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What are the Different Treatments for Gallstones?

By K. Gierok
Updated May 17, 2024
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Gallstones are a painful condition that typically occur as a result of diets that are high in fat and cholesterol. As a result, one of the most common treatments for gallstones is a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol. In addition, using natural remedies such as adding olive oil, garlic, and certain teas to the diet of those suffering from gallstones may be effective. Certain medications and laparoscopic surgery are also common treatments for gallstones, though surgery is typically only used as a last resort.

One of the most common treatments for gallstones involves the use of a low-fat diet. Typically, the primary way that gallstones are formed to begin with is through a diet that is rich in fat and cholesterol. Therefore, individuals who suffer from gallstones are typically encouraged to reduce the amount of fat in their diets as much as possible. Choosing diets low in fat may also help those suffering from gallstones lose weight, which is another common factor in the development of the condition.

Natural remedies are also very popular treatments for gallstones. A number of natural remedies exist, including the consumption of olive oil, lemon juice, and even small pieces of garlic. Hot teas made with chamomile or cleaver leaves and sweetened with the juice of apples, pears, grapefruits, and other citruses may also be effective in the treatment of gallstones. Patients who use these natural remedies in the treatment of gallstones typically are encouraged to keep their primary care physician updated on the particular remedies that are being attempted.

Other treatments for gallstones also may include prescription medications or other therapies. Medications are usually used in an attempt to shrink or break up the gallstones. They are usually only effective in around 20% of the people who are suffering from gallstones, however. Sound wave or shock wave therapy can also be used to break up stones using high-frequency sound waves. Even if these methods prove effective, however, the gallstones may return.

Laparoscopic surgery is often performed on those who are suffering from gallstones. In laparoscopic surgery, four small incisions are made in the abdomen near the gallbladder. Special instruments are inserted into the abdomen, and used to remove the entire gallbladder. This surgery is often used only as a last resort for individuals who have not achieved success through other methods. Certain individuals may not qualify to undergo this procedure, especially those who are elderly, have a weakened immune system, or who are on medications that prevent blood-clotting.

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