Amy M. Spagnola


11 Ways to Save Your Grumpy Gallbladder Naturally--A Personal Story

While I'm nowhere near done healing from my episodes of gallbladder pain and problems, I'm feeling enlightened enough to share some thoughts, tips and tricks on dealing with this rebellious organ. My journey might sound familiar to those of you with stones, without stones, with biliary colic, without biliary disease. So, here we go...

Around 4 months ago, I got the flu. Not the stomach flu, or the bird flu or any other unusual virus, just the 10-day losing-the-will-to-live average flu. I felt awful. I was watching the television show Naked and Afraid by the hours (something about  life threatening wilderness survival and starvation seemed comforting and relatable). Following this stressful and ass-crushing flu bug, I felt like oh goody! Life is back to normal. Not.

Around this time, I developed morning bathroom visits that were super frequent. Like 6 times each morning. I felt unwell. This persisted for over a month. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with IBS.

A week or so later, the morning misery continued and I kept having watery and oily bathroom visits. Very odd. I went back to the doctor with sharp pain on the upper right side of my abdominal area--not under the ribs but higher. I felt it was strange and started doing research and learned that things like fat malabsorption, loose stools, pain in the stomach and shoulder blades could be a bad gallbladder. I had never even heard of the gallbladder before or realized its removal was one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States.

I was ultrasounded, MRI-ed, blood tested. The results? I had no stones or gallbladder sludge but instead had liver lesions. Say what?!? Come to find out that liver lesions are like tangles of blood vessels that are often found incidentally found during other screening processes. Being nearly a non-drinker, save for my bachelorette party, I was baffled and scared as hell.

Well in the absence of cirrhosis and with other no cancer and A-OK bloodwork, these lesions are almost benign and rarely cause pain or GI distress. So, why then was Lindsay (my cutesy name for my gallbladder, after Lohan--because she's always misbehaving) being such a b#tch if she had no stones?

Well, as I'm still on my healing journey and experiencing pain in the right shoulder and right sided hand, foot and chest pain as well as stomach pain, I'm not completely done with my health odyssey. I probably will learn more in the days ahead but I highly recommend trying alternative and natural therapies before pursing radiation-rich procedures and surgery-happy professionals.

As I've managed to learn a few things from months and months of research and investigation--hopefully some of these insights are helpful to the people struggling with their own Lindsays.

My belief is that Lindsay went bad because of my lack of fat, previous diet soda addiction and birth control and antibiotics. If you can avoid these things, please do. If you're like me and it's time for a health awakening and a gallbladder save program, here are some of my best secrets for saving this bile-storing digestive organ without crazy flushes, scalpels or insane diet restrictions.

#1. Do Not Go Low or No Fat
One theory I developed is that my soup-rich and plain toast diet while struggling with the flu made Lindsay stop working altogether. She got a pink slip from the lack of animal fats, oil and butter. If you've got stones, this may not work, but incorporating a little fat into your diet can make your gallbladder go from sluggish to Michael Phelps-y.

#2. Stress and the Sacral Chakra
Read about these killifish to learn all about how stress and anxiety can impact the gallbladder. After all the junk I've read on the GB, this was one of the most interesting. My flu episode was very stressful and sent my body into a bad place. Also, I've been told by 3 natural health professionals that my sacral or second chakra is imbalanced--and dysfunction of this chakra involves problems with digestion, gallbladder issues and ulcers, among other health challenges. To work on your sacral chakra, you'll need to wear orange, get creative, move more, increase self-care and let go of fear. Oh, and set boundaries (emotional, physical and spiritual).

#3. Love Your Liver
If you're struggling with gallbladder issues, odds are you also need to work on improving liver function. Foods that help cleanse the liver include: lemon, grapefruit, greens, apples, beet, carrots and garlic. For a mega dose of healing, try acupuncture to help stagnant liver qi.

#4. Fondle Your Feet
Reflexology is one of your best allies in helping stimulate and heal the gallbladder and liver. Try to massage your feet regularly and seek professional guidance in acupressure. Also, try massaging points in the hand to help these digestive organs.

#5. Try Tea
Chicory root, milk thistle and burdock can be extremely beneficial in helping cleanse and heal the liver and gallbladder. Try Soothing Caramel Bedtime or Roasted Dandelion Root.

#6. Sound Therapy
Free binaural beat videos offer a way to subconsciously heal the gallbladder. Try and listen to these videos daily. HERE and HERE

#7. Get a 2nd and 3rd Opinion
Saving a gallbladder is often an uphill battle, but it's important not to rush the decision for removal. Make sure to consult multiple health professionals both natural and traditional.

#8. Exercise
Being active can be a potent weapon against gallstones. Try and exercise vigorously and regularly.

#9. Build Your Bile
Find a supplement that supports bile production and take it regularly.

#10. Therapy
Stress makes every ailment or medical problem much worse, seek help to resolve past issues. Get past anger, indecision, fear and timidity. Stand up for yourself always.

#11. Be Wary of Hormonal Shifts
Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on the gallbladder. Hormone replacement and birth control also are damaging--with a sluggish or dysfunctional gallbladder be careful of artificial or natural hormonal shifts.

#12. Fix Impaired Digestion
The liver and gallbladder are important digestive organs--find a way to heal and solve issues like IBS, leaky gut and candida.

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