You had gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) because you were experiencing pain under your ribs in the right upper part of your stomach. You were told that laparoscopic surgery is relatively fast and simple, ambulatory, less invasive and risky, and a more cosmetically acceptable operation. This is correct. In Latin “cholecyst” means gallbladder, “ectomy” means removal and it is now the most common abdominal surgery performed in the U.S. Over 750,000 such operations are performed annually.
You were told that the gallbladder exists only as a storage container for bile and that it is not an important organ and that everyone can live without one. You were told that after gallbladder removal your pain would stop and you would not have any digestive discomfort.
This is not exactly correct because, according to current medical literature, cholecystectomy does not relieve gallbladder pain in 10% to 33% of people and medical statistics show that approximately 20% of people without gallbladders continue to have symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain and cramps, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, fatty food intolerance, etc. Symptoms after cholecystectomy may persist for many months, or even years. The medical term for this is postcholecystectomy syndrome.
The possibility of these symptoms remaining after surgery does not depend on the talent of the surgeon or the quality of the medical equipment used; by the way, these are excellent in most cases. Pain and indigestion often continues even after the removal of the gallbladder. Understanding the functions of both the gallbladder and bile may give us a clue about what needs to be done to minimize the symptoms after gallbladder surgery.
The liver produces bile, a thick, bitter tasting fluid, in a network of ducts, which move the bile into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The common bile duct merges into the pancreatic duct, which releases pancreatic juices. The mixture of bile and pancreatic juices go through the muscle valve that manages release of these fluids from the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas into the small intestine. This strategic valve is called the Sphincter of Oddi.
When the gallbladder squeezes out bile, the Sphincter of Oddi opens. When this sphincter is closed the bile is redirected into the gallbladder that then expands like a balloon; the gallbladder has a buffer function to prevent the increasing pressure inside the bile ducts. Branches of nerves, which surround the gallbladder and digestive hormones, regulate this very complicated partnership. After surgery, this buffer function is lost and along with it the proper regulation of the sphincter of Oddi. Almost 20 percent of patients after cholecystectomy can suffer from sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. Spasms of this valve cause high pressure in the bile duct resulting in pain and enlargement of bile ducts.
In a healthy person, bile travels from the liver into the gallbladder. In the gallbladder, bile is concentrated for digesting fats. Bile consists of water, bicarbonate, minerals, soluble bile acids, bile pigments, cholesterol, and lecithin. In addition, human being eliminates through bile the different fat-soluble toxic substances, such as heavy metals, poisonous chemicals, medications, etc.
Bile is an alkaline fluid with a pH in the 7.0-8.0 range. Maintaining this range is critical because acidic changes and lessening pH create an increase and concentration of the insoluble, very aggressive bile acids. These extremely irritated, corroded substances, as concentrated detergents, cause gallbladder inflammation and gallbladder stones.
This is a very important point. Concentrated, aggressive acidic bile collected in the gallbladder is the cause of almost all gallbladder problems. The gallbladder is where the initial damage starts. After gallbladder removal, the aggressive, acidic, liver bile creates injury of the bile ducts, pancreatic duct, sphincter of Oddi and the duodenum causing inflammation, spasms, and ulcers.
Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction leads to spasm of this valve; therefore, aggressive, acidic bile irritates the pancreatic and bile ducts. In turn, it can cause pain and burning sensations in the upper right or left abdominal area. In the case of Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, this valve may open at the wrong period when there is no food in the duodenum. At this time, aggressive, acidic, liver bile burns and corrodes the intestinal walls. Jerky, spasmodic contractions of the duodenal walls regurgitate the concentrated bile acids in the stomach and or the esophagus causing persistent heartburn, stomach inflammation, gastritis, ulcers, and eventually cancer.
When acidic bile with these aggressive, insoluble bile acids moves down through the intestines, they cause chronic diarrhea and increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Once the bile has become acidic, it loses its natural ability to promote digestion of fats, which can lead to the intolerance of fatty foods and a deficiency of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. It can cause people without gallbladders to experience uncomfortable symptoms in other parts of the body.
Another condition that can occur after gallbladder surgery is dysbiosis (Candida-yeast overgrowth, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth; SIBO). The eating habits and lifestyle choices that led to the surgery often remain after gallbladder surgery. Sugar, fried and processed foods, and alcohol coupled with a sedentary life style, environmental chemicals, and some medications negatively affect intestinal bacteria. Overgrowth of Candida-yeast can cause damage in the digestive, nervous, and hormonal systems and neuropathic pain of the inner organs.
There are various reasons for the pain resulting after gallbladder surgery and a holistic approach with a focus on the root cause is necessary in order to treat these problems. Natural, non-drug treatment for pain has to be complex and can include various alternative healing methods. Some of them are:
– Customized healing diet
– Drinking healing mineral water prepared from genuine Karlovy Vary thermal spring salt
– Herbal and nutritional supplementation
– European whole body cleansing, colon hydrotherapy
– Restoration of friendly intestinal flora
– Abdominal massage
– Relaxation, medical hypnosis, custom hypnosis CD, and more
This natural treatment makes liver bile alkaline and liquid. It also can help with spasms or looseness of the sphincter of Oddi; sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, irritation of the bile ducts and bile reflux. Alkalinity of the bile and pancreatic juices promotes proper digestion and alleviates pain. It can restore the balance between beneficial bacteria and opportunistic infection (harmful bacteria, yeast, parasites), can decrease pain, cramps, gas, heartburn, and diarrhea.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder has been a common procedure since the 19th century. Since that time, European doctors have used medical diets, herbs, massage, and healing mineral water for treatment of the complications after this surgery. Drinking healing mineral water has been very popular in Europe by patients after gallbladder removal. The most well known is mineral water from the thermal spring in the small Czech town Karlovy Vary. European doctors recommended drinking this water either from the thermal spring or preparing it at home from genuine Karlovy Vary thermal spring salt.
Medical research supports the therapeutic action of the Karlovy Vary healing mineral water. European doctors consider that drinking this mineral water is beneficial for numerous liver, pancreatic, and intestinal disorders. It alkalinizes the body’s fluids, improves digestion, and alleviates abdominal pain, spasms, diarrhea and heartburn.
Acupuncture is another non-drug alternative method of treating problems after gallbladder surgery. Few people know that acupuncture can be very useful in digestive disorders, abdominal pain, and chronic diarrhea. Many medical articles from countries where acupuncture treatment is widely used and my personal experience confirm that acupuncture can alleviate the pain in postcholecystectomy syndrome.
All abdominal surgeries cause adhesions that restrict movement of the intestinal organs. Gentle, professional abdominal massage can reduce the pain and open passages.
Finally, the postcholecystectomy syndrome can manifest even in the many years after surgery and it is not easy to diagnose and treat. Therefore, safe and effective, natural, non-drug methods of alternative medicine may be used alone or in combination with conventional medicine to reduce pain and digestive abnormalities.
Self-treatment is risky; the goal is to find a knowledgeable, licensed practitioner.
The information contained here is presented for educational, informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.