Chapter 2.15 – Gallstones
In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of Gallstones.
The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.
This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available as a download on this website.
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download
Table of Contents
- ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
- CONVENTIONAL APPROACHES
- Treatment and Management
- Nonsurgical Treatment
- Issues & Answers
- BIO-ENERGETIC THERAPIES
BODYWORK AND MOVEMENT THERAPIES
- Nutrition and Supplements
- Enzymatic Therapies
- Rainforest and Western Herbs
- Rainforest Herbs
- Western Herbs
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Essential Oils
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
- Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Hatha Yoga Postures
- PRODUCT ORDERING INFORMATION
- GLOSSARY OF TERMS
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Almost 20 million Americans have gallstones. The pain can be as intense as childbirth, and is usually felt as a steady pain deep inside the ride side of the abdomen. Rapid weight changes can cause gallbladder problems.
Most stones consist primarily of cholesterol and are located in the gallbladder. Gallstones may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. In many people, gallstones remain asymptomatic. But in others, stones become symptomatic, causing pain or other symptoms that may necessitate surgical removal of the gallbladder.
Sudden abdominal pain is usually the first sign of a gallstone attack. The pain may be as mild as indigestion or quite intense and may last for several hours. A gallstone attack makes some people vomit or feel nauseated. One of the clues that a gallstone is the cause of pain is that most people experience no discomfort between attacks. Gallstone pain typically sends people to the doctor long before serious complications occur. Still, sometimes gallstones lead to:
- inflammation and/or infection of the gallbladder or pancreas;
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin).
The pear-shaped gallbladder lies between the liver and the small intestine. Several ducts, or small tubes, connect these organs. The liver produces bile, which flows through the ducts into the gallbladder for storage. After food has been eaten, the gallbladder sends bile to the small intestine, which helps the body digest fats. Sometimes, solid components of bile, particularly cholesterol or calcium, separate out of the liquid, forming crystals that can accumulate and eventually form gallstones. Individual gallstones may float into the opening of the gallbladder and lodge in the cystic duct, blocking the flow of bile. This causes pain until the stone shifts out of the way. Small gallstones may pass out of the gallbladder and move harmlessly through the ducts and into the intestines. Less frequently, a stone blocks the common bile duct, causing jaundice and chills and fever. Complications involving the liver and pancreas can develop if treatment is delayed. If symptoms, risk factors and/or physical exams suggest gallstones, the doctor may use an ultrasound test to confirm the diagnosis. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the gallbladder and its contents.
It is important to remember that many people have gallstones that are not the cause of their pain. Tests may be conducted to rule out other medical conditions--such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, a kidney stone or an inflamed pancreas--that can cause pain similar to that of gallstones. Unless complications have already developed, even gallstones that are symptomatic may not require immediate treatment. In such cases, the doctor may suggest you first follow a low-fat diet to try to minimize attacks. You may be asked to keep track of what you eat and when the pain occurs, so you can determine whether certain types of food trigger attacks. Many people find that fatty or fried foods, like french fries or fried chicken, cause painful attacks. Surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most common treatment for symptomatic gallstones; however, some people are not candidates for surgery and may wish to avoid it. If stones are small enough, they may be dissolved over time.
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Glossary of Terms
- Without any obvious symptoms.
- A yellowish-brown digestive fluid made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder; aids in the digestion of fats.
- A mineral found throughout the body, including in bile, where it may help to form gallstones; such stones are called pigments stones because they also contain bilirubin, a reddish pigment found in bile.
- A fatty solid found throughout the body, including the bile, where it may solidify to form gallstones; cholesterol stones account for more than 85% of all gallstones.
- Common Bile Duct
- A tube that carries bile from both the liver and the gallbladder to the small intestine.
- Cystic Duct
- A tube that connects the gallbladder to the common bile duct.
- A procedure in which a flexible viewing instrument is passed through the mouth into the digestive tract; usually performed by a gastroenterologist.
- A pear-shaped sac, 3-4 inches long, located between the liver and the small intestine; stores bile until ingestion of food triggers its release.
- Solid, rounded masses that form in the gallbladder when cholesterol or calcium solidifies out of bile; also known as biliary calculi.
- A physician specializing in digestive disorders.
- A yellowing of the skin caused by a buildup of bile in the body.
- Laproscopic Cholecystectomy
- The surgical removal of the gallbladder using a miniature video camera and other small instruments inserted through tiny abdominal incisions.
- Open Cholecystectomy
- A traditional surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder through an abdominal incision of 4-6 inches.
- Producing pain or other symptoms.
- A diagnostic procedure that uses sound waves to produce images of internal organs.
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