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Gallbladder Disorders


Etiology: The gallbladder is a small organ located directly under the liver. It acts as a bile reservoir, concentrating the bile that the body uses to digest fats. Bile contains cholesterol, bile salts, lecithin, and other substances.

Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder. It may be acute or chronic.

Cholelithiasis is the formation or presence of calculi or bilestones (gallstones) in the gallbladder or common duct of the gallbladder.

CAUSES: Acute cholecystitis is almost always caused by gallstones. Other causes may include bacteria or chemical irritants. Chronic cholecystitis can occur with or without stones. But not all patients with gallstones experience cholecystitis.

Gallstones are concretions formed in the gallbladder or bile ducts. Traditionally gallstones have been classified according to their composition. This information was then used to demonstrate the cause of the stone formation. This is no longer considered valid. Generally the core of all gallstones contains a mixture of cholesterol, bilirubin, and protein.

SYMPTOMS: In acute cholecystitis there is fever, gradually developing or sudden pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, visible jaundice in about 25% of patients. Frequently pain is referred to back or right shoulder. Approximately 10% of the patients do not have pain. In chronic cholecystitis symptoms are usually less severe than in acute cases, but recurring stones may or may not be present.

Gallstone symptoms include digestive disturbances, heaviness in right upper abdomen, and tenderness on pressure over the gallbladder. Gallstone colic occurs when a stone obstructs the bile duct. Jaundice is flow of bile is obstructed. Pain may be associated with vomiting and sweating. If distended, the gallbladder is palpable. Treatment may include surgery. See the doctor, whether acute or chronic condition.

Stones may remain dormant and give little distress unless inflammation and distention of the gallbladder take place or unless it enters and is unable to pass through the biliary ducts, when colic ensues. The pain usually starts several hours after eating and when the stomach is empty (often after eating fried or fatty foods). Flatulence is a common symptom. If left untreated, the inflammation of the gallbladder can be life threatening.

Often a patient with gallstones will have no symptoms.



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For gallbladder problems the following tea is recommended:
Alder buckthorn bark (1 part)
Restharrow root (5 parts)
Yellow gentian root (5 parts)
Peppermint leaves (10 parts)
Steep 1 tsp. in 1/2 cup boiling water. Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups a day, in mouthful doses.

For gallstones, here is a tea to assist in passing small stones and gravel:
St. Benedict thistle
Birch leaves
Witch grass
Mix in equal parts. Steep 1 tsp. in 1/2 cup boiling water. Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups per day, unsweetened, in mouthful doses.

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