Gallbladder Stones and Its Ayurvedic Management
A gallstone is a stone that is formed within the gallbladder out of bile components. The gallbladder is a small sac located below the liver on the right-hand side of the body. Gallstones can be of any size, from small to large. If the size of gallstones is small it usually causes no problem within the gallbladder but if there are many or one large sized stone, it may cause abdominal pain when the gallbladder responds to a fatty meal. They also block the bile duct by creating difficulty to move out bile from the gallbladder.
Gallstones can be divided into the following three types:
1. Cholesterol stones
2. Pigment stones
3. Mixed stones
• Cholesterol Stones
This is a very common type of gallbladder stone and forms when bile contains a large amount of cholesterol. Cholesterol stones are oval in shape and size is between 2 and 3 cm. The color of stone varies from light yellow to dark green or chalk white or brown.
• Pigment Stones
These stones are dark, small and form when bile contains a large amount of bilirubin.
• Mixed Stones
Mixed stones are brown pigment stones which typically contain 20–80% cholesterol and other common constituents Like palmitate phosphate, calcium carbonate, bilirubin, and other bile pigments. These stones are radiographically visible due to the presence of calcium content in it.
What Causes Gallstones?
- The formation of gallstones takes place when chemical constituents in the bile are imbalanced
- The stones are formed due to the presence of an excess amount of cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile.
- Other substances in the bile like calcium palmitate, calcium bilirubinate, and calcium stearate support the formation of stones.
- The incomplete emptying of the gallbladder makes bile over concentrated which may result in gallstone formation. This can be caused due to high resistance to the flow of bile to move out of the gallbladder.
- The presence of proteins in the liver and bile may promote cholesterol crystallization into gallstones. In addition, during pregnancy or hormone therapy, increased levels of the hormone estrogen or the use of an estrogen-containing combination of hormonal contraception may increase the level of cholesterol in bile and also decreases motility of gallbladder, which results in gallstone formation.
What are the risk factors for the formation of Gallbladder Stones?
There are various factors which increase the risk of Gallbladder Stones.
• Gender: Females (especially before menopause) are at an increased risk of gallbladder stones as these are mainly found in females and people near or above 40 years.
• Overweight or rapid loss in weight increases the risk of gallbladder stones.
• Use of contraceptives or cholesterol-lowering drugs.
• Nutritional factors like low intake of the nutrient’s folate, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C, low intake of meal per day, low liquid consumption or constipation may increase the risk of gallbladder stones.
• Pigment gallstones are the most common types of gallstones found in the developing world. Risk factors for pigment stones are cirrhosis, hemolytic anemias, and biliary tract infections.
• The prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors decreases gallbladder function, possibly leading to gallstone formation.
What are the signs and symptoms of Gallbladder Stones?
Most people with gallstones experience no symptoms. Because the stone builds in the gallbladder and people are usually unaware that they have gallstones until symptoms occur. Symptoms usually occur when the condition becomes complicated.
The most common and primary symptom is abdominal pain that occurs in the right upper part of the abdomen. Pain comes in episodes and may lead to an attack. This pain can occur on the right side of the body, just below the ribs, between the shoulder blades or it may spread to the right shoulder or at the back.
The pain usually starts within 30 minutes after having a fatty meal.
Other Symptoms of gallstones include:
• Back pain between the shoulder edges
• Nausea and vomiting
• Belching, bloating, indigestion
How to diagnose Gallbladder Stones?
In many cases, gallstones are detected by chance when a person is being treated for a different disease. The doctor may suspect gallstones after a test like an ultrasound scan, a complete cholesterol test also known as lipid panel or lipid profile, or an X-ray.
Various tests for detecting Gallbladder Stones are following:
Ultrasound is the best test to detect the gallstones in the gallbladder.
• CT Scan
This is a non-invasive X-ray that helps to detect gallbladder stone.
• Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan)
This is a test in which a solution containing a radioactive marker is injected into the patient. The liquid is absorbed by the liver and then passed to the gallbladder for storage which is then stimulated to contract. So, this test examines the irregular contraction of the gallbladder and blockage of the bile duct.
• Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
MRCP uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce complete images of ducts including bile duct.
• Blood tests are not used for the diagnosis of gallbladder stones but may be used to examine signs of infection, pancreatitis, obstruction, or jaundice.
Management of Gallbladder Stone by Ayurveda
Planet Ayurveda provides effective and best herbal remedies for the treatment of Gallbladder Stones. These medicines are safe, pure, and easy to use and have no side effects.
Products offered by Planet Ayurveda are
• Liver Detox Formula
• Punarnava Capsules
• Arogyavardhini Vati
• Navkarshik Churna
1. Liver Detox Formula
Liver Detox Formula helps to improve and strengthen the liver health thus it is effective in the treatment of gallbladder stones. It also improves digestion.
Ingredients of Liver Detox Formula are
Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurrao), Punarnava (Boerrhavia diffusa), Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), Makoy (Solanum indicum), Biranjasipha (Achillea millefolium-Yarrow), Jhavuka (Tamarix galluca), Himsra (Capparis spinosa), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and Kaasni (Chicorium intybus).
Dosages: 2 capsules two times a day with water, after meals.
2. Punarnava Capsules
Punarnava capsules contain pure extract of Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa). These capsules help to balance the Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha of the body as their imbalance can be responsible for producing gallbladder stones. Punarnava also has diuretic properties thus helps to maintain kidney function.
Dosages: 1 or 2 capsules two times a day with water, after meals.
3. Arogyavardhini Vati
This herbal formulation consists of various herbs like Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), Chitrakmool (Plumbago Zeylanica), Haritaki(Terminalia chebula), Amlaki (Emblica officinalis) and other herbs. These tablets balance the Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha of the body. It also improves digestion and helps to strengthen the body.
Dosages: 2 tablets two times a day with water, after meals.
4. Navkarshik Churna
This formulation is the combination of various natural ingredients such as Amla (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Bahera (Terminalia bellerica), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia), Katuki (Picrorrhiza kurrao), Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) and Daruhaldi (Berberis aristata). Navkarshik Churna is effective for treatment of gall bladder stones. It also used for the treatment of psoriasis, gout & joints pain.
Dosages: One tablespoon, two times a day with water, after meals.
What are the Home Remedies for Gallbladder Stones?
Regular exercise can reduce cholesterol levels and helps to prevent the formation of gallstones. It can decrease gallbladder pain and minimizes the chances of gallstone pain attacks.
2. Dietary Changes
Poor diet and foods high in fats and sugars can cause the production of gallstones and other gallbladder diseases. A diet with less fat and more in fiber can prevent gallstones formation and promotes your health.
3. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint contains menthol, which is a soothing compound that reduces pain. It can be used to relieve abdominal pain, improve digestion, and decrease nausea.
Magnesium is very helpful for gallbladder emptying. It can also relieve gallbladder spasms and pain. The deficiency of magnesium can result in gallstone formation.
5. Heated Compress
A heated compress can calm pain and reduce pressure from bile. To reduce gallbladder pain, soak a towel with warm water and apply it on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this method until you get relief from pain.
Yoga for the Treatment of Gallbladder Stone
Yoga is as an effective method for the treatment of gallbladder stones. Various yoga asanas are recommended for the treatment of gallbladder stones and they are very helpful in the prevention of liver and gall bladder diseases.
The yoga asanas used to treat Gallbladder stones are the following:
• Sarvangasana or Shoulder Stand
In this yoga asana, the person needs to first lie on the back with their hands under the mid-back, then uplift legs and lower body, so that the body weight is supported on the head, neck, arms and upper back. The person should look at the toes while in this position.
• Shalabhasana or Locust Pose
In this yoga asana, the person needs to raise the left leg from the waist, keep it straight in the knee and put the toe stretched and breathe normally. This asana stimulates the blood circulation in large and small intestine.
• Dhanurasana or Bow Pose
The person needs to lie on his or her stomach, hold the feet and then lift the legs into the shape of a bow. This position strengthens the person’s abdomen and back muscles.
• Paschimotasana or the Back-Stretching Posture
The person needs to sit in a relaxed position with the legs outstretched. Then bend the head to touch the knees and breathe completely. Hold the toes with the fingers. This asana stimulates the pancreas, liver, and kidneys.
A balanced diet with proper meals is recommended.
Foods should be included in your diet are:
• Dark and leafy greens
• Brown rice
• Olive oil
• Citrus fruits
• High fiber diet
• low-fat diet
Foods should be avoided
• Fried and fatty foods
• High-fat dairy products
Dr. Vikram Chauhan
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