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20 August 2017Last updated
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Ask the expert: is there an ayurvedic cure for gall stones?

Our ayurveda expert offers advice to patients with gall stones

Dr VL Shyam
28 Jul 2017 | 06:25 pm
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My husband has been diagnosed with multiple gall stones. He was told to get the gall bladder removed as the wall is inflamed as well. Would ayurveda be helpful? We were told gall stones can be dissolved in 10 days. 

Drug treatments are generally inappropriate for patients who have common bile duct stones having acute inflammation.

Ayurveda is not against surgery but don’t fall for claims of dissolving gall stones in 10 or 12 days.

In-patient management and oil therapies are not required for gallstone depletion unless there are other health issues.

You may go for a second investigation and opinion at the earliest. If your surgeon suggests an expectant management (wait and see), approach an Ayurveda doctor.

Gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of our abdomen, just beneath the liver. The gallbladder stores digestive fluid - bile which is released into the small intestine. Normally, the bile contains chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol excreted by liver. But if the liver excretes more cholesterol than your bile can dissolve, cholesterol stones may form in the gallbladder.

If the bile fluid contains too much bilirubin, it results in pigment stones. If the gallbladder doesn’t get empty correctly, it can also result in stagnation, concentration and gallstone formation. Risk factors includes, female gender, age above 40 years, overweight, high fat/cholesterol diet, family history, diabetes and oral contraceptives.

Gallstones size can be from the size of a sand particle to as large as a golf ball. Gallstones that move out of the gallbladder and pass into the stomach. However, a stone may become lodged in the bile duct due to the size of the stone. Bile duct stones are gallbladder stones that are lodged in the bile duct.

If a gallstone gets lodged in the neck of gallbladder, cholecystitis (inflammation of gallbladder) can occur with symptoms of pain and fever. If the stone blocks, the bile duct, jaundice and bile duct infection can result.

While the block is in pancreatic duct, Pancreatitis occurs having symptom of intense, constant abdominal pain. Sudden intense pain in the upper right side or below the breastbone and pain towards the shoulder blades is the typical gallstone pain. Gallstones that don’t cause any signs and symptoms typically don’t need treatment.

Ayurveda medications are helpful to dissolve gallstones especially the small cholesterol stones. Fat-free diet is also important. The treatment may take 6 to 12 months of medicines to dissolve gallstones. Assessment by USG should be done after 6 months.

Effective Ayurveda treatment of gallstones reduces the inflammation of gallbladder too.

In my clinical observation, I have seen a few cases of recurrence after few years; therefore lifestyle modification is also important.

There are a few ayurveda preparations that are effective in cases of cholecystitis due to gallstones.

Consult an Ayurveda doctor in person with your medical reports.

Although one can’t entirely prevent gallstones from forming, we may be able to lower the risk by following these suggestions:

• Maintain a healthy body weight.

• Avoid crash diets.

• Exercise regularly.

• Choose a low-fat, high-fibre diet that emphasises fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

• Reduce intake of animal fat, butter, margarine, mayonnaise and fried foods.

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Dr VL Shyam

Dr VL Shyam

Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner