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Gallstones (cholelithiasis)
Gallstones are solid particles that form from bile in the gallbladder. Bile is a fluid made by the liver to help in the digestion of fats. Bile is stored in the gallbladder until needed. When we eat a high-fat, high-cholesterol meal, the gallbladder contracts and injects bile into the small intestine via a small tube called the common bile duct. The bile then assists in the digestive process.

The stones form when the amount of cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile is high or pigment stones are formed most often in people with liver disease or blood disease, who have high levels of bilirubin or may be due to poor muscle tone that keep the gallbladder from emptying completely. The presence of residual bile may promote the formation of gallstones.

Gallstones are the most common cause of gallbladder disease. As the stones mix with liquid bile, they can block the outflow of bile from the gallbladder. They can also block the outflow of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. If the blockage persists, these organs can become inflamed. Inflammation of the gallbladder is called cholecystitis and inflammation of the pancreas is called pancreatitis thereby resulting in severe abdominal pain.

Untreated gallstone disease can become life-threatening, particularly if the gallbladder becomes infected or if the pancreas becomes severely inflamed.

DIETARY MANAGEMENT OF GALLSTONE

  • Avoid eating a fatty or greasy meal as it can precipitate the symptoms of gallstones.
  •  A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet can prevent symptoms of gallstones.
  • Diet should be reducing, with moderate amount of carbohydrates.
  • Diet should be rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  •   Fiber may prove beneficial in preventing symptoms of gallstone as it binds cholesterol and helps in its elimination from the body.

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