RN Advice: All About Gallstones

Posted on June 2, 2014 by


by: Peggi Ingram, RN BSN

peggy color editedTen to 15 percent of people in the United States have been diagnosed with gallstone at one time or another and many more have gallstones with no symptoms.  Gall bladder disease is on the rise and it is no wonder with the obesity epidemic and eating habits in the United States.

The gallbladder is a small sac found just under the liver. It stores bile made by the liver. Bile moves from the gallbladder to the small intestine through tubes called the cystic duct and common bile duct to assist in the digestion of fats. 

Sometimes stones are formed blocking the ducts. While thankfully, most stones are small enough and pass on their own, the larger stones can cause intermittent or constant right upper abdominal pain, back or shoulder pain, nausea and vomiting.  If the stone continues to block the passage, bile can back up into the pancreas and liver causing inflammation to those organs. 

Science is not certain what causes gallstone however these small stones are usually made up of hardened cholesterol created by an imbalance in the substances that make up bile (too much cholesterol, bilirubin or not enough bile salts). While it is not understood why these imbalances occur, there is certain modifiable risk factors for  the disease: 

  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Reduced activity
  • Underlying disease
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Certain drug use

A diet high in sugar, wheat and other inflammatory foods will lead to the above diseases as well as the increase production of cholesterol by the liver.  Want to reduce the risk of disease and formation of gallstones?  The answer is quite simple: Eat clean food eliminating sugar, wheat and other inflammatory foods.  It is the easiest and healthiest way!  

Peggi Ingram, RN BSN
Genesis Transformation Coach
Posted in: RN Advice