Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Gallbladder; Gallstones cleansing or surgery?

I am experiencing pain from 4 medium gallstones.  Surgery is recommended by the doctor.  A friend is recommending an applejoice and oil cleansing as a non-surgical option.

I am looking for opinions on both options.
Thanks for your help.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
The Liver and Gallbladder Flushes advertized on the Internet are a waste of money and time. They have no thereuputic value. You should check with your doctor to be sure that the flush you are considering does not represent an additional health hazard to you. If not, feel free to try it, with surgery as your last resort once you find that the flush had no benefit.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
Whenever you bring up flushes in this forum, it causes a great deal of backlash.  I have learned that the hard way.  I've done it, even with my doctors approval, but when I discussed my experience with it, there was alot of aversion to the subject.
Avatar universal
I had my gallbaldder removed apprx 12 years ago.  I don't regret it for a moment.  I was in so much discomfort I would have welcomed any type of relief.  I feel great as far as lack of gallbladder is concerned.  The only side effect I have since the surgery is diarrhea after eating.  Believe me, it is very livable and a minor "bump in the road" as far as I'm concerned.  Anymore, they can remove your stones or gallbladder with a laprascope as opposed to a full open surgery where I was in the hospital for a week or better.  Ask your Dr. for more info and good luck to you.
Avatar universal
Some people on this forum will try to make you believe that liver flush has no value. Why? How do they know that? Research? Experience? I don't know! Interesting thing is that those people never tried it themselves, but they are simply basing their respected opinion on other opinions expresed by the other respected people, sometimes doctors,  who also never tried liver flush, and who often never even heard about it. Interesting.. Not a single of my 3 docs knew what flush is all about, but all 3 said that liver flush has no value. How do they know, if they never heard about it? That is a question? I wonder how many things our doctors "know", even they never heard about it?
I am yet to find one single person, who has actually done full liver cleanse, and who claims: "liver flush has no value".
(full cleanse means doing several flushes (several nights), sometimes 3 or 5, sometimes 15 ..., generally until you get 0 stones).  I have done the flush several times, and my health is 20 times better. (That is understatement!). If I was listening to my 3 doctors, (who all wanted to take my gallbladder out), I may have been running to the toilet after every meal, for the reast of my life. Instead, I did cleanse, and I did it well! No more pain, no more symptoms! Need I say anything else? It, for sure, had some value, at least for me, and at least for other people who actually tred it. It, of course cannot have any value for those who never tried it ... "but they simply know!"
Avatar universal
You ask how did your three doctors know liver flushes have no value?

It's called basic science.

I understand the appeal of simplistic miracle cures, but reverting to 17th century medicine isn't the answer. We would all love it if we could make complex problems vanish by waiving a wand. Unfortunately, wishing it were so and reality are two different things.
Avatar universal
Thanks all for your feedback.  It is much appreciated.
Avatar universal
I forgot to mention this:  If you wont to give your liver a great flush do what i did and it works really well. (some hate beets but please try) Go buy some beets and wash them really well, cut the ends off if any but try not to cut into the beet so leave a little stem on it and the tail too. Boil them for about 15-20 mins depending on the size. drain them and let cool and the skin should peel like and egg.  cut them into 1/2 inch slice and mis up some olive oil and redwine vinegar, salt and pepper and eat as many as you can and I did it for a few days for dinner every night.  You will see your urine turning a dark color so dont be scared (unless it goes on for days on in)  Beets can really clean your liver out and they are pretty good with the 4 topping i listed.  You can also boil the leaves in clean water for 5 mins and serve the beets over them as well.  I learned this from some very sweet and kind Greek woman here in Greece and it worked for me.  Gwen
Avatar universal
I have been reading all the Gallbladder stories and I will tell you about my experience so far.  I am 34.  I think back in 1995 I started getting pains in my Duodenum area and I gained 30 pounds in 1 month.  I wondered why? The only thing i had ever taken (medicine) was the "phentermine"  not the phen phen but just the Phentermine.  I think it ruined my body now thinking back.  If any of you have taken it and then started feeling like you had an ulcer and your Gallbladder removed let me know.  But back in 95 I went to the Dr and tehy put me on Prilosec without an upper GI.  I took it for 3 years until i got pregnant with my child.  After having my son i went back on it because i got a gnawing feel in my Duodenum.  I could be having the best time in my life at Disney World and have to stop and eat evey hour.  The food made the pain go away for a whole hour.  But anyway I also bloated after i ate and belched.  My belching was what we call a "vurp"  (when you burp you can taste vomit)  My weight shot up from 140 to 170 in a month and then when i got pregnant i only gained 30 punds and never lost any of it 2 1/2 years later.  I hired a personal trainer and worked my butt off and no results.  I have been on Prozac and many other anti depressants becasue they said i was anxious.  Well I am a Air Force wife and I just moved to Athens, Greece and when i got here my 11 years old was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1 and then 2 months later I had to get my Gallbladder removed.  This is how it all came about. (let me mention I am the 4th American woman that moved to Greece in the last few years that had her Gallbladder removed here in Greece.)  We think it is the Olive oils here or something to do with the food that triggers the stones to start moving around.

I read that most people (woman mainly) have stones and they can be the size of sand to a gold ball.  Well the sand ones can be removed thorugh BM's if you take olived oil with lemon jusice at night and the morning.  Now only one of mine was the size of a birds egg (a robins i would say) and the rest were little.  I swear i at the olive oil and it moved it into the bile duct and caused my pain.

But mine all started on a Wed oct 23 2002 and I had running stools and bad cramps like i had eaten a whole box of exlax.  I thought on well just a 24 hour bug.  Then on Thurs night i had a hard stool and it was darker than usual and at midnight (I never have a BM at midnight)  then i got up to do my daughters insulin shot at 6:30am and I had to urinate so so so bad and when i did it took forever ( a small stream came out)  right after that I had the worst cramps in my right side and i felt dizzy, and was going to throw up until i laid down.  After 30 mintues i had a slight cramp but nothing big.  I went to the hospital (oct 25 2002)and the Greeks love to do test on you so I had and Upper Gi and the rear end deal (not sure of name) they did x rays, blood test and an ultra sound and there they would find several small stones with ULTRSOUND.  They told me i had an option to stay and get surgery at 7pm (Greeks work very late)or go home and return when the attack hits again in weeks, months or years.  I told them i am already prepped to go with IV, Enemas and fasting so lets do it.  Well when they went in they found the BIG STONE that was hidden and I had pus in my gallbladder which is not good.  So make sure they really look the ultra sound over.  Dr Linos is a very good surgeon from the Mayo Clinic/Harvard and he has removed 3000 gallbladders and he could not see the large stone.  Now the surgery left (4) tiny holes in my body and the one is inside my belly button that you cant see but it hurt the most.  The other 3 are below my breast, one on the right side and a small slit where they drained the stomach. Now I had bad shoulder pains from where they blew me up so expect that too the next day after surgery.  I have had a c section and the Laproscopic surgery was half of that for me.  I had a great medical team so i did not get sick from the surgery and they kept ahead of the pain with pain killers.  Now i feel so much better and have not had any trouble and hope i dont like some of you.  I have lost 8 pounds since Oct 25th and I dont have the urge to eat every hour.  I have to make myself eat.  Now i dont eat fat anymore and my BM's are perfect unless i eat a lot of fiber.  Prunes are very dangerous to me now but i still love them to help get me past a sweet tooth.

There is another interesting thing to check into. If you are around 45-50 and when you eat and shortly after you get bloated and gas you may have low stomach acid.  Many people take anti acids when you feel that way ut actually you dont have enough staomch acid to digest the foods you ate and then you go and take an antiacid to take out more of the stomach acid you had left?  There are things you can by to give you more acid before eating.  Go to www.google.com and type in low stomach acid and read all the neat things.  My Mom has it along with Diabetes type 2 and Hypothyroidism.  Her doctor said most 50 years olds have low stomach acid instead of to much so there is something to ponder.  I hope i helped with my experience.  Good luck to all of you and hope you all feel better soon.  Gwen

PS i would fly back from the states to get an operation from Dr Linos, he was great and most Americans here agree.  So dont worry about me here in Greece. It all went better then in the US (really)

Avatar universal
Someone up the board said they would take the minor bumps of occasional diarrhea post surgery.  I had my gall bladder removed 18 months ago and have been in misery until only recently.  I couldn't leave my house without planning on being near a toilet.  I have had to run out of my classes while teaching, praying to make it to the toilet before soiling my panties.

For me, dumping is cyclical, but not predictable.  Once it starts, it lasts a month or more, and it happens every three to 6 months,  At every bout I lose another 10 pounds.  I went from a pre-removal chunky 170 lbs. (I'm 5'4'') to 125 lbs.  Sound good?  Not to me.  While I admit I love fitting into a size 6 again, I would rather be 150 and healthy.  Post-surgery dumping is life limiting.  I have had to reduce my teaching load to 1/2 time, perhaps permanently marking myself as a weak link in my department.  

Most doctors will have you believe that surgical complications are rare, only 1%.  They say, once symptomatic, you have a risk of developiong a bile duct blockage if you retain your gall bladder.  Incidentally, upon further probing, I was told this risk was also put at 1%.  They never tell you that you may be debilitated.  Read other entries on this board and you'll find countless patients who suffer far worse complications. Lacking concrete evidence from inconclusive tests, most doctors will try to ascribe the diarrhea to IBS.  After many months of shoddy medical interventions, I finally was referred to a specialist at Virginia Mason in Seattle.  He informed me that 20% of cholecystectomy patients experience this "post-cholecystectomy syndrome", which is a Greek way of saying you get chronic diarrhea because of the unregulated dripping of bile into the system.  Honestly, I wish I had tried soem sort of flush before surgery.  

Basic Science has nothing to do with doctors' rejection of the flush.  However, it's probably fair to say there is a lack of basic science.  When controlled studies are not performed, you can't call it "science".  But scientific inquiry takes its cue from empiciral observation.  It seems that a number of people who perform these flushes feel better afterward.  On the other hand, anecdotal reports suggest that a certain percent of those who attempt the flush increase the risk of moving those stones into the various tight spots along the common bile duct, leading to a potentially life threating case of pancreatitis.  I'm not into conspiracy theories, but in our market driven economy, there is no strong motivation for researchers to study interventions that will not yield a profit for the medical industry.  Who would conduct such a study?  Who would fund it?  Where would the researchers find subjects willing to perform a flush, with the caveat that if unsuccessful, they may need emergency surgery, with all its associated risks?

Let me give you another example.  I asked my doctors why I was forming gall stones in the first place?  Not one has given me a straight answer.  I asked why my body chemistry was doing this, and if there was any research into preventing their formation by altering my diet.  I know that when I pose these sorts of questions to my doctors, they either want to put me on Prozac, or they look me in the eye and say something to the effect of, "We really don't know.  There aren't a lot of studies out there yet."  Medicine is an evolving science.  Much of what we now consider common sense was not even on the radar 20 - 50 years ago.

So for the doctors reading this, here's another bit of anectodal information to chew on.  I am also of Greek origin, and my diet is a mix of Greek and international cuisine.  Most of my female relatives living in the US have developed gall stones.  We eat a lot of spanakopita -can't get enough of the stuff, but our diet is more eclectic than our ancestors'.  I recently read that spinach is high in oxalic acid, which, in combination with certain enzymes present in cheese, reacts with the alkalinity of bile to cause bile salts to crystalize.  Could the fact that many of us Greek-Americans still eat such spinach-cheese delicacies in abundance have something to do with it, especially since we generally don't consume nearly as much bile-moving olive oil as our Greek villager relatives do?  Beleive me, if I were to discover that something as simple as changing my diet could saved me such misery, I would do it in a heart beat.

And incidentally, out of utter frustration with conventional medicine, I started searching for alternatives. I read numerous studies from the online NIH Library that milk thistle, among other things, changes the composition of bile.  I started grinding and consuming the herb, and voila, after an initial three days of loose stools and a one month trial, I have been regular ever since, regained 5 pounds, and feel great for the first time in 18 months.  My story is not science, but no one can tell me I imagined this.  Still, I would much rather take my cues form my family doctor than to try to be my own diagnostician.  All I can say, after this long ramble, is keep searching for answers that make sense to you, and don't let someone invoke the name of science when they really mean, "we haven't really asked that question yet".
Avatar universal
A related discussion, Should I have gallbladder surgery was started.
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem