"Fat, fair and forty." That's the description for a common condition that more women than men will experience. It's a gallbladder issue. What's the gallbladder? Live Science says, "The gallbladder is an organ that is part of the human biliary system, which is involved with the production, storage and transportation of bile. Bile is a yellowish-brown fluid produced by the liver and used to break up and digest fatty foods in the small intestine." Can't we live without the gallbladder? You can. But you don't want to (unless you're living with a diseased one.) It's common for women to suffer from gallstones and gallbladder issues as she enters her forties. If she's fair-skinned and a little fluffy, then your healthcare provider will begin to question the gallbladder's function.
My troubles happened in June, 2015. About five times in maybe eight weeks, I would have pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen. I would have nausea and fever as well. The first couple of times (about a week or so apart), I ignored it. The third time I called my internist, a family friend who thankfully answers his phone when I call. He thought then it could be gallbladder inflammation. I took some pain relievers and hoped it would settle down. The third or fourth time I had pain, I called him again. He prescribed an antibiotic thinking I was dealing with an infection. He even ordered an ultrasound of the gallbladder. There were no obvious stones, but there was tenderness at the site. The fifth time I had pain, I was in tears. I thought I had strained a back muscle while lifting weights. I went and had a massage and was in pain when the therapist touched a spot on my back. The pain from the gallbladder had referred to the back and the massage therapist recommended I go see a physician. I called my doctor who sent me to the emergency room. He had concern why the gallbladder was giving me fits. That ER trip is five hours I'll never get back. Sheesh. If you're not a gunshot victim or having a cardiac episode, you're gonna be there for a while. So I sat. And every person who questioned me asked how much alcohol I consumed. I answered the same thing to each person, "one to two glasses on Friday and Saturday night. That's it." "You sure?" "Yes, positive." Later I found out that alcoholics often have pain where I did that referred to the back and are diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Blood work and a CT scan ruled out anything serious. I went home feeling like a hypochondriac. But my physician still ordered a HIDA scan to see if the gallbladder was doing its job and predicted, "I'm thinking you have a blocked gallbladder duct." Another physician concurred along with the surgeon who gave me his opinion about scan results.Do surgeons want to remove a gallbladder with the results I had? Some do, but it's not THEIR gallbladder. So I did my homework. Gallbladders are often ripped out of people who DON'T do their homework. Many people, especially women, do not need surgery to fix the problem. Often times, they need to do a gallbladder cleanse. So I did it. I drank 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in a half cup of apple juice that I mixed well. Then I slammed it. It was awful. Next, I sipped one cup of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice through a straw. Oh, boy. Then the fun came. It is quite shocking what your body will expel when you do this treatment. I expelled sludge and possibly some gallstones. It is, what I have heard, the same method medical professionals used in the stone ages (pardon the pun) to clean out your GI tract before you had a colonoscopy. It works. It completely relieved me of any pain and discomfort. I'm so glad I did this as opposed to the alternative. In fact, I have repeated the cleanse a few times since when I have noticed I have had tenderness at the gallbladder site.
(The crazy thing about this gallbladder attack was that I could almost have predicted it. I have acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments weekly and my acupuncturist noticed that my liver/gallbladder was inflamed when she inserted the needles to treat the liver/gallbladder. Now she notices when it starts acting wonky, and I do the cleanse at home.)
It worked so well for me that any plans to remove my sweet little gallbladder were taken off the (operating) table. And for those of you who have had your gallbladders ripped out and you're having all of the complications people have, I am sorry. For the others who are considering it or are being told that you must do this, please proceed with caution and start with a simple gallbladder cleanse.
If you've been told your gallbladder needs to come out, here are three opinions by naysayers who warn you that having your gallbladder removed might not be the panacea you were looking for. And I personally know three women who have had their gallbladders removed who not only still have pain but are suffering from post-surgical complications and are now forever in pain and nausea with gastroparesis, a chronic motility disorder.
Gallstones and Gallbladder Disease from Savvy Patients' website
"The first piece of advice I have for people who are considering gall bladder surgery is to get advice before the surgery, not after it, because once you've had the gall bladder removed, your options are quite limited."
"In my experience, more than half the time the gallbladder is taken out, the patient's pain that prompted the surgery still remains."
Joseph Mercola, D.O.
"I've seen many people, however, who suffered from gallbladder pain, had the operation, and then suffered from a postoperative syndrome: the stones were out but they still had pain. And that's pretty aggravating, because their doctor suggested that the stones were the source of the pain. In some cases, the gallbladder is removed only to reveal that it wasn't the source of the pain, that there was some other somatic cause unrelated to whatever stones or sludge might have appeared in the gallbladder."
Ronald Hoffman, M.D.
REMINDER: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL NOR AM I GIVING YOU MEDICAL ADVICE. Please seek the advice of a healthcare provider for real medical advice.