The gallbladder is located under your liver and is shaped like a pear. It stores bile that helps the body in breaking down the food fat. It is a sensitive organ and that’s why it is important that you maintain a healthy diet packed with nutrients to keep it in good health. Some food not only protects your gallbladder but also promotes good health. While some can increase problems like gallstones and inflammation. In this article, we are listing some gallbladder problems, their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, etc along with foods to include in your diet and avoid.
List of Foods to eat when your gallbladder is acting up:
1. Plant-based food
This list includes bell peppers, dark and leafy greens, tomatoes, beans, citrus fruits, etc. Plant-based food is a good source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
2. Lean protein
Lean protein means poultry, fish, low or zero fat dairy, seeds, nuts, soy and related products, beans, legumes, dairy alternatives, etc. These foods will put less stress on your gallbladder, allowing it time to heal.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc are high in fiber. A high fiber diet reduces the accumulation of gallbladder sludge, resulting in reduced occurrence of gallbladder diseases.
4. Unsaturated fats
Omega 3 and other unsaturated fats can protect the gallbladder. Go for cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, fish oil, flaxseed oil, etc.
Moderate consumption of coffee can help in protecting gallbladder function.
Calcium supports the health of your gallbladder. Dark and leafy vegetables, low-fat dairy, fortified dairy alternatives, sardines, orange juice, etc are high in calcium.
7. Vitamin C, Magnesium, Folate
Vitamin C is found abundantly in red and green peppers, citrus food, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberry, etc. For magnesium opt for cashews, almonds, spinach, beans, soy milk, potato, avocado, yogurt, rice, banana. And some folate-rich foods are beef liver, spinach, fortified cereals, black-eyed peas, asparagus, etc.
List of Foods to avoid with gallbladder issues:
1. Refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates increase the risk of gallbladder diseases. Limit or avoid white flour, added sugars, sweeteners, premade baked goods, including cookies and cakes, refined grains, candy, and chocolate, etc.
2. Unhealthy fats
Food with unhealthy fats is fatty and red meats, processed meat and food, fried food, full-fat dairy, fast food, premade salad dressings, premade sauces, premade baked goods and desserts, ice cream, candies, chocolate, etc. This food adversely affects the health of your gallbladder.
Diet after gallbladder removal/surgery
For a few days or weeks after your gallbladder surgeries, you will have to be on strict diet control. Start with soft and bland foods like bananas, white rice, boiled potatoes, etc, and gradually ease into your diet.
Start with low-fat foods, lean protein, etc, avoid greasy fatty food. Instead of the whole dairy, go for low-fat or fat-free dairy products, otherwise, you can experience severe diarrhea. Slowly add the fibers to your diet. Sudden indulging in too much fiber can bulk up your stool in case of diarrhea along with causing cramps and gas. And it is important to keep yourself hydrated.
Gallbladder problems, causes, symptoms & diagnosis
Here are some gallbladder problems you might come across due to various reasons.
When various substances like cholesterol, calcium, bile salts, etc from bile or bilirubin from blood turn into hard particles and blocks the bile ducts and the passage to the gallbladder, gallstone develops. They can also form when the gallbladder doesn’t completely empty itself often enough. The stones can vary in size, ranging from the size of sand grains to the size of a golf ball.
Gallstones can be caused by obesity, diabetes, old age, medicines with estrogen, family history, conditions that affect the absorption of nutrition in the body, cirrhosis and other liver diseases, etc. Females are more susceptible to this problem.
- Sudden and quickly developing intense pain in your upper right abdomen or in the center, just below the breastbone.
- Pain in the back, between your shoulder blades and the right shoulder.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Abdominal Ultrasound
- Endoscopic Ultrasound
- Blood Tests
Apart from gallstones, Cholecystitis is yet another commonly occurring problem in the gallbladder.
Gallstones, tumors, and other illnesses can cause acute Cholecystitis. After several Acute Cholecystitis attacks, the gallbladder can shrink, in turn, losing the ability to store and release bile. This causes Chronic Cholecystitis.
- Abdominal Pain
- Blood tests
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Endoscopic ultrasound
When gallstones get lodged in the neck of the gallbladder or bile ducts, there’s no way for the bile to exit. And that can inflame or distend the gallbladder.
Choledocholithiasis can be caused by too much cholesterol, high bilirubin, low levels of bile salts, liver cirrhosis, infections of biliary tracts, hereditary blood disorders, etc.
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Clay-colored stool
- Transabdominal Ultrasound
- Abdominal CT Scan
- Endoscopic Ultrasound
- Liver Function Test
- Complete Blood Count
4. Sclerosing cholangitis
Continued damage to the bile duct and ongoing inflammation can cause scarring, also known as Sclerosing cholangitis.
The exact causes are still unclear or unknown.
Usually, there are no symptoms, but you might experience
- Discomfort in the upper abdomen
Usually, Sclerosing cholangitis patients are asymptomatic, the problem is diagnosed by the abnormal liver blood test results. Formal diagnosis is made by an MRI or an X-ray where a dye injection is used in bile ducts. This X-Ray process is called cholangiography.
Any part of your body is vital to your health, even as tint a thing as the gallbladder. Although, you can live without it, doesn’t mean you should. If you are feeling continuous discomfort in your abdomen, and nausea and vomiting are persistent, visit your doctor without delay. And strictly follow the diet they refer to you.
A heated compress can relieve the pain of bile buildup and calm the spasm. You can use the wet warm towel on the affected area for 10-15 mins or go for a hot water bottle or a heating pad.
A gallbladder attack can start suddenly with a gnawing pain that keeps getting worse. It can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before the pain subsides.
The gallbladder is on the right side, so lying down on the left will put less pressure on it, thus allowing the bile to flow freely.
Yes, you can. Bananas are an excellent balanced and wholesome diet full of fiber and easy on the gallbladder.