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Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Is genetic gallbladder disease preventable?

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Question
Hello! There wasn't a specific gallbladder section for me to ask this, but this is the closest I could find.
I am a healthy 18 year old female. I am 5'7 and weigh 128 pounds. However, for the past few years, I've suffered from very mild gallbladder pain..it usually only occurs when I consume fatty or processed foods, and the pain is just a dull ache around the area of my gallbladder that doesn't last for more than 15 minutes. I have never had an attack and it is not acute pain. My family has a history of gallbladder problems, most of which resulted in removal, leading me to believe that it is genetic.
My concern is that I am subject to this disease, which is why I am experiencing mild pain now. My question is, is there any way to prevent gallbladder disease at this stage, through either dietary means or medication? I would like to keep it healthy as long as possible. Also, what does it mean to have only mild gallbladder pain exclusively? Is that an indication of disease?
Thank you!

Answer
Hi Lucy - I am so sorry, this is really outside my area. I'd make an appointment with both a GI doc and a dietitian and see if they can give you good info here.

In general, I believe you are on the right track, in that the lower your fat intake (especially animal fats) the more you can lessen your risk of gallbladder problems. If I had to guess I'd say that vegans probably have the lowest risk of gallbladder issues. You might check a book like Campbell's the China Study, which has an assessment of very large scale, worldwide, diet/health disease comparisons.

You might also use peppermint, which increases bile production. That can help with gallbladder issues, so it might help prevent issues as well. Again, I'm not sure.

Best,
Heather

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous

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I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!

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I'm the founder and CEO of HelpForIBS.com, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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M.A. 1996
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Eating for IBS Finalist for an IACP Julia Child Cookbook Award 2001

Eating for IBS #17 on the Library Journal's Cookbook Bestseller list for 2000






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