The gallbladder plays a key role in the digestion of food. This organ is found behind the liver and is placed on the right side of the rib cage. It does a very important job of storing the bile (digestive juice) that is released by the liver. The gallbladder then empties the bile into the intestine to breakdown the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in the food.
Sludge in Gallbladder
In some cases, the stored bile in the gallbladder does not entirely pass down the intestines. A small amount of bile still remains in the gallbladder. This concentrated liquid that stays behind, is generally made up of cholesterol crystals and calcium salts, and is known as sludge. Experts believe that sludge consists of microscopic gallstones. Over time, the quantity of sludge increases, which may obstruct the normal flow of bile from the gallbladder.
In many cases, it has been observed that the person does not show any symptoms, even if sludge is present in the gallbladder. The symptoms appear only when too much of sludge gets accumulated. The most common symptom associated with this medical condition is abdominal pain that aggravates over time. Other symptoms include digestive disorders such as nausea and vomiting. Serious symptoms such as inflammation of the gallbladder and pancreas may develop in the near future.
Sonography is commonly used to detect abnormalities in the gallbladder. This medical procedure produces images that determine the presence of sludge in the gallbladder. Once it is diagnosed, following treatment options are used to eliminate this problem.
Gallbladder Flush: A natural way to reduce pain and decongest gallbladder is to use gallbladder flush that involves taking liquids like lemon juice or olive oil. There are also quite a few herbal solutions available in the market that can also help to cleanse the gallbladder.
Medications: Medicine such as ursodiol, also referred to as ursodeoxycholic acid is commonly used to break gallstones and ease the bile flow in the gallbladder.
Surgery: People facing severe symptoms are advised to undergo surgery in which the entire gallbladder is removed. One can lead a normal life even without gallbladder and in such a case, the bile directly travels into the intestines to aid in digestion process. This is a minor operation and surely eliminates severe pain associated with sludge in gallbladder.
Diet: Consuming foods high in fats such as pizza or red meat can worsen this gallbladder problem and trigger formation of stones. Whether it is a healthy fat or lean fat, intake should be restricted to a minimum. Spicy foods or those that come under list of acidic foods, can also make matters worse. Intake of citrus fruits such as orange or even tomato products can increase residual matter in the gallbladder. So it is best to stay away from these foods, until the gallbladder starts functioning normally.
What to Eat: A high-fiber diet rich in raw vegetables, nuts, fruits, and whole grain, is recommended for patients suffering from this medical condition. Foods that minimize the risk of gallbladder problems include prunes, apples, coconut, and artichokes. A diet high in calcium and vitamin C is equally important to stimulate normal flow of bile from the gallbladder. Use of flaxseed oil can also contribute to reduce congestion in gallbladder. Eating small meals (5-6 times) in a day will also prevent further accumulation of gallbladder sludge.
This gallbladder problem can always be prevented by avoiding too much intake of fatty and high cholesterol foods (butter). However, in case of gallbladder issues (if any), proper diagnosis and treatment is also necessary, so that large gallstones do not form in this sac-like organ.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.