To understand what the gallbladder sludge is and what type of ailments this mysterious term is causing, we need to take a closer look at the bile and its components. The word bile comes from the Latin term biliaris, which translates to “yellow gold”. The term “sludge” refers to sediment composed of various particles such as exfoliated gallbladder epidermis, calcium and sodium salts, bile acids and pigments, cholesterol, bilirubin, and mucus. All of these form a gallbladder sludge, a condition that in certain circumstances will progress into solid deposits, known as gallstones. It is worth mentioning that while gallstones will usually mark their presence with various symptoms, the gallbladder sludge may remain undetected for long periods of time. In fact, in most cases, people discover it accidentally, during the unrelated ultrasound test.
What Causes Gallbladder Sludge?
The mechanism of gallbladder sludge formation is quite simple and has been described in detail by physiologists. It starts with insufficiently concentrated bile, that accumulates in the gallbladder. It is then subjected to extraction (to get rid of extra fluids). During this process, excessed levels of bilirubin or cholesterol are automatically reduced by removing it as a thick concentrate. But because this sediment is heavier than bile, it sinks to the bottom of the gallbladder, and with an occurrence of insufficient gallbladder contractions, the sludge can not be expelled. From this point, the mass of gallbladder sludge would gradually increase and compress, remaining on the bottom of the gallbladder.
To sum it up, among the main pathogenic mechanisms involved in sludge formation, we would distinct:
- Impaired Bile Concentration
- Insufficient Gallbladder Contractions
Among the risk factors, we can point to :
- Long-term use of certain types of antibiotics
- Hormonal Treatments
- Oral Contraceptives
- Irregular Meals
- Bad Dietary Habits
Are There Any Symptoms?
The bad news is that in most cases, gallbladder sludge will be completely asymptomatic. Unfortunately, without taking any action to eliminate it, it will surely make an” excellent” basis for gallstones to form. And as you probably know, gallbladder stones will mark their presence with the clear, unpleasant and hard to overlook symptoms.
We might risk saying that the minority of patients that actually suffer from some minor gallbladder sludge symptoms are in fact “lucky”. Once you are able to identify and diagnose the gallbladder sludge in the early stages, you can successfully manage it and prevent it from progressing into full-blown cholelithiasis. So take a closer look at some of the signs that might point to this condition:
- The pain of Varying Intensity in the right upper quadrant.
- Decreased Appetite and Various Food Aversions
- Occasional Nausea (mainly during the day)
- Occasional Vomiting
- Diarrhea or Constipation
How to Get Rid Of Gallbladder Sludge?
Finally, we have some good news. There are many ways to treat and improve gallbladder’s condition and reduce or even eliminate the sludge. Very few patients would need the surgery, as this treatment would only be recommended in case of frequent and repetitive biliary colic episodes. For the rest, diet and natural medicine come to rescue.
The herbal treatment has proved not only to efficiently reduce the amount of gallbladder sludge but also to prevent it in the future. However, keep in mind that before taking off with any treatment, you should discuss it with a healthcare specialist.
The main goals to achieve in the treatment of gallbladder sludge is to:
Increase Bile Production with Choleretic Agents
You have to make sure that a proper amount of bile travels through the gallbladder and intestines. This will help to literally “flush out” gallbladder sludge. Here is where choleretics, the substances that increase the volume of secretion of bile should be introduced. Here are some choleretic herbs to consider, available at Amazon:
Artichoke is a powerful choleretic agent that is able to increase bile production and improve its flow. It is commonly used in the gallbladder and biliary tract disorders, and it is a good choice as a gallbladder treatment support.
Extracts of the dandelion root will facilitate bile production and flow. Dandelion supplements are commonly used in gallbladder disease treatments.
Liquify and Move the bile with Cholagogic Agents
Along with assuring the proper amount of bile, you need to take care of its effective flow and mobility. Cholagogues are the substances to take care of that. They promote the discharge of bile from the system – keeping it flowing out of your gallbladder. In terms of naturally flushing out the gallbladder sludge, this is crucial.
Here are some choices of cholagogues substances that may support the gallbladder sludge elimination.
Silymarin- a Milk Thistle active substance shows a strong protective effect on liver cells, while also having anti-inflammatory, choleretic and cholagogic effects. It reduces the cholesterol levels in bile and improves its composition, preventing gallstone formation.
Turmeric is an excellent choice in gallbladder sludge treatment. It increases the solubility of bile and may improve digestion and overall body cleanse.
Improve Bile Composition With Proper Diet
The composition and quality of bile depend directly on what and how we eat. Our dietary choices impact the quality and composition of bile. If the proper ratio of bile components is maintained the bile flows smoothly into the duodenum through the bile ducts. If the bile composition is somehow impaired, cholesterol crystals start to combine with calcium salts, making the room for gallbladder sludge formation.
You can read more on how to support gallbladder treatment with the proper diet here: