Gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. But not everyone with gallbladder problems needs to have surgery to relieve their symptoms. Sometimes, all it takes is a change in diet.
At Desert West Surgery, our team provides patient-centered, individualized care for patients with gallbladder symptoms, diagnosing the cause of those symptoms before determining the best treatment. If you have gallbladder symptoms, here’s how changing your diet could help.
Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ nestled below your liver, just beside your stomach. The gallbladder works as a storehouse for bile produced by your liver. Bile is an essential digestive fluid that helps break down fats, turning them into fatty acids that your organs and tissues can use.
The primary function of the gallbladder is to release bile when it’s needed for digestion. The bile flows from the gallbladder through a tube or duct and into the small intestine. Sometimes, bile and other materials collect inside the gallbladder, forming small, hard stones. These stones can wind up blocking the duct that releases bile — and that’s when you can start having painful symptoms.
Since your gallbladder is involved in digestion, it makes sense that your diet can play a role in your symptoms. Avoiding certain foods can help reduce symptoms in many people, and in some cases, it might even help prevent new stones from forming.
Fried foods contain a lot of oils, and fats are a major trigger for gallbladder symptoms. As tempting as these foods may be, it’s much better to look for recipes that use baking, broiling, or grilling as alternative cooking methods.
Processed meats contain chemical additives that can trigger gallbladder symptoms in many people. Fatty meats like bacon and sausage are other common culprits.
Sensing a theme here? Foods high in fats are prime culprits for causing painful gallbladder symptoms, and full-fat milk, cheese, and ice cream are no exceptions. Opt for fat-free versions instead.
Eggs can be part of a healthy diet, but because they’re high in cholesterol, they can also cause
Highly refined, white flour lacks a lot of the nutrients and fiber of whole grains, and it can cause gallbladder flares, too. Opt for whole grains instead, including whole-grain pasta and bread. If you must have eggs, stick to the whites and leave the yolks alone.
Sadly, most baked goods are full of refined flour, eggs, dairy, and fats, which means it’s a good idea to avoid this category altogether. If you must indulge, at least look for low-fat options, and skip the chocolate while you’re at it.
Most cream soups and sauces contain either cream or butter, full-fat dairy foods known to cause symptoms in people with gallbladder issues.
Yes, as sad as it sounds, pizza can cause pain in many people with gallbladder problems, thanks to the mozzarella cheese and olive oil used in most pies.
First, pizza — now soda? Yes, research shows people who drink a lot of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks also tend to have more gallbladder problems, including gallbladder cancer. Cutting sweet drinks could reduce symptoms as well as lower your risk for these problems.
Even though you might be able to reduce your gallbladder symptoms, you should never ignore them. They can be a sign of a more serious problem that needs immediate medical treatment. Having your gallbladder symptoms evaluated by our team ensures you get the right treatment at the right time. To find out what’s causing your gallbladder symptoms, call one of our three Las Vegas, Nevada, offices or book an appointment online.