Has your doctor ever mentioned you have cholelithiasis? By this, they meant gallstones. Cholelithiasis, also known as gallstones, are pieces of solid materials that form in your gallbladder. For a dive into everything gallstones including gallstones low-fat diet, read on.
As it is, your gall bladder stores and releases bile made in the liver to help indigestion.
Bile, on the other hand, contains waste materials like cholesterol and bilirubin. These wastes are a result of your body breaking down red blood cells. These wastes are what forms gallstones.
These swellings range from as small as a grain of sand to as big as a golf ball! A whole golf ball! However, you may not know that you have them until they block a bile duct, forcing you to seek immediate medical attention.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 80% of people have asymptomatic gallstones where they don’t feel any pain until one of the bile ducts is blocked.
TYPES OF GALLSTONES
Gallstones come in two main types:
Pigment gallstones- These are dark in colour and are made of bilirubin
Cholesterol stones- They form the most common causes of gallstones, with almost 80%. They are yellow-green and are made of cholesterol.
SYMPTOMS OF GALLSTONES
The following symptoms are associated with gallstones:
You may feel pain in your belly, often on the right side under your rib.
Feeling pain in your right shoulder or back.
Cases of stomach upset
Other digestive problems such as heartburns, indigestion and gas
However, you need to seek immediate medical attention if you show the following symptoms of inflammation and infection:
Fever and chills
Yellow eyes or skin
Dark urine and light poop
Stomach pains that last for hours
CAUSES OF GALLSTONES
According to a piece on Harvard’s Women Health Watch, 80% of gallstones are usually made of cholesterol while the other 20% is made of calcium salts and bilirubin.
It is not exactly known how gallstones are formed, but experts have linked their formation to the following:
TOO MUCH CHOLESTEROL IN YOUR BILE
Too much cholesterol in your bile means that your liver is making more cholesterol than your bile can dissolve.
This situation can lead to cholesterol gallstones.
TOO MUCH BILURIN IN YOUR BILE
This is a chemical that is produced when your liver destroys worn-out red blood cells.
Some situations, such as damaged liver and certain blood conditions, may lead to your liver’s excessive bilirubin production.
From this, your gallbladder will not break down the excess bilirubin, leading to the formation of dark brown or black lamps in your gallbladder.
A fuller gallbladder will cause a high concentration of both cholesterol and bilirubin. Your gallbladder should often empty its contents so that it is free to take up its responsibilities. If this doesn’t happen, you risk having gallbladder stones.
RISK FACTORS FOR GALLSTONES
Most gallstones risk factors are diet-related. Also, others are incontrollable such as age, race, gender and family history.
WHAT IS GALLSTONES LOW FAT DIET?
Gallstones low fat diet is a diet that is low in fats and cholesterol and high in fibre.
Basically, since having high cholesterol levels in your bile is among the causes of the most common type of gallstones, it is only right if you consider foods low in cholesterol.
A gallstones low fat diet will help you lose weight and help reduce your cholesterol levels, preventing gallstones.
BEST FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU HAVE GALLSTONES
For a healthy gall bladder, include the following foods in your diet:
Bell peppers, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, sardines, fish and shellfish, low- fat dairy, nuts, lentils, tofu and milk.
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO GALLSTONES LOW FAT DIET
Eating a well-balanced diet is healthy for your gallbladder. Fruits and vegetables help reduce gallstones risks, especially because the latter is perfect for keeping your gallbladder in check.
Most of the foods highlighted above are either rich in Vitamin C, Calcium or B Vitamins which can all form part of your gallstones low fat diet.
Experts have also recommended that taking plant-based proteins comes in handy in forming your gallstones low fat diet. Foods such as lentils, tofu and beans are good examples of plant-based protein foods.
WHAT FOODS CAUSE GALLBLADDER ATTACKS?
The following are the foods to avoid if you are aiming for a healthier gallbladder:
Vegetable oils, peanut oil, refined white foods, foods high in fat and processed foods.
Avoiding the above- mentioned foods will protect your gallbladder against gallstones. The ones that put you at more risks are the high-fat foods.
Besides, processed foods that have been fried with vegetable oil and peanut oil are also dangerous. They are difficult to break down.
You should also stay clear of some lifestyle choices such as smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol as these too put you at high risk of developing gallstones.
HOW MANY GRAMS OF FAT CAN YOU EAT WITH GALLSTONES?
Consider going for normal portions of food with a fat intake of 25- 40 grams per day. From this, you will have 10- 20% of calories coming from the fats while the rest 80- 90% of calories will come from protein and carbohydrates. This will be much healthier.
Also, consider foods with high fibre and low fat. According to a piece in Mayo Clinic, you should go for foods with less than 3 grams of fat per serving. Increase your fibre gradually, starting with soluble fibres.
TREATMENT FOR GALLBLADDER PROBLEMS
This will largely depend on your specific kind of problem.
Initially, if your gallstones can pass, the doctor will give you pain medications to deal with the pain and ask you to go home. However, there will be a need for a follow-up, so stick to the dates your doctor asks you.
An abdominal scan is the safest and quickest way for your doctor to detect if you have gallstones.
Your doctor may prescribe an oral drug called ursodeoxycholic. It is used to dissolve the gallstones but only if they are 2 to 3 millimetres in size.
The medication may take longer to work. You may have to take them up to 2 years.
Take note that gallstones have a chance of returning once you stop the medication.
If the pains persist, or you report more attacks, you may need to check-in for a surgery.
The various surgical treatments include:
Cholecystectomy- This may be done with keyhole surgery or open surgery. It involves the removal of the entire gallbladder to cease the attacks.
ERCP- This one will have your doctor pass a long pipe with a camera from your mouth all the way to where the stones are formed. You will recover more quickly from this method technically because there is no cutting required.
Percutaneous cholecystostomy tube- This is a drainage surgery for the gallbladder. The tube is inserted via a small cut in your stomach. Extra bile and gallstones are then drained into a bag.
TIPS ON PREVENTING FURTHER GALLSTONES ATTACKS
Although gallstones can be hereditary, there are things you could do to prevent further attacks. These include:
Losing weight. Too much weight exposes your gallbladder to high levels of cholesterol. Ensure you watch your weight to prevent this.
Get moving- An inactive life also puts you at risks of gallstones due to accumulation of cholesterol.
Eat healthy- Consider going for a gallstones low fat diet to prevent high cholesterol levels in your bile.
Maintaining a gallstones low fat diet is an effective way to treat gallstones in your gallbladder. Surgery might take a longer time to heal.
Alternatively, you can consider the above tips to prevent the formation of gallstones altogether. Do not wait until its too late.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]