A healthy liver can give you a boost in energy and a painless menstrual cycle. But how’s your gallbladder doing? In this post, we’ll explore options for natural gallbladder pain relief without surgery.
Signs of gallbladder discomfort
Gallbladder discomfort can be hard to pinpoint.
The signs of gallbladder pain can vary by person and mimic other health issues, such as a heart attack. To further complicate matters, there are several different gallbladder issues that cause symptoms.
For example, a problem can develop at any of the ducts connecting the gallbladder to surrounding organs like the liver, the duodenum, or the pancreas. Usually, problems arise when gallstones cause a blockage or when inflammation of the surrounding tissues blocks any of the involved ducts.
Signs of gallbladder issues include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the right shoulder
- Sweating, fever, and chills (may indicate an accompanying infection)
- Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin
- Unusually light-colored stools from the lack of bile
- Unusually dark-colored urine
- Pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades
- Tenderness in the center of the abdomen below the sternum
- Soreness in the upper right area of the abdomen.
Gallbladder pain can vary from mild and intermittent to sudden and severe. It can also radiate to other parts of the body.
What does a gallbladder attack feel like?
A gallbladder attack is a period of intense, gut-piercing pain. When it happens, you might feel it begin around the upper-right side of the abdomen. The pain might spread to the back, between the shoulder blades, under the right shoulder, and even the groin or lower back.
You might also feel nauseous.
How long does a gallbladder attack last for?
A gallbladder attack can last for anywhere from 30 minutes to many hours and possibly even days, depending on the severity and cause.
How do you relieve gallbladder pain?
Non-surgical approaches to gallbladder pain relief focus on reducing inflammation until the stones pass and the attack resolves.
Try these simple home remedies for gallbladder pain relief:
- A heating pad or hot compress can help ease the pain and pressure.
- Peppermint is soothing, an antispasmodic, and known for helping with digestive issues. So, drinking peppermint tea can help relieve gallbladder pain. Likewise, a gentle abdominal massage with peppermint oil can also help.
- Magnesium is important for gallbladder function, especially emptying. Supplementing with it during an attack can help resolve gallbladder pain. Read about how to choose a good magnesium here.
- Serrapeptase is an effective anti-inflammatory enzyme. It can reduce inflammation of the gallbladder and surrounding tissues to ease the pain of an attack.
What foods are good to eat when your gallbladder is acting up?
Conventional medical advice for gallbladder treatment usually recommends a low-fat diet.
When you eat fat, it prompts the gallbladder to release bile, helping your body digest and use fat.
In the midst of a gallbladder attack, this advice may help ease the pain. But keep in mind that foods high in healthy fat are not the cause of gallbladder issues. In fact, intentionally eating a low-fat diet gets in the way of healthy gallbladder function and can contribute to the problem – rather than make it better.
Instead, drink liquids. During a gallbladder attack, liquids ease the demands on your digestive system, promote hydration, and improve nutrient availability. Think soups, bone broth, and green smoothies.
In addition, you should strive to eat a diet rich in enzymes, like those found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and especially fermented foods like sauerkraut.
The gallbladder serves an important function in the body, particularly in the digestion of fat and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. It primarily stores bile, which helps to emulsify fat and break it down.
With gallbladder removal, the body loses its ability to store bile and the path of bile from the liver to the small intestine is rerouted. But the liver continues to produce bile, which can build up.
And as it turns out, the altered flow of bile into the digestive system following gallbladder removal can affect digestion and impact the composition of microbes living in the gut.
Unfortunately, gallbladder removal does not always resolve the pain and issues experienced.
Gallstones can still form in the liver and bile ducts. By some reports, one-third of patients who have their gallbladder removed end up back in the doctor’s office with the same pain they had prior to surgery.
The Hulda Clark liver and gallbladder cleanse
Dr. Hulda Clark was a Canadian naturopath who specialized in developing safe and effective cleanses for the human body in order to combat the negative effects of parasites and pathogens.
Her liver and gallbladder cleanse is one of her shortest, easiest, and most effective cleanses.
To help open your channels of elimination, it’s recommended that you complete both Dr. Clark’s parasite cleanse and kidney cleanse before doing the liver and gallbladder cleanse. For best results, drink Dr. Clark’s liver support tea for 1-2 weeks before completing the cleanse and stop eating all fat the night before.
Depending on the state of the liver or gallbladder, you can repeat the cleanse up to five times with a rest of two weeks between each repetition.
For full instructions to complete the Hulda Clark liver and gallbladder cleanse, click here.
In between cleanses, it can be useful to use coffee enemas to keep the liver and gallbladder cleansed. By administering coffee as an enema, the palmitic acid and caffeine cause the bile ducts to dilate, allowing toxic bile and gallstones to be flushed out. Many people report seeing gallstones come out in their coffee enemas, as well as decreased bloating and gallbladder pain following coffee enemas.
Conventional therapy and drugs to dissolve gallbladder stones
When it comes to dissolving gallstones, there are a few options.
Conventional, non-surgical options include drugs like ursodiol or chenodiol. These medications thin the bile and allow gallstones to dissolve. However, it can take quite some time for them to work and they come with the risk of side effects like gastric distress, dizziness, cold and flu symptoms, chest and abdominal pain, skin disorders, and hair loss.
Commonly used to treat kidney stones, ultrasound shock-waves can also break up gallstones that are less than 2 cm in diameter. This option is available to only about 15% of gallbladder patients and has shown limited success in those who do qualify.
Injecting the solvent methyl tertiary-butyl ether into the gallbladder has been shown to rapidly and effectively dissolve gallstones, but it comes with some potentially serious side effects including burns and severe pain.
How to dissolve gallbladder stones naturally
Alternatively, there are natural options to dissolve gallstones that come with significantly less risk.
For example, malic acid and enzymes found in apple juice and apple cider vinegar have been found to dissolve gallstones.
Limonene found in lemon juice has also been shown to be helpful in dissolving gallstones.
Chanca piedra, an herb also known as stonebreaker, has been used for centuries in South America for its liver benefits and is known for its ability to dissolve gallstones and kidney stones. It works by stimulating bile secretion which in turn helps dissolve the gallstones. It is typically accompanied by other liver and gallbladder cleansing herbs, such as dandelion and yellow dock root, which help to open bile ducts and promote organ function to enhance the benefits of chanca piedra. We like this Stone Breaker tincture, as well as this well-rounded Stone Breaker supplement.
Digestive enzymes and gut support for gallbladder pain relief
A good digestive enzyme supplement that combines HCL and ox bile can help to reduce gallbladder symptoms. Ox bile helps to dissolve gallstones along with improving symptoms. HCL helps improve stomach acid levels which, in turn, stimulate the body’s production of bile which also helps to dissolve the stones.
We love this HCL + Enzymes supplement.
In addition, taking a good probiotic will assist in digestion and breakdown of foods, which in turn eases the burden on the gallbladder. Try this one.
You can get gallbladder pain relief without surgery!
While gallbladder pain affects a large percentage of folks and the cost to treat them conventionally is high, there are many natural home remedies for gallbladder pain and attacks.
From a shift in diet and the Hulda Clark cleanse to enzymes and herbal therapy, you have many gallbladder treatment options that go beyond a quick fix and give you deep, lasting support.