Caring for your Gallbladder

You thoroughly enjoyed your big meal. The food was heavy but the wine and good company made it seem lighter. Before long there is pain in your upper abdomen and you feel nauseous. This seems to be happening more often and the pain is getting more intense.

You might be having gallbladder trouble.

According to WebMD, “the gallbladder itself is not essential.” It doesn’t take much searching on the internet to find that most allopathic doctors hold the same view, we don’t need a gallbladder.

I disagree.

I don’t believe my body came with unnecessary parts.

There are over 750,000 gallbladders surgically removed annually in the US. That’s three quarters of a million people losing their gallbladder every year.

Unfortunately, up to 1/3 of people who get their gallbladder taken out never resolve their symptoms; and in fact, those who have their gallbladder removed may suffer from a whole new set of symptoms like fat malabsorption and vitamin deficiencies after surgery.


What is a gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a four-inch hollow organ just below the liver in your upper right abdomen. The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile made by the liver. Bile is made from a combination of water, bile salts, fats, cholesterol and electrolyte chemicals that keep it slightly alkaline.

Bile helps break down fat from the food you eat. As food travels out of the stomach and into the small intestines, specialized cells release a hormone called CCK that signals the gallbladder to squeeze forcing the bile into the small intestines through a series of tubes called ducts. Bile is used to help digest fatty foods.

CCK stands for cholecystokinin which literally means bile sac mover.  Chole=bile, Cysto=sac, Kinin=mover.


Things can go wrong with a gallbladder. The most common problems are inflammation and gallstones. If gallstones slow or block the flow of bile from the gallbladder it can cause inflammation that results in symptoms of pain, nausea, vomiting, fever or the yellow tinted skin of jaundice. There are other less common diseases of the gallbladder, but stones are the number one culprit.

Over the last 3 decades, there has been a 20% increase in people with gallbladder disease. According to Dr. Thomas H Lewis of Brattleboro General Surgery, patients showing symptoms of gallbladder problems are younger than ever before. It is believed that high-fat diets contribute to the bile becoming over-saturated, causing gallstones to form. Rapid weight loss also increases the likelihood of gallstones.

Bile is produced by the liver, concentrated in the gallbladder and delivered through a common duct to the intestines. Once the gallbladder is removed, the ability to store bile in the gallbladder is lost, and bile continually flows through the bile ducts into the small intestine. The ability to emulsify, digest and absorb dietary fat is drastically reduced when the gallbladder is removed.


How can you keep your gallbladder healthy?

  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, lean protein and good fats like avocado.
  • Stay hydrated. Water is needed for bile production and dehydration will create thicker bile that becomes sluggish.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Manage weight without resorting to fad diets or rapid weight loss.
  • Get the proper amount of sleep.
  • Cleanse the gallbladder under the guidance of a natural health practitioner.


Energy of the gallbladder

All organs of the body are responsible not only for their anatomical function but for emotional issues as well. The gallbladder plays a role in our ability to have courage and take initiative. The word gall is used to describe not only bile but also a bitter feeling, boldness or audacity. People with a weak gallbladder are indecisive, timid and easily discouraged.

The gallbladder is located near the liver, but that doesn’t mean it is only limited to affecting that region of the body. In Chinese medicine, the gallbladder meridian runs up over the shoulders and back of the neck, around to the top of the head and forehead, and so the common tension headache is attributed to blockages within the gallbladder meridian.


If you are experiencing symptoms of an unhealthy gallbladder, already had your gallbladder removed, or don’t want either scenario then book a discovery session with Dr. Melanie Dunlap today. Click here for a free session.

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