The gallbladder is a small organ responsible for storing bile that’s made in the liver. It works as part of the digestive system to communicate back and forth to other organs to help with enzyme production and storage, breaking down foods into nutrients and aiding in the elimination of waste. More often than not, gallbladder pain is caused by gallstones. Gallstones are small stones made up of cholesterol, calcium deposits and other minerals. They can form in the gallbladder as a response to chronic inflammation, caused by a number of risk factors. (1) When something isn’t quite right, gallbladder symptoms may arise. Gallbladder treatment focuses on a healthy diet and lifestyle to help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of developing gallstones.

Gallbladder Causes and Risk Factors

  • Stress
  • Poor diet, nutrient deficiencies
  • Fasting, crash dieting or losing weight rapidly
  • Pregnancy and experiencing other hormonal changes
  • The use of birth control pills or oral contraceptives
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL cholesterol levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history of gallstones or gallbladder symptoms
  • History of autoimmune disease, viruses or infections that hinder the immune system

gallbladder weight gain

Gallbladder Symptoms

  • Pain in the back and abdomen
  • Severe shooting pains, especially when pressing on the upper right part of the abdomen
  • Tenderness and swelling over the gallbladder
  • Stiffness over the gallbladder and trouble moving or twisting from the abdomen
  • Nausea, loss of appetite and sometimes vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Symptoms of a fever, such as muscle stiffness, weakness, fatigue, dizziness and chills (2)

Gallbladder Treatment

1. Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet

Gallbladder treatment includes eating an anti-inflammatory diet full of fresh, whole foods. It’s important to remove problem foods from your diet in order to reduce inflammation and prevent health problems. (3) Remove the following foods from your diet:

  • Fried foods
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Fast food
  • Lunch meats
  • Sugary foods and snacks
  • Processed dairy
  • Low-quality animal products

Replace these problem foods with fresh, nutritious foods in order to maintain a healthy weight, reduce inflammation and balance hormone levels. Add the following foods to your gallbladder treatment diet:

  • Probiotic foods
  • High-fiber foods
  • Healthy fats
  • Organic protein sources

gallbladder diet

2. Exercise

Exercising on a regular basis can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower stress levels and reduce inflammation. Exercise is a natural gallbladder treatment thanks to its many health benefits. Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderately intense exercise each day to lower your risk of developing gallstones and other health problems. (4)

3. Check Your Medications

Some medications can contribute to gallbladder problems. Check with your doctor if you believe your medications may be a threat to your health. Oral contraceptives, hormone replacement drugs and cholesterol medications have been linked to gallbladder problems. (5)

gallbladder medication

4. Balance Hormones Naturally

Gallstones are more common among women than men. Researchers believe that may be attributed to higher estrogen levels in women. Estrogen dominance can be a problem in both men and women, especially on top of obesity and a poor diet. Naturally balancing your hormone levels may reduce your risk of developing gallbladder symptoms. Exercise on a regular basis, lower your stress levels, eat a healthy diet and avoid chemical exposure to help keep your hormone levels balanced.

5. Consider Using Supplements

Natural supplements can help treat gallbladder issues, reduce pain and inflammation and prevent symptoms from worsening. To naturally treat gallbladder problems, balance hormones and reduce symptoms, try milk thistle, turmeric, bile salts, dandelion root and rosemary essential oil. (6)