gallstone formation. Olive oil helps to reduce the cholesterol levels in the gallbladder and in the blood. Areas where olive oil is used as a regular part of the diet have a notably lower incidence of gallstone development.
These tips can be helpful in preventing gallstone formation, but should not be used to treat gallstones. If you suspect that you may have gallstones, see a doctor immediately to minimize health risks.