Gallbladder Disease and The Standard American Diet – My Personal Account

www.mypicshares.com

Do you suffer from gallbladder pain or gallstones? Many doctors suggest eating a so-called “low-fat” diet, taking drugs, and if trouble persists, having the gallbladder removed (cholecystectomy).

The biggest problem with this advise is that doctors will tell patients that something is actually wrong with the organ itself – that it’s malfunctioning, and needs to be removed.

That’s only part of the story. Most of the time, they completely fail to mention the cause of gallbladder disease in the first place. Patients are told the terrible news – that gallstones usually cannot be avoided.

The other organ doctors are fond of harvesting, which we are told we can do without, is the appendix. Again, no one mentions to patients why their appendix is failing. Although you might be told that for some unknown reason, the appendix becomes clogged with toxins over time – and there is nothing you can do about it.

But actually, this is not the case.

The purpose of the gallbladder and appendix

Like the appendix, which has finally been acknowledged recently by modern medicine to actually “having a function” in supporting the endocrine and immune systems, the gallbladder has long been thought to be an organ we can live without.

The appendix is actually critical in the storage of beneficial bacteria which support digestion and immune system health. If you’ve had your appendix removed, you will need to eat fermented and cultured foods regularly to maintain this proper balance of good flora to support every aspect of your health.

Research shows that removal of this important organ can actually lead to health issues including diarrhea from constant bile dripping into the small intestine which can lead to colon and bowel cancer. Losing an organ like the gallbladder causes the body to be less efficient at digesting fats. The result is almost always malnourishment since contained in fats are some of the most nutrient-dense elements present in foods.

Appendicitis, too, is a signal from the body that something is out of balance with the digestive tract, and toxins from the food you are eating are getting trapped in the appendix which can cause pain, nausea, fever, abdominal cramping and eventual perforation or rupture and death due to infection, if not abated.

Dealing with gallbladder trouble and appendicitis

As someone who knows first hand about gallbladder problems (cholecystitis) and appendicitis, I spent much of my life completely unaware that I was developing  both of these conditions. In 2000 I was admitted to the hospital for severe lower right quadrant pain in my abdominal area during my seventh month of pregnancy, the doctors performed an ultrasound and determined that I had gallstones.

This was news to me, and I had never had any health problems (so I thought) or indication of any issues like this.  A few days later, my son was born prematurely. The doctors still did not know what was wrong with me. My abdomen became hugely distended and did not go back to normal size after giving birth. I endured various tests and procedures, including a CT scan and colonoscopy. But still they did not know what was wrong, and I was getting sicker. I knew somehow I might die, but it seemed as though nothing could be done about it. My midwife didn’t even try to reassure me everything would be okay, I can just barely recall, from my drug-induced stupor of morphine I was put on for pain during the near three-week period I was in the hospital (during pregnancy, no less).

After a week of pain, tests, and hospitalization, I was sent home. The next day, I went into labor without warning early Wednesday morning, December 6, 2000. After rushing me to the hospital, my husband and father were told by the nursing staff that I was “nine centimeters dilated” and birth was eminent. My son was born vaginally at 31 weeks of age, and sent immediately to the NICU. He was strong and healthy despite his prematurity, but was given surfactant to help his lungs to keep from collapsing. The doctors were perplexed and had no way of knowing why I went into labor early.

Days went by and my distended abdomen kept getting bigger and bigger, but the doctors were still scratching their heads. On Friday night,  three days after the birth of my son, the doctors decided to do exploratory surgery. I had perforated appendicitis, or a ruptured appendix. No one knew how long it had been since the rupture, but my entire abdominal cavity was filled with bacteria and pus.

After the surgery, I spent over a week in the hospital. One of the nurses commented that I should watch out for gallbladder problems. Having had no experience with this, I didn’t know what that meant and she really didn’t explain it to me. Sure enough, the day I came home from the hospital I began to experience gallbladder “attacks”. Besides the ruptured appendix and pain leading up to it, this was one of the most unpleasant and painful things I have ever felt in my life.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the gallbladder problem and appendix rupture were related. I also didn’t know that there are natural treatments I could have done to counteract the problem through diet and detoxification. The problem was, I believed the nonsense touted by mainstream medical rhetoric, and had really no clue that low-fat diets and staying away from natural fats and red meats were actually very dangerous. I had been following a low-fat diet off and on for years, and eating a lot of refined, processed foods and carbohydrates. And I drank my fair share of alcohol as well.

Because I didn’t know any better, I consented to having my gallbladder removed seven months after my son was born. I thought my troubles would be over, but I was wrong. I was told once again to avoid fats or I would experience digestive discomfort including bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. The funny part was, I had been experiencing loose stools for years, and sometimes it was diarrhea, but I assumed it was “normal”. For a few months, I tried to avoid the things the doctor told me to – like dairy and poultry. But it was so hard because I loved those things and had eaten them for a good portion of my life. I hadn’t ever been a big red meat eater, but I loved dairy and poultry.

Recovery?

As I said before, the side-effects of having your gallbladder removed can be miserable. I mentioned malnutrition from mal-absorption of fats. In my case I also had a list of other symptoms a mile long which also included fatigue, chronic nausea, blood sugar problems, panic attacks, and insomnia, depression, rapid heart rate, and general malaise.

I remember the words of the doctors, saying that any foods high in fat content would make my problem worse – but I had eaten varying degrees of low-fat diets for years, and yet I was still having this problem. So this advice just didn’t make sense. And now that my gallbladder was out, my problems were only getting worse.

The cause of digestive problems

Here’s what I’ve learned from my experience: when doctors tell patients they should avoid fats and eat a “low-fat” diets, what they fail to mention is that the Standard American Diet includes plenty of industrial fats that are altered and full of dangerous chemicals.

So if your gallbladder is diseased by fats, it’s due to years of eating these kinds of foods. If you are or were eating real fats from healthy animal products that come from animals on pasture (meats, animal fats, and dairy), safe source seafood, and oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and palm oil from clean sources, the chance of having gallbladder disease or digestive problems in general would be much lower. In fact, it would probably be reduced to almost nothing unless you had some congenital or family hereditary factor, which, even at the admission of most medical doctors, amounts to between only 10 and 20 percent of your chances. This just goes to prove that most disease is lifestyle related!

It is true that gallstones develop over many years’ time. But more people are developing gallbladder disease, and at younger ages, than anytime before in history. The mounting obesity epidemic has been tied to this condition, and has been blamed as one of the reasons for the increase of the rise of this disease.

Deposits in the gallbladder are a result of poor dietary habits and are caused by a buildup of unwanted substance and toxins from the diet such as from processed foods. I can’t emphasize enough that lifestyle habits are the best deterrent against gallstone development as well as many other illnesses and diseases.

My resolution

After seeing several doctors and avoiding being put on anti-anxiety medications ad nauseum – which was always their recommendation, I decided I had to find another solution. I wasn’t getting better and nothing they were telling me to do was improving my situation. I started seeing some alternative practitioners, one of which ended up being my next door neighbor, a nutritional therapist.

Of all the practitioners I’ve seen, my neighbor and the woman who was her instructor in school were the most helpful to me. I’ve been able to eliminate 95 percent of my health issues just from seeing those two women. I did have the help of some colon hydro therapists and a Chinese Medicine Doctor as well, for which I am eternally grateful to for their amazing knowledge and insight. And of course, I was absolutely astonished to learn as my body would tell me over just a short period of time, that real food does most of the healing.

Here are some of my tips if you experience chronic gallbladder disease:

  • Make an appointment to see a qualified health care practitioner who knows how to treat gallstones holistically. That might be a medical doctor, but be cautious of any medical doctor who wants to perform surgery or put you on medication without first trying natural treatment. Other good choices would be a naturopath, nutritional therapist, or Doctor of Chinese Medicine. He or she can recommend the proper dietary supplements and detoxification strategies necessary to bring your gallbladder back to health. Remember, in many cases a malfunctioning gallbladder is a result of improper diet and lack of necessary nutrients in the diet to keep the gallbladder functioning properly.
  • Eat a healthy diet with real food and healthy fats – but add them back in slowly and incrementally. When you have been on a low-fat diet for a period of time, it can take your body some time to adjust to real fats again. Be sure to include whole, raw dairy, natural, grass-fed meats and poultry that do not contain hormones, antibiotics, or chemicals, eggs from hens on pasture, organ meats, healthy fats and oils like butter, ghee, tallow, lard, olive oil, coconut oil, and fish.
  • Maintain some regular activity that you enjoy that gets you out of a sitting position. But don’t overdo it. During the first 6 months of healing, stick to walking. Vigorous exercise can actually cause adrenal exhaustion when your body is not well. However, exercise does help to maintain healthy insulin levels and benefits your pancreas, liver, and gallbladder by helping to regulate blood sugar levels and metabolic rates. Gradually, as your body heals, you can increase your exercise activity if you wish.
  • Many gallbladder “cleanses” and flushes are useful in eliminating gallbladder issues. Read My Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse Experience. This cleanse is based on the book by Andreas Moritz, The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse. It can definitely be beneficial, but may not be right for everyone. It also requires multiple sessions to remove stones from the liver and gallbladder which are causing health symptoms. It is recommended to consult a knowledgeable health care practitioner to guide you through this process and to use the correct type of flush.
  • Remember that low-fat and non-fat foods and dietary habits will eventually cause failure of the gallbladder, other digestive organs, and overall health.  Avoid industrial oils like canola, cottonseed, soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower oils, and margarine or shortening. Polyunsaturated fats like these are highly processed, subjected to high heat temperatures during processing, and are rancid on the shelves when you buy them.
  • If you have already had your gallbladder removed, you must take special care to eat a healthy diet with plenty of real foods – including real fats like meat, poultry, fish, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, tallow, and lard. You may also need bitters, bile salts, hydrochloric acid to help regulate bile production, clean out the digestive tract, and get stomach acid production up again. These supplements should be taken only if you need them, and not forever. It’s also imperative to take a good digestive enzyme. I’ve used many enzymes, and the ones I’ve found which actually work are Enzyme Solutions developed by Dr. Loomis, the original developer of enzymes. There are many different types, so it is important to find a knowledgeable practitioner who can test to see which ones you need, and you will change from one enzyme to another over time.  For more information on enzymes, visit the Loomis Enzymes web site.
  • If you are having gallbladder issues and other problems, I highly recommend the GAPS diet from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. I started this diet in May of 2011 and it has done wonders for my health. Not everyone needs GAPS, but it is a protocol that can definitely help a variety of health issues, and it helped me.
  • Gallbladder removal can have side-effects, and they are different for each person. They include diarrhea, digestive pain or distension, weight gain, pancreatitis, and if not managed carefully, diseases like cancer can also develop.  Remember, gallbladder disease is a symptom of an underlying issue in the digestive tract such as poor digestion, toxicity in the gut, or liver disease.  Although I never experienced weight gain or pancreatitis, some people do. Gallbladder disease is a symptom of underlying problems which cause poor digestion, toxicity in the gut, and many different health problems.  This occurs from maintaining poor dietary habits and lifestyle, and stress.
  • Probiotics are also essential to maintain proper good bacteria levels in your digestive tract and immune system.  Probiotics both from real foods and a good supplement are essential to rebuild the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Your gut becomes unhealthy from maintaining poor dietary habits and lifestyle, and stress. I recommend GUTPro, HLC by Pharmax, Custom Probiotics, Prescript-Assist, or BioKult to accomplish the repopulation of beneficial flora in your gut. It’s important to be careful about which probiotics you use because most products on the market have other ingredients you don’t want in your body, and claims made on the labels about strains and amounts of bacteria are often false.

I definitely want to encourage you to do some research and become educated about your digestive health, which affects every aspect of your health. One of the first steps to gaining knowledge about this important organ system and seeing results in healing is to do your research and start eating a healthy diet – complete with real, traditional foods that include plenty of healthy fats.

The only reason I am here giving you this message today is because I finally stopped listening to doctors who weren’t listening to me, and found health professionals who did listen and helped me to get on the right track. It is a sad state of affairs when so many people are unknowing about real food, they have to actually pay a health professional to teach them how to eat real food, which should be a common sense. Unfortunately in the modern world, that isn’t the case.

Processed and industrial foods are so pervasive, and we receive so many confusing messages about what’s healthy to eat, it’s no wonder our health condition is in the state it is.

Now, I’m not saying to go out and pay a health care professional to tell you what to eat. I’m only relaying my experience since I was completely clueless about what I was eating and how it was making me sick. I’m maybe a little more thick-headed than some people, and it took that event to cause change in my health. Also, by the time that point came around, I was so ill and malnourished, I needed a jump-start to get me back on track.

Maybe you’re not in that same condition, but regardless, use available tools to inform yourself and make an educated decision. If you find a medical doctor that can give you the results you want and are satisfied with, that’s great. I only know that my experience wasn’t that way and I found great success with alternative practitioners and real food.

Have you had an experience with gallbladder or any other digestive disease or issue that you’d like to share? And if so, were you able to remedy your problem with natural foods, herbs, supplements, and alternative care? Or, did you find a medical doctor who was able to help you out?

Here’s the full story of my health issues that led to my decision to switch to a traditional diet, once and for all.

Want more information about alternatives for gallbladder health? 

My liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse experience - if you have trouble digesting fats, have gallbladder issues, or have had your gallbladder removed, this post has information about performing a liver gallbladder cleanse to help rid your body of stones and other toxins that can negatively affect gallbladder function, digestion, and overall health

The gallbladder survival guide - Tim Boyd (Weston A. Price Foundation)

Seven tips to enhance digestion…and get the most out of the food you eat – Lori Lipinski (Weston A. Price Foundation)

Suggested reading:

Digestive Wellness – Liz Lipski

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James Balch, M.D., and Phyllis Balch

The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse: An All-Natural, At-Home Flush to Purify and Rejuvenate Your Body, Andreas Moritz (note – the only thing I don’t agree with in this book is Moritz’s vegetarian philosophy. Just plug in all the healthy fats and animal food you’d eat in place of what he says.)

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays carnival. Please visit her site and read the other real food posts listed there.

119 Comments

  • February 5, 2010 - 9:04 AM | Permalink

    My gallbladder went critical fifteen years ago, six months into my fourth pregnancy. I was horribly sick until I delivered my daughter, the lap chole was scheduled days after delivery. The doctor said my gallbladder was completely calcified and if he’d dropped it, it would have shattered like a china dish. I really didn’t think much about it at the time. My mom’s gallbladder had been removed, as had my husband’s. It was just “done” like appendectomies and tonsillectomies back then.

    It wasn’t until my real food journey began last year that I started looking seriously into they “why” of my gallbladder disease. The doctor said it went bad because I was “fat.” More likely, forty years of yo-yo dieting and standard American diet fare had done the damage. I’ve always been a big water drinker, but regular exercise was difficult to get due to physical constraints.

    I was warned that I would likely have constant diarrhea and that fatty meals would make me sick after the surgery, but since switching to real foods, I find that untrue. My favorite snack— homemade mozzarella cheese topped with a slice of grassfed butter—doesn’t give me any problems at all, but one meal at Taco Bell can make me very uncomfortable! I sure wish I’d known this real food stuff many years ago.

  • February 5, 2010 - 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Peggy – thanks for your story about your gallbladder problems. It’s true, all the doctors tell us that eating fat will make our gallbladder disease worse, and that eating fat after having it out will do the same. I had loose stools for years and thought it was normal, even before I had the surgery. And it just got worse afterward. Like you, after I switched to real foods and started taking digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile salts, my bowel movements have become completely normal – for the first time in my life. If I stick to my diet, this remains true. I want to know why doctors never tell people this? I eat loads of fat and protein. If I were to eat all the low fat “foods” and products as they advise, I’d have terrible problems with my blood sugar and health in general, just like I did before I started to eat real food.

    And it’s funny because I hear this frequently from people everywhere – “you shouldn’t leave out carbs and eat so much meat and dairy products because you’ll send yourself into ketosis” – a state where supposedly your body is trying to convert fats and proteins into carbohydrates because you are depriving your body of adequate carbohydrates, and you become very sick.

    And yet, I’ve never felt better in my life, and the only time when I did feel like they are describing is when I was eating a diet replete with carbohydrates and I was always hungry. In fact, the more my diet contains fats and proteins, the better I feel. I do eat a lot of vegetables too and some fruits, don’t get me wrong. I just avoid processed carbs and fake foods – something I didn’t do before until the last few years.

    Yes, Taco Bell will do that to you. I haven’t eaten fast food in at least 4 or 5 years. I think the closest I’ve come to fast food would be eating something I normally don’t eat such as food from a local restaurant or maybe someone’s house I might be visiting. During the holidays, in fact, I had a meal at someone’s house and then I paid for it the rest of the night with cramping and indigestion – something I rarely experience anymore.

  • February 7, 2010 - 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Raine, thanks for sharing your story. Various family members have had their gall bladders removed (mother, sister, brother), but so far, so good for me. My thyroid is currently my non-cooperative organ, but coconut oil and other real foods seem to be helping with the symptoms and hopefully mending the inflammation.

    My mother battled several health issues before she passed away recently, and I firmly believe they were aggravated/caused by over-prescribed medications. I started researching nutrition too late to help her, but I’m hoping that what I’m learning now will help me and other families members so no one else has to go through what mom went through. No more blind faith in conventional medicine and belief that taking a “magic pill” will solve everything.

  • February 7, 2010 - 8:56 PM | Permalink

    Laurie – thanks for your comments. I am sorry to hear about your mother. I have an elderly mother that is in poor health, and she doesn’t want to do anything about her health problems except continue to take the 12 or so medications she is currently on. I love her dearly, but have stopped trying to convince her, as she is set in her ways, and sometimes I think it’s just more stress on her than she needs.

    I feel that so many of the problems people have are caused by a reliance upon prescription meds and a total abandonment of eating real food. So many people have been brainwashed into thinking that there really is no other way.

    Coconut oil is such an amazing substance and it is good for a variety of health care needs. I have also been experiencing thyroid issues too (hypothyroid), which I didn’t know about at all until last summer. I don’t fit the typical hypothyroid symptoms – weight gain, sluggishness, thinning skin, etc. I am now taking iodine as well and I eat a lot of coconut oil as well as other traditional foods. I wish you luck on your health journey, and happiness! Thanks again for stopping by.

  • February 9, 2010 - 3:01 PM | Permalink

    Hello Raine,
    I have been experiencing what seem to be gallbladder attacks, have had three in the past 3 months. I asked people I trusted for any insight instead of going to a doc, due to fear of being told to eat low fat or fat free. I asked Ann Marie @ Cheeseslave and here is a great post she sent me by Tom Crowan MD on the WAPF website. Thought I’d share it because it really cleared some things up in my mind about gallstones. http://www.westonaprice.org/Gall-Stones.html

  • February 9, 2010 - 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Hi Gena -

    Thanks for providing that very useful link. It has a great wealth of information about gallstones that I believe many people would find helpful. I hope you are getting some answers with your symptoms and have been able to heal yourself naturally. You’re right, doctors would have in all likelihood told you to eat a low-fat diet. That was my experience too. Now that I am without my gallbladder, I’m very careful to eat the right foods at most meals. I am also going to look into Dr. Tom Crowan’s suggestion about Swedish Bitters as well. Thanks!

  • Tanya B
    February 22, 2010 - 12:25 AM | Permalink

    Hi Raine, just recently I ran across your article while looking up information about gallbladder disease. I recently found out my gallbladder is functioning around 30%. I was also recommended to go on a very low fat diet until I can discuss other “options” with my Dr. I don’t have any gallstones, just a lazy gallbladder. I constantly have the pain under the rib, back pain, pain after eating, nausea, you name it, I got it :). Do you think this diet would benefit me at all even if I have no gallstones? Thanks for your article, I’ve been looking to find something like this on the internet.
    Thanks

  • February 22, 2010 - 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Hello Tanya -

    Thanks for your message. I would suggest that if you don’t have gallstones, you are in better shape than many people, and yes, I believe you would benefit from a diet replete with real fats and traditional foods.

    Find a good practitioner who is willing to test you to find out what types of supplements you might need to get you over this period of symptoms you are having, and replenish any nutrients you have lost or are lacking in your diet. A good person to see would be a naturopath, nutritional therapist, or a medical doctor who is knowledgeable about nutrition and holistic health. Each person is individual and needs a specific protocol, so this is why I would recommend you seek iut the advice of a professional – especially since you are having issues.

    Your gallbladder is “lazy” because it is not being used to the extent that it is intended – storing bile to digest the important, real fats you need in your diet. Your liver produces the bile and it in turn is stored in the gallbladder. You just need to get your body back on a regular regimen of regular meals with good fats like meat from grass-fed animals, butter, eggs from pasture-raised poultry, olive oil, coconut oil, tallow (fat from grass-fed beef), lard (from pasture-raised hogs), and other meats like game and poultry from range or pasture-raised animals. The meat from animals and birds raised this way is higher in Omega 3s and rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin D, E, and K from the grass and being out in the sunshine, plus many minerals. These nutrients are important for synthesizing of nutrition into the body.

    I hope this helps! Here is a link to a post about the importance of dietary fats in our diets: http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=471

  • Sara C.
    February 23, 2010 - 11:44 PM | Permalink

    Hi Raine,

    Wow, thank you for this great article. I found your Facebook page through some mutual Weston Price following friends, visited your website and stumbled on this article. (By the way, I’m a fellow Idahoan. I live in Nampa.) I’ve been struggling with gallbladder issues for a couple of years now but don’t feel like I’m making much progress. I’ve been interested in nutrition and alternative medicine for quite awhile but have been gradually been getting more serious about the Weston Price lifestyle for about 1 1/2 years, especially in the last year. About 1 1/2 to 2 years ago I started having a “quivery liver” feeling in the right upper quadrant of my abdomen, discomfort in that area, and back pain directly opposite that area just about daily. I started seeing an acupuncturist for general health issues and prevention and we also starting working on the gallbladder. I’ve been taking a gallbladder detox tonic, B vitamins,as well as getting acupuncture once a month. I also have daily heartburn/acid stomach. I hate to take drugs if I can help it, so have just been dealing with the pain.

    Lately I’ve been frustrated that my discomfort and pain don’t seem to be getting better and starting to get desperate for some relief and worried that my GB may be infected. I finally found a MD who does medical acupuncture and Chinese medicine so I went to see her for the first time last week. She gave me samples of a prescription for my heartburn (not thrilled with that) and recommended an ultrasound to check on the gallbladder. The ultrasound came back normal (I guess that means no gallstones). She also ran some blood work and urinalysis and that all came back normal too. Now she wants me to take a HIDA scan test next week to check the function of the GB and see is the bile duct is blocked. I’m okay with doing some tests to find out what is actually going on, but am nervous that she’ll want to resort to medication or surgery in the then end.

    Anyway, I guess my point is to thank you for the information and encouragement. I’m going to really stick to my guns and keep searching for a natural way to get my GB back to functioning properly and without pain. I feel a little more confident in my ability to stick up for my convictions about the Weston Price diet and about the kind of treatment that I want.

    Thanks again for sharing your story!
    Blessings,
    Sara

  • February 24, 2010 - 1:51 PM | Permalink

    Hi Sara – wow, nice to find out you are local, just over in Nampa! I am sorry to hear about your health trials, and I hope you are able to find a practitioner who can honor your desire to treat your body naturally. Sometimes medical doctors are that way, have you ever heard of Dr. Ann Huycke? She’s in Boise and is an M.D. I see her occasionally and love her – she’s got a good philosophy about health and it’s geared toward natural foods, eliminating chemicals and, and homeopathy. Here’s her web site: http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=330

    If you still have your gallbladder, you are fortunate. Be sure to eat as natural foods as possible with real, traditional fats. Over time this should improve your health as well as your gallbladder function. If you have a blocked duct, perhaps you can find a knowledgeable practitioner to help you do a cleanse to get the stones out. That may be causing your pain, and quite possibly your heartburn. So if that is the case, until you get that resolved, you may continue to have discomfort.

    My next door neighbor, Jenny Calla is a nutritional therapist and she knows a lot about those things. Here is her web site: http://www.nutritionfabb.com

    I hope that helps! Just be sure to find a practitioner that listens to you and is knowledgeable about alternative treatments, and continue eating traditional whole foods. If you are not getting the answers you need, it’s time to find someone else who can do that for you. That should keep you on the right track!

  • June 7, 2010 - 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this info! I’ll check it all out.

  • October 22, 2010 - 8:49 AM | Permalink

    I am stunned at how long it took for the doctors to diagnose appendicitis (and they actually didn’t!) I am not a doctor but I believed it was common sense that someone complaining from abdominal right-side pain should be checked for that.

    Thank you for all the info in this site and I am glad you got your health back!

  • October 22, 2010 - 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Julia – yes, it is quite unbelievable just how long it did take anyone to be able to actually do anything about my situation. No one had any idea this was occurring until they took me in for exploratory surgery and cut me open. Even my mother, who was in the hospital with me the whole time kept saying, “I think it’s her appendix.” But no one would listen. The conduct these “medical professionals” used was absolutely shameful. There were 9 doctors who were looking after me and NONE of them knew.

    Thanks for your visit, Julia!

  • Dot Henrich
    October 30, 2010 - 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Hi I’ve been having some issues for the last few months and I’m searching for some answers. My pain started sporadic I would get pain below my rib cage were now over the last 2 weeks it has severely intensified. I cant eat anything. Every time I eat I feel nauseas, dizzy, pain at diaphragm area. Actually it feels like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me. It was so intense I went the the ER and all my blood work was normal. They then sent me to a GI specialist who told me I had Reflux. So after 2 weeks of meds with no results I stopped taking it and found another GI doctor. They scheduled me a Endoscopy and it was neg for ulcers. Next step is the Hida Scan. I have now lost 9 lbs since October 16th. I’m frustrated and want answers. Do these symptoms sound at all familiar???

    The first Dr I went to in Aug told me it was “anxiety” however, its not. I know it isnt I eat well however I was drinking a good amount of alcohol. I quit smoking.

    I’m 5’4′ and now 119 lbs and will be 30 in less than 2 months.
    Any answers would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you,
    Dot

  • October 30, 2010 - 12:32 PM | Permalink

    Hi Dot – your situation sounds a lot like mine was, I was just a little older than you when I started having these problems. You may also need a detox, and I’d be wanting to see what sort of foods you are eating. I thought I was eating healthy too until I realized most of my food was processed and contained a lot of unhealthy fats and grains – especially wheat, and also meat and meat products from conventional food producers. Those would be your main culprits. I’d read all the information you can about real, traditional foods on this site and many of those listed on the blogroll of the front page of my site. Most problems like the ones you are describing happen when there are processed foods and deficiencies in the diet – alcohol consumption can make that worse (I used to be a heavy drinker too). I’d avoid all other procedures and tests like the ones you described because they will subject your body to more trauma and also radiation, and then they will probably want to put you on drugs for your symptoms. If I were you, I would find a nutritional therapy practitioner and/or a naturopath who can help you on your healing journey, and stop bothering with the M.D.s.

    I had what I thought was anxiety symptoms for many years too, and was directed to go on anti-depressants. I never took the medication because it scared me to think of becoming hooked on those substances. So I persevered and continued doing research, found out my diet was responsible for the problems I was having, did a lot of detoxing and changed the way I was eating. Most of my problems have gone away, and that is also how this web site was created.

    I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Mary
    November 2, 2011 - 6:57 PM | Permalink

    I had gallstones during pregnancy and gallbladdder removal at 5 weeks postpartum. I was so much sicker after gallbladder removal. Acupuncture helped me but I still had problems, mostly with acid reflux, indigestion, and pain in my liver area. I am just now reading about weston price and eating real foods, but I do find I have pain and indigestion after eating eggs. I did not know about taking those supplements you mentioned but I will definitely try them. Are they safe to take while pregnant? I am planning to start trying to conceive but am very worried about my reflux and indigestion during pregnancy.

  • November 2, 2011 - 8:39 PM | Permalink

    Mary – I would think the supplements I listed would be safe during pregnancy since they are helping to break down foods you are eating, which will benefit your baby. Of course quality and brands are important, as there are many different products on the market. I take Standard Process, Cholacol bile salts and Premier Research Labs Betaine Hyrdochloric acid. I also have been taking Enzymedia digestive enzymes, Digest Gold. There are undoubtedly some other reputable brands, but those are the ones I’m familiar with. You definitely want to avoid any products with any artificial or synthetic ingredients whenever possible, and of course during pregnancy you really want to make sure of this.

    I am trying to find a good animal-based enzyme to replace this, as the Digest Gold is based from plant-extracts. For digestion, it’s preferable to have animal-based enzymes as they actually help break down foods more efficiently. It’s a similar concept to eating healthy fats to maintain optimal performance and condition of your digestive tract.

    If you are interested in finding out which one I end up using, send me your e-mail or you can e-mail me at raine@agriculturesociety.com. I am going to do some research this week and talk with some people I know who have been taking them and try to find out which are the best brands.

  • Janet Elizarraraz
    November 27, 2011 - 9:47 PM | Permalink

    I’m one of the 10-20% that has gallbladder issues by hereditary reasons. Do you have any resources for me? I’ve only have one gb attack & still have my gb but my parents do not have theirs. The pressure is on & I need help!

    • November 29, 2011 - 3:54 PM | Permalink

      Hi Janet – if you have gallbladder issues, I would highly recommend the GAPS diet from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. You need to heal your digestive tract slowly and gently, and with nutrient-dense foods. Get the book – Gut and Psychology Syndrome – as soon as you can and start implementing those changes. Hereditary issues are the loaded gun, lifestyle determines the outcome. Also, read up on the liver gallbladder cleanse, which I have done and have had great results. I need to do more of these and am planning for in the new year:

      http://agriculturesociety.com/politics-and-food/my-liver-and-gallbladder-miracle-cleanse-experience/

      It would also be a very good idea for you to start coffee enemas immediately. These help the liver purge toxins and are very safe and gentle. Here’s the link I recommend:

      http://www.drlwilson.com/detox_protocols.htm

      Dr. Larry Wilson has much experience in treating chronic illness and in particular cancer. He and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez who also treat cancer patients holistically use these on their patients. I also worked for and am friends with a nutritional consultant who treats late stage cancer patients who are in their last days with this and other alternative protocols with great success. My point is that many very ill patients use coffee enemas and do just fine with them, and some of those people have had digestive compromise including gallbladder and liver toxicity (which is always the case with people who have gallstones and malfunctioning gallbladder).

      Once you start GAPS, you should be able to eat foods with healthy fats in them more easily. Right now you may be having trouble digesting fats, which is the job of the gallbladder due to diet and lifestyle issues. Healthy fats are essential to gallbladder function, and without them, the gallbladder will begin to develop disease and stones. Healthy fats come from animal products including butter, olive oil, coconut oil, lard and tallow from healthy animals on pasture, grass-fed meats and poultry. Industrial fats and commercialized oils like margarine, canola, soybean, cottonseed, and also many sunflower, peanut, corn, and other oils are highly processed, deodorized, and go rancid by the time they are on the shelf. They contain too many Omega 6s – which most people in the U.S. have an over abundance of, and are not recognized by the body as a real, whole fat like the others mentioned, which people have eaten to the credit of their health for thousands upon thousands of years. I hope this is helpful. Also, read the Andreas Moritz book talked about in my liver gallbladder post. He is a vegan/vegetarian, so I don’t follow that advice about that kind of diet. However, a lot of the other advice he gives in the book is dead on. But I do eat sustainable, organic and real, whole foods.

  • Lesley
    December 12, 2011 - 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Thank you so much for posting this. I came across this when doing some research on low HCL levels. I had my GB out about 6 years ago, and regret it daily. I have gained about 15 lbs and for the first time in 36 years, am struggling with losing weight. Did you have weight gain as well? I am taking Standard Process Cholacol and Zypan along with probioitcs and cod liver oil. I am hoping this will help eventually as I experience almost daily diarrhea. Also, my stools are very thin and light in color, sometimes green. There is not doubt I am struggling with digestion issues since having my GB out. By the way, I had NO digestion issues before surgery. I just had pain, nausea. And my appendix out years before that..

  • August 21, 2012 - 9:19 PM | Permalink

    Lesley – I am so sorry, I just realized this comment you left from last year, I am so sorry it has taken me so long to respond. :(

    I did not have weight gain, I’ve had nothing but trouble keeping my weight on a great deal of my life. Have you tried GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride (get the book and check out my link above in the post to my GAPS diet success). Also, enzymes might be something you should look into. I take Enzyme Formulations by Dr. Loomis, the original creator of enzymes for human beings. You should find a practitioner who can test you to find out which kind are right for you:

    https://www.enzymeformulations.com/help/referrals.asp

    Dr. Loomis uses herbs together with herbs and the live enzymes, many products on the market are inferior. I’ve found that careful attention to diet and eating traditional foods with plenty of fats, bone broths, fermented foods, nettles infusions, and healthy fats with the enzymes keeps my bowel movements regular and normal.

  • Rebecca
    August 28, 2012 - 7:18 PM | Permalink

    I am crying!! Your post has given me HOPE!! My gallbladder isn’t functioning properly (test showed only functioning at 8%) My family Dr said my only option was gallbladder removal and referred me to a surgeon. Told me to not eat greasy or spicy food and that’s all the advice I was given. I haven’t eaten greasy or spicy foods in weeks and am not better. I am basically living on water, fruits and vegetables, and rice and chicken now. I desperately want to save my gallbladder but am afraid I have done too much damage to it. :( I am ashamed to say I have eaten ALL the wrong foods for over a decade and I know this has contributed to my problem! I also have autoimmune disorders and think the inflammation might be worse from this. I am trying to get in with a gastroenterologist now and want to get a second opinion. I also have a clotting deficiency and surgery puts me at a higher risk for complications with it so I want to avoid surgery but more importantly I want to heal my body and feel better! I have had recurrent fever for three weeks now, severe pain in my right upper abdomen and side, as well as chronic diarrhea. I too am afraid that after my gallbladder is removed, what if this doesn’t go away? A friend of our’s had her gallbladder removed only to find out afterwards it was her liver that was the problem…but my Dr hasn’t done any extensive testing on my liver before advising me to remove my gallbladder. It is all so frustrating! :( I have started doing fruit and vegetable smoothies, hoping this type of nutrients that aren’t as hard to digest can help heal me as well without surgery. I am frustrated after a few weeks…but I realize this might take a long time after reading your post! Thank you again for this helpful information! I am going to try to get with a nutritional specialist now myself! :)

  • September 17, 2012 - 10:41 AM | Permalink

    Rebecca – don’t get down on yourself for years of bad dietary habits and lifestyle, it’s common and many of us, including myself, have done it. I think a nutritional consultant or expert would be a good idea, but be wary of anyone who tries to put you on an extreme diet such as all plant-based and low-fat for a long time. Your body needs healthy fats, and although a cleanse or detox that involves not eating a lot of meat and animal products for a few weeks can be helpful, on the long-term it will be more damaging and can very easily cause more deficiencies than what you have now. Bottom line is, you need fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 and all the minerals that go along with those. Have you thought about GAPS protocol?

    http://www.gapsdiet.com/

    This would be perfect to correct deficiencies you are experiencing and also heal your digestive tract. You do need real food and healthy fats, but GAPS would help you with healing and easy-to-digest foods and get those fats and nutrients into your body until you could eat normally again. I’ve been on this protocol since May of 2011 and it’s done wonders for me.

    Don’t let anyone take out your gallbladder, this will only make matters worse and you’ll still have digestive compromise. With changes in diet and some proper detoxing, you should be able to keep your gallbladder and heal it so it will function properly again.

    Best of luck to you and I’d love to hear about your progress.

  • wendy
    February 5, 2013 - 7:35 AM | Permalink

    I have been diagnosed with gallstones back in november and have gallbladder attacks pretty frequent. I have no risk factors of this except a family history of family members having same problem and getting there gallbladder removed. I eat pretty healthy, am not over weight and stay very active and I am only 34. My doctor says I don’t fit the profile. However I have been sent to a surgeon for removal. To this day I have not had it removed due to the fact I keep getting sick right before surgery. I was wondering how to get rid of the gallstones one of mine is pretty large and is still in the gallbladder. I seem to have a very weakened immune system and get colds, flu, diarhea, coldsores, left side pain during gallbladder attacks, and im tired all the time since these gallbladder problems and im scared either something else could be wrong or these gallstones are causing it. Any helpful thoughts on whether to save my gallbladder? My thoughts right now is anything is better than this.

    • February 22, 2013 - 1:28 AM | Permalink

      Wendy – I highly recommend GAPS for you, have you heard of this book/protocol by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride? I have no gallbladder and have not had one since 2001. I was very sick for years, and the GAPS protocol has worked tremendously well for me. It includes consumption of easy-to-digest foods that are nutritious and heal the gut while providing the needed nutrients your body is lacking – fermented foods, healthy fats, and home-made broths are the foundation. It also requires that you avoid certain foods for a period of time – especially grains, starches, sugar. Gluten is to be avoided and dairy foods for a period of time as well if you have intolerance. When you add foods back in, they should all be traditionally prepared and sustainable sourced foods. The reason for digestive and gallbladder disease is due to consumption of modern, processed foods as well as environmental toxins, and poor lifestyle choices such as too much unmitigated stress – physical, mental, spiritual, lack of adequate rest, exposure to electromagnetic frequencies and radiation from electronic devices, wireless devices, and other similar issues.

      You may also consider the gallbladder miracle cleanse by Andreas Moritz when you have spent some time doing a protocol such as GAPS. I wrote a post about this, I’d definitely spend some time doing the GAPS protocol before attempting this cleanse though – at least 6 mos – a year to give your body a chance to start detoxing slowly and getting some of those toxins out. If you try to do too much at once, it can cause some pretty violent die-off/reactions including sometimes stones can get stuck in bile ducts and that can make your issue acute.

      http://agriculturesociety.com/politics-and-food/my-liver-and-gallbladder-miracle-cleanse-experience/

  • Rachel
    May 15, 2013 - 8:26 PM | Permalink

    I always wish I knew then what I know now!
    In ’09 during my last trimester, I started getting pain in my back. A daul pain I only thought was from being 6+ months pregnant. I didn’t complain bc I figured I was in the home stretch and I’d feel better after I delivered. -Wrong!
    A week or two after delivering I had my first of 7 gallbladder attacks-like on the floor in tbe fetal position with a bucket vomiting in the worst pain-csection stitches still in me. I mentioned it at my 6wk post csection check. They told me to talk to my GP. I finally did and had an ultrasound that showed 18 stones the size of a mans thumb nail. I was also told, one stone or twenty it had to come out. Period!
    Surgery and recovery was fine-a breeze. It gave me the illusion all would be normal again. -Wrong again!
    The weight I lost after the birth all returned plus some, I had VERY loose stools after every meal, 5 miscarriages, a Huge psoriasis flair up that I couldn’t get under control, and just felt like crap in general.
    I met a holistic nurse and my life changed!
    In addition to eating a whole foods plant based vegan diet and taking her recommended supplements, I’m down 40lbs, psoriasis almost gone, and I’m feeling really good. I’m even grateful for my renewed monthly breakouts bc I feel it’s a sign my hormones may be returning to normal.
    Again, I wish I knew then what I know now.
    Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food…

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  • Rachel
    August 28, 2013 - 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Hello Raine!! Thank you for your reply! I’m so happy to report that after a six month vegan cleansing and care of a holistic RN, I was able to avoid hormones and drugs recommended to me by a fertility specialist! I’m now almost 4 months pregnant after 5 miscarriages over the 3 years! We’re over the moon excited

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