A gall bladder diet is usually prescribed in response to an illness or disease associated with the organ, in conjunction with post-gall bladder surgery treatment, or at times as a precautionary measure to keep a gall bladder condition from becoming worse.
What Function Does The Gall Bladder Perform? - Any time a special diet is prescribed for medical reasons, it can be helpful to understand not only the reason why certain foods are recommended, or should be avoided, but how the body part in question functions in the first place, and the purpose it serves. A gall bladder diet is no exception. The gall bladder performs a certain function, and the diet prescribed is designed to aid the gall bladder in properly performing that function. The gall bladder is a smallish organ located next to the liver. Its function is to store bile, supplied on a continuous basis by the liver, and concentrate it. The gall bladder expands as it stores bile, and expels the concentrated bile by contracting. The concentrated bile then travels through the bile duct, eventually reaching the small intestine.
Bile is a fluid which assists in digestion by breaking fats down into fatty acids which can then be absorbed by the body, and also absorbs fat-soluble vitamins. It is a rather thick fluid, containing mostly cholesterol, bile salts, bilirubin (a waste product), body salts and water. One of the primary functions of the gall bladder is the elimination of excess cholesterol from the body. When this is for any reason inhibited, gall stones, composed largely of cholesterol and calcium, can form.
Problems Associated With The Gall Bladder - Gall bladder disorders can lead to diseases, some of which are accompanied by painful symptoms. Obesity and poor dietary habits are leading causes of gall bladder problems. Heredity is sometimes a factor as well. Embarking on a special gall bladder diet is sometimes all that is needed to clear up the problem, but often other means of treatment must be called into play. Anemia and liver problems, which can sometimes be traced back to lifestyle choices, can result in the creation of gall stones. Gall stones are the most common of gall bladder problems we are likely to encounter. Gall stones begin to create problems when they enter the area of the small intestine. At times, infection in the gall bladder may occur because of the presence of gall stones, and the situation can become quite serious. The liver, which sometimes caused the problem to begin with, may itself begin to suffer serious damage.
Gall Stones - If gall stones block or partially block the passage of bile to the intestine, food will be improperly digested, and symptoms of jaundice may become present. Gall bladder problem symptoms usually do not appear all at once, but tend to worsen over time. In latter stages however the condition can become quite serious. The gall bladder is not essential to life. In cases where treatment of gall bladder disease calls for removal of the organ, the liver will continue to supply bile to the intestinal tract. What will be missing is the capability to produce amounts of concentrated bile. This fact starts to give a hint as to the need for a special gall bladder diet following surgery. Also, gall bladder attacks can be precipitated by certain foods, deep-fried foods, dairy products, and chocolate to name several. This suggests a need to control one's diet to prevent flare-ups. Now we're on the road to understanding why a special gall bladder diet can make good sense.
The presence of gall stones does not always call for surgery or removal of the gall bladder. Dietary measures sometimes are sufficient to allow passage of smaller stones without any problems. It is important however to recognize that there is a distinction to be made between gall stones and gall bladder disease. If the gall bladder is diseased and the disease cannot be cured, removal may be the only option. In the meantime, you can often make life much easier for yourself by following a special gall bladder diet, designed to either help the gall bladder recover, or at least take steps to avoid making the situation worse. Removal of the gall bladder clears up the symptoms, especially the pain associated with gall bladder problems, most of the time, but not all of the time.
Stones can still be formed in the liver (now they are called bile stones, not gall stones, but it's the same idea), and these can still create blockages, and therefore still cause pain and other problems. With the regulatory function of the gall bladder gone, the liver will sometimes produce more bile than is needed, and sometimes less. It then becomes even more important to closely follow a prescribed gall bladder diet. If one hasn't been able or willing to make some dietary changes in their lifestyle before gall bladder surgery, afterwards is certainly the time to do it.
While no one is completely immune from gall bladder disease, it tends to strike older people, those who are obese, and people suffering from diabetes and gastrointestinal problems. People with consistently high levels of cholesterol are more susceptible to the disease, and the percentage of women experiencing gall bladder disease is somewhat higher than is the case with men. With gall bladder disease an ounce of prevention may well pay dividends, and having healthy dietary habits to begin with will certainly lessen your chances of experiencing gall bladder problems. Staying away from fatty foods, foods high in cholesterol, and junk food, always tends to keep you at your healthiest.