Urban Moonshine Citrus Bitters. A great natural remedy for gallbladder sludge and stones.

Natural Remedy for Gallbladder Sludge and Stones

A loyal reader Letty asked me if I had any solutions for gallbladder sludge and stones – which is a great question.  This is an issue that troubles so many people, especially women and many make the tough decision about having surgery, partly because they don’t know about other options. First let’s talk a little bit about gallbladders in general and then we’ll get to why they get sludgy and what you can do about it.

What Is A Gallbladder Anyway?

Your gallbladder sits tucked underneath your liver under the bottom of your rib cage on the right side of your body.  Your liver manufactures bile, which helps you to digest fats and also helps you to eliminate fat-soluble toxins. This bile passes through a duct, which is a narrow tube, into your gallbladder.  Your gallbladder helps to reabsorb water from the bile to make it stronger and more concentrated. Your gallbladder also holds this bile and stores it until you eat something fatty.  When fatty foods enter your stomach your stomach releases signaling molecules that tell you gallbladder to contract, and as it contracts it squeezes that concentrated bile through another duct into your small intestines to help with digestion. For this system to work properly three factors need to be in place.

  1. Your liver has to be in good working order
  2. Your gallbladder has to be free to contract (not filled with sludge and stones)
  3. The ducts between liver and gallbladder and gallbladder and intestines must be clear from obstructions, which are usually sludge or stones.
Gallbladder location and connection to liver- natural remedies for gallbladder sludge and stones.

Gallbladder location and connection to liver- natural remedies for gallbladder sludge and stones.

What Happens in a Gallbladder Attack?

When people have a gallbladder attack it is usually an event they won’t forget for a while.  What is happening is that your gallbladder gets the signal to contract to squeeze out bile, but something is in the way – usually either sludge or stones.  The sludge or stones can be in the gallbladder itself or they can be blocking one of the ducts.  Either way, when the gallbladder squeezes down on something like this, it hurts.  It hurts in a really vivid way. Usually people report severe pain after eating that can cause sweating, nausea or even vomiting.  A lot of time people will take themselves to the ER because it’s really easy to confuse this type of pain with heart attack pain. Your body keeps squeezing to try to dislodge the sludge or stones, which just keeps hurting, and a lot of times the only thing that really makes it feel better is morphine (or surgery).

Why are the Sludge and Stones There In The First Place?

If you are actively losing weight, if your body has a lot of fat soluble toxins to deal with, if your diet is higher in fat than it should be or if you’re going through hormone fluctuations then sometimes there is just more fat than there is bile.  What can happen in this situation is that the fat and bile bind together to form a sludgy, gluey substance that gets thicker and stickier and eventually clogs up the gallbladder and ducts.  Within that sludgy mixture stones can begin to form and grow and the stones can also block ducts – sometimes requiring emergency surgery if they’re blocking a duct completely. Essentially the sludge is just thick, heavy fats that your body couldn’t deal with properly.

How Can I Get Rid of Gallbladder Sludge and Stones Naturally?

The key to getting rid of sludge and stones is doing four things at the same time.

  1. Increase bile production – Stimulate your liver production of bile or actually take bile salts to make sure that lots of bile is flowing through the gallbladder and intestines.
  2. Liquify and Move the Bile – Keeping the bile liquid and moving quickly so it can start to wash out the preexisting sludge and stones.
  3. Shrink the Stones – If there are stones there, then we have to make them smaller so that they wash out easily. If you suspect stones I would suggest making an appointment with your doctor to see how many there are and how big they are.
  4. Dump the Bile – Once bile gets dumped into your intestines it’s out of the gallbladder, but a lot of times we reabsorb that same bile from our intestines to use again, because we’re just hoarders by nature. In this scenario you have to make sure as much bile as possible is actually leaving your body.

Increasing Bile Production – Choleretic

Increasing the amount of bile produced to help your body flush out gallbladder sludge and stones. Substances that do this are called “choleretics” and fortunately there are some great options out there, and lots of them are foods.  My favorite foods that increase bile production are artichokes – you can actually feel your saliva production increase when you eat them, and that same response is happening with bile. Young beet greens and possibly the beets themselves help too. Herbal bile flow stimulants include chamomile, chicory, blessed thistle, and many of the bitter herbs.  In terms of finding products, I love digestive bitters before each meal (right now I’m addicted to some from Urban Moonshine – their citrus bitters are the bomb!) Another great way to go is Standard Process A-F Betafood, which makes everything nice and simple, or Panplex 2-Phase from ITI which is a strong digestive complex with ox bile in it.




Urban Moonshine Citrus Bitters. A great natural remedy for gallbladder sludge and stones.

Urban Moonshine Citrus Bitters. A great natural remedy for gallbladder sludge and stones.

Liquify and Move the Bile – Cholagogue

Choagogues promote discharge of bile from the system – keeping it moving downward out of your liver and gallbladder and into your small intestines. In terms of naturally eliminating gallbladder sludge and stones this is key! Again, all of your bitter foods will stimulate bile flow so adding raw bitter greens like arugula and some of the bitter lettuces or dandelion greens will help. In terms of supplements the digestive bitters are a great idea here too, or liver support products.  Some of my favorites include Milk Thistle from Gaia herbs, Lipotrophic complex from ITI or Livaplex from Standard Process.

Shrink The Gallstones

Shrinking gallstones can be tricky naturally, just because we can’t actually break things up, we have to just slowly dissolve them from the surface. This is a long prospect. Essentially we need things that are acidic enough to leech calcium out of stones – but be careful because they’re usually also acidic enough to leech calcium out of your teeth so rinse your mouth out with water after you take them so the acid doesn’t stay on your teeth. My favorites are Standard Process Phosfood liquid – it’s super sour but works great to start shrinking stones.  Apple cider vinegar before meals is a great strategy too.




Dump The Bile

We want to prevent the bile that your body is dumping into your small intestines from being reabsorbed. This means binding it to something like fiber so that you can’t reabsorb it at all.  Fiber a couple of times per day between meals (with lots of water to also help you flush things through). I really like Fiber Plus powder from Orthomolecular because it’s a good blend of soluble and insoluble fiber and tastes great (apple cinnamon) plus it’s a high dose in every scoop. There are also gallbladder cleanses but they aren’t safe for everyone.  You can read more about gallbladder cleanses here.

Now hopefully you have a better understanding of what you’re trying to do when you’re cleaning out liver and gallbladder sludge and stones, but if you have any questions or comments just leave them here and I’ll get back to you.  The natural methods do work, but if a stone gets lodged in a duct then that is actually a medical emergency and requires emergency surgery so go to the ER if you need to.. Don’t worry – if that happens you won’t miss it.  It’s excruciating pain and often jaundice.  Otherwise, naturally eliminating your gallbladder sludge and stones is a great way to go. In general incorporating more of the gallbladder and liver friendly foods into your diet would help almost everyone.



275 thoughts on “Natural Remedy for Gallbladder Sludge and Stones

  1. Ellen

    Hello,
    I recently had my first baby 5 months ago. About 3 months ago I had sever pain in my abdomen region. My husband rushed me to the emergency room. They initially thought I had pancreatitis because my enzymes were elevated. They did an ultrasound and found that my gallbladder contained many small “sand like” stones. They referred me to a surgeon and recommended the gallbladder be removed. I was very hesistant on doing this. About a month later I had another “attack”. Had a second opinion from another surgeon which of course, he suggested the gallbladder be removed. I’m concerned with doing any of these cleanses because I’m afraid a stone will get lodged. I was also concerned that these stone were formed due to the hormones of pregnancy. Can they be resolved? Will my body continue to make these stones? Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Ellen,
      Yes – more than likely your gallbladder sand is related to the pregnancy hormones. It’s one of the most common causes simply because the massive hormone shifts of pregnancy are pretty hard on your body. They can be resolved, but it’s a slow process. I completely agree with not doing a cleanse for the stones – honestly the risk of a stone lodging just isnt’ worth it. Also if you’re breastfeeding the cleanse isn’t safe because toxins will get passed on to your baby. The best method is just slow and steady – dietary changes (as in this article that you’ve posted to), lots of water, castor oil topically.

      Reply
  2. W

    A few months ago, I started having random pains in my gallbladder area that come and go. I went to the doctor, ultrasound was normal other than a small polyp in the gallbladder. My ALT liver enzyme was mildly elevated at 122, has since dropped to 63. It had always been normal until this started. My HIDA scan was 88%, which they said could be overactive and causing symptoms, but could also be normal for me. A surgeon said the gallbladder could be removed if the pain continued, but only a 50/50 shot that it would relieve my symptoms. Obviously I would like to keep it if possible. Is there any way to calm the gallbladder down so it stops being overactive?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi W.
      Honestly, I”d try a food sensitivity elimination. Sometimes if you’re eating a food that doesn’t agree with your body then it causes inflammation through the GI tract, or wherever you’re most vulnerable. Eliminating an irritating food might help to decrease that inflammation. Also be sure to monitor the polyp with your doctor just to make sure that it doesn’t turn into anything more serious. I’d love to know what happens for you!

      Reply
  3. Gerald

    Help please, how does one get rid of cholesterolosis (Polyps in the gallbladder)

    Im trying many things, stuck on diet though,which one to choose, I also have GERD/Hiatus Hernia, leaky gut also

    Doe someone have any ideas, thankyou

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Gerald,
      Unfortunately the only option I know of for polyps is surgery. 🙁 For the hiatal hernia there is a great physical adjustment that can help if the hernia is mild – call around to your local chiropractors, they can show you the first time and probably teach you to do it at home. For the leaky gut the best thing is to try an elimination diet to find your particular food sensitivities. I hope this helps and good luck!

      Reply
  4. Heather

    Hi, I was wondering if this helps with gallbladder ejection fraction? I have sludge, which I have had in the past and then didn’t have an issue with for years. Now it has come back and my ejection fraction is only 14%, when normal is above 35%. I meet with a surgeon next week, but was curious to see if you have heard of improving GBEF? I can’t seem to find answers to that question. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Heather,
      It can help with ejection fraction if sludge is the issue. If there are polyps or stones obstructing the duct then probably not so much. Typically though I see it improve greatly.

      Reply
  5. Shannon Bradshaw

    I have gall bladder sludge and read about your suggestion to take bitters. Are there any products out there without alcohol?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Shannon,
      Great question! The only one I know of is Maria’s Swedish Bitters by Flora (it’s great!) In general I like Flora’s products. The other option if that doesn’t look good to you, is to put the dose of bitters into a cup of hot water, which will help most of the alcohol to evaporate. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it eliminates most of the alcohol from the formula.

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Is gallbladder sludge linked to your gut bacteria? | To Health With That!

  7. kelly

    My wife has no gallbladder, but has problems of getting sludge in her bile duct. She just had a stint removed and now 3 weeks later is starting to have the same pain again. I’m guessing it’s building up again. So what can she do to prevent this. The doctor has like 10 medicines she’s supposed to take, but she don’t want to do all that because of complications the meds cause. So is there dietary changes she can make or a supplement that might prevent these things?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Kelly,
      The biggest thing is dietary and lifestyle change, as per the article you’re commenting on. If she’s already made those changes then you could consider looking for food intolerances, which can contribute or maybe talking to her doctor about which of those medications are most important. If the doctor has given her anything that will enhance or supplement her bile production that might be tremendously useful. Also sometimes prescriptions she is already taking can contribute to sludge build-up so it might be helpful to review those with her physician. Anything she can do to make more bile or keep it more liquid will help so supporting her liver function is probably priority two (after diet changes – priority one.) I’d love to know how it goes!

      Reply
  8. Luis

    Hey I’ve done the flush before with success but the last couple times for some reason I can’t go to sleep cause I’m up all night in the restroom due to the epsom salt mix. So I never get the results I want and if anything it makes things worse than before. Any advice??

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Good question Supreet!
      Eating any fats will stimulate the gallbladder to empty, even if it’s “low fat” but still has some fat content. The sludge builds up because when bile salts are binding with fats there has to be enough salts to emulsify the fats properly. If there isn’t enough bile salts or if there is too much fat then half-emulsified fats begin to build up. This usually doesn’t happen all at once, these half emulsified fats build up over time. Does this make sense?

      Reply
  9. Meghan

    My husband had severe pancreatitis this past July. He was in the hospital for 6 days. They told him he had some sludge in his gallbladder but it could have been from him not being able to eat for the first 4 days when he was there. After they did and endoscopy they found that he had sludge built up in his bile duct, so they performed an ERCP and placed temporary stints in his pancreas and bile duct. What would you suggest as a regimen to help prevent formation or build up of sludge?

    Reply
      1. amyneuzil Post author

        Hi Meghan,
        The bitters are all good combinations of bitter herbs, there might be minor differences in the formulas but at the end of the day they’re all bitters and they all do the same thing.

        Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Meghan,
      I’m hoping that your husband’s doctors suggested some type of protocol, but generally a clean diet with lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, reasonably low fat intake and certainly no fried foods. Also lots of water to flush everything through. Outside of that because he has the stents and a more complicated situation (with the pancreatitis) I’d stick to what his doctor suggested. I hope it all goes well!

      Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Alysha,
      I’m not married to any particular products, but in a B vitamin complex make sure the folic acid is 5-L methyltetrahydrofolate (total mouthful, I know) – this could be any by Pure Encapsulations, Thorne Research and a variety of other companies. For Fish Oils I look for clean products that have been independently tested to be free from mercury and other contaminants. I’ve had good luck with Nordic Naturals products. And curcumin it’s important to get the form that is bound to a phospholipid – otherwise absorption is really low. This form is patented and is called “Meriva” – again many companies sell it in the meriva form, so you can shop around but the one I typically use is Thorne Research. I hope this helps!

      Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Gail,
      Honestly, it’s different for every person, but I’d say until you can eat normally with no symptoms. Often it’s 6 months or more, but just listen to your body. Honestly, most people never get back to any kind of fried food diet, so some of it is long-term.

      Reply
  10. Alysha

    Had spinal tumor surgery less than 2 yrs ago. Since then I have numbness in both hands and left side of body. Balance remains somewhat off. Sx c2 to c7. Any natural remedies? I took no meds before or after sx. Thanks

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Alysha,
      Do the doctors think it’s nerve damage from the surgery itself? If that’s the case then honestly it just takes a really long time (if ever) for those nerves to heal. A good B complex can help, and anything anti-inflammatory like fish oil or cur cumin, but mostly it’s time. Good luck!

      Reply
  11. Hannah Ransom

    Thank you so much for this article. I am 21 weeks pregnant, 30, totally normal weight, eat very well (And by that I mean whole foods, organic, avoiding foods I am allergic/sensitive to – even during pregnancy!), and going CRAZY because I started having pain which I am almost 100% sure is gallbladder related. A big ‘ol “Why me?” basically, when I look at how well I eat, exercise, avoid endocrine disruptors, etc.

    So far, my pain has not been THAT severe. Definitely no nausea and vomiting, but it’s VERY uncomfortable. Sits right where my gallbladder is located and sometimes radiates straight through my back, too, but I feel it a lot in my ribs.

    I’m very naturally minded and haven’t even had a fetal ultrasound during this pregnancy, and the thought of going to a conventional doctor sounds awful right about now.

    I want to be able to eat fats, obviously, for calories and the health of the baby. Is there anything else I can specifically do as a pregnant person? I am currently doing apple cider vinegar and apple juice and only eating small amounts of fat spaced out (I’m still testing to see what/how much I react to). I just started doing some extra fiber today before I read your article (psyllium husk). I’ll look into a good digestive enzyme/bile salts, and I’ll start taking my bitters again (I actually have the same brand you mentioned but they are the green one which is safe for pregnancy).

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Hannah,
      Congratulations about the pregnancy! It’s so exciting. Honestly you’re doing everything right – you’re starting all of the things that are safe for pregnancy, and everything else will have to wait until you’re done with both pregnancy and nursing. And as for the “why me” moment – pregnancy, no matter how healthy, is one big ball of changing hormones so even if you have the cleanest gallbladder in the world going into it, it’s really easy to get sludgy. One thing that I found helpful in my pregnancy (I also had the gallbladder pain) was flax meal. I just added a tablespoon or so to my oatmeal in the morning and I’d try for a second one in the evening (although that didn’t always happen). It helps because it’s a good fiber, but it also has healthy lignans which help your body to eliminate the extra hormones. It’s not a perfect solution, but it helped for me. Great idea with spacing out your fats and honestly, it sounds like you’re totally on top of it. Sadly this is one of those cases where even if you do everything right, sometimes your body has symptoms.

      Reply
  12. Neety

    Hi Dr. Amy,
    Thank you for all the advice. It’s very helpful. What I do want to contribute is that I had my gallbladder removed a while ago. And this year I actually had an attack with the same kind of pain. I went to the ER and the doctor told me I can still have the same attack from the sludge that formed crystal and is trying to pass my bile duct. Now I’m taking Ursodial every day to make sure it dissolves anything that may form or try to pass. I am dieting and trying to get rid of some weight now and am worried that due to the weight loss I’ll have sludge that will make me go through all this again and am hoping the Ursodial helps avoid that. But I’m going to take your advice and incorporate fiber and apple cider and bitters in my diet in hopes of getting rid of sludge before it hurts me. I hope I have all this right. Any other input you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Jim

    Hello Dr. Amy,

    I had been feeling discomfort on my right side (like a weighty feeling when I stand up) over the past month and finally decided to have it checked out. Dr. sent me in for ultrasound and they found sludge build-up in my gall bladder. Of course the general surgeon wants to take out my gall bladder but I came across this website and decided to try naturally ridding my gall bladder of the sludge.
    I have started with the apple cider vinegar mix and will receive the Moon Shine Citrus Bitters this evening along with modifying my diet to include a lot more veggies/fruit, lemon water, oatmeal, green tea to start.
    I do have a couple of questions,
    1) How long before you can expect to see results if you stick to the cleansing process?
    2) Is the Apple Cider Vinegar and Bitters enough along with the food list you mentioned in Christopher’s post enough?
    3) What’s the best way to approach workouts? I had been losing about 1lb/week doing cardio and weights along with eating right.
    4) And lastly, I have not seen any mention of no alcohol, or is that a given not to drink any alcohol, primarily Red Wine?

    My pain is more discomfort at this point but would like to rid it all together and avoid surgery. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and information.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jim,
      I’m so glad you’re giving it a try! So – most people following the diet etc… will notice a difference in the first month, but it’s actually harder (in the short term) when you’re losing weight! Weight loss is one of the things that triggers gallbladder sludge because your body is trying to process all of those extra fats that are being liberated along with any fat-soluble toxins that are hidden within them. It’s a lot of work and so while you’re losing weight it’s a good sign if the discomfort holds steady and doesn’t get worse. So technically it’s improvement, but it may not feel that way for a while. In the long run it makes it much easier because your body IS doing the work, so once the weight loss stops and you reach a stable weight things will clear out reasonably easily because it is all still happening there in the background. The question as to whether this is “enough” depends on the person. For many it’s enough, but I’ve seen cases where a stronger protocol is needed – although for those I suggest working with a practitioner just to make sure things are going the way they should be. And your weight loss sounds perfect so whatever you’re doing for workouts sounds like it’s working. Just generally though I always suggest men do something that builds muscle – it’s important for women too, but for men so much of your hormone balance is tied to the ratio of muscle to fat tissue. So that could be weight lifting, or my personal favourite which is bodyweight exercises. Here’s a list of bodyweight exercises that don’t take a lot of time and can be done anywhere – I love that. As for alcohol – it does put a burden on the liver so if you do choose to drink do so in moderation. Some people notice discomfort specifically after drinking and if that’s the case then give it up completely until things are cleared out a bit. Good luck and give us an update if you get a chance!

      Reply
  14. Heather

    I am 10 weeks pregnant with my first and found myself in the ER last week with severe upper abdominal pain unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. Multiple doses of morphine and other narcotics hardly touched the pain, and I vomited violently for a full day unable to keep anything (not even water) down. An ultrasound revealed sludge in the gallbladder and removal of the gallbladder has been recommended once I’m in the second trimester. A general surgeon at the hospital said I had a gallbladder attack.

    I’ve never had any sort of digestive problems in the past and have always been quite regular. Pre-pregnancy I exercised vigorously on a regular basis and maintained a pretty healthy/balanced diet. This pregnancy has already been pretty rough and I have not been able to exercise since I was about 6 weeks due to heavy bleeding experienced in the 6th week and my OB wanting to be careful to avoid a miscarriage. I also experience severe nausea from the pregnancy daily, which means I have found it difficult to eat and eat well. For reference I am nearly 31 years old.

    I have read a few things that have suggested if pregnancy/hormones are the cause of gallbladder sludge that sometimes the problems disappear after pregnancy. What are your thoughts and experience with this? I’m a bit limited in what I can do to treat this naturally as I’ve been told that most supplements and herbal remedies have not been sufficiently studied in conjunction with pregnancy to know how safe they are. On the contrary, I don’t want to have surgery while pregnant if there are other possible resolutions. All that being said, I’ve never been more miserable in my life than during that gall bladder attack (lost a solid 5 lbs in one day that I’ve still yet to regain) and I do NOT want to repeat it. I’m a bit fearful that if I do not have the surgery, I’ll have more attacks in the third trimester and by then it will be too late to remove or do much for me. However, I also don’t want to needlessly expose my baby to the risks of surgery, and I don’t want to needlessly expose myself to possible lifelong digestive problems that some have suggested can accompany gallbladder removal. Any thoughts, opinions, advice?

    Reply
    1. Heather

      I also wanted to add that I vomited quite a bit last night – I believe due to pregnancy sickness and not related to the gall bladder issues – and there was zero bile in the vomit. I had eaten some saltines 30 min to an hour prior in an attempt to help alleviate the nausea and the vomit was strictly the saltines with no other bodily fluids present. As a result, the vomit was pretty thick and basically just chewed up saltines. (How gross is this description?!) I have always been prone to motion sickness and nausea so have vomited quite a lot in my life, but never have I vomited without some sort of bile present. Is this normal or of concern?

      Reply
      1. amyneuzil Post author

        I”d say it’s “normal” for someone having gallbladder issues because the bile is blocked up somewhere. Sigh. Good luck with the decision – I’d love to know what you choose.

        Reply
    2. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Heather,
      Ugh. Yes – so the huge hormone shifts in pregnancy put a huge burden on even the healthiest of gallbladders and unfortunately there isn’t much to do about it because really it just is a crazy hormone flood. The changes will keep happening throughout the pregnancy and also during nursing and as your body is returning to normal after nursing. So honestly, it’s a rough time for pretty much the next year and a half. You’re right about the supplements too – there isn’t so much that’s safe in pregnancy except for digestive bitters in very small doses, fibre, eating liver supportive foods like beets, artichokes and bitter greens and of course lots and lots of water. Any supplement that pushes your liver or causes detox to any significant degree isn’t safe in pregnancy.

      So – ??? Gallbladder attacks are shockingly bad and are the most frequent non-cardiac reason people visit the ER thinking that they’re dying of a heart attack – it really does feel that bad. I can’t give you advice about having a major surgery – it’s too big a decision for that, but honestly if you have problems regularly, it’s probably not worth waiting a year and a half to clear it up – that’s a huge quality of life issue. Great luck and congratulations about your pregnancy!

      Reply
      1. Heather

        I saw you’ve since published a post on sludge and pregnancy (thank you!) and commented there, but I thought I’d update on my situation here as well for those who may come to this post instead and find it helpful.

        I heavily debated whether or not I should just try to control my symptoms with diet until my pregnancy was over and have it removed afterward or go ahead with the surgery during pregnancy. Since my attack was around 9 weeks pregnant and I still had so long to go and was feeling so miserable, I I ultimately decided to have my gallbladder laparoscopically removed when I hit my 13th week. I am SO GLAD I did. I am 4 weeks post-surgery now (and 17 weeks pregnant) and have felt so indescribably better. Being able to eat more things with fat has helped with the pregnancy nausea, I have had zero complications with the gallbladder removal, and the baby seemed to hardly notice anything happened. Now I feel almost as if nothing happened and really haven’t seen any digestive changes when compared to before I was pregnant and had any gallbladder issues.

        Reply
  15. Tanya

    Hello! I came across your article a while ago and was able to relieve the pain I was having at the time with the products you suggested. Since I have begun a new weight loss program and my old gallbladder issues returned with the loss of the first 5 pounds! In addition to the gallbladder pain, the heartburn is severe and nothing seems to help. I am starting back on the ACV, bitters and fiber but can you suggest something to help with the heartburn? Don’t want to overdo it on the Tums! Also, is it common for gallbladder disease to halt weight loss? It is very frustrating. My diet is pretty darn good with a few things now and then but nothing that would prompt attacks like I have been having. I am close to 50, a cancer survivor who has had a LONG list of surgeries and I am not looking to add to my medical resume 🙂 I just want to be out of pain, healthy and take off 15 or so pounds for my daughter’s wedding this fall. Any advice to conquer this issue would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Tanya,
      God it’s hard to motivate for the weight loss when you’re in pain! Yes – to answer your question, having gallbladder issues can certainly make weight loss harder because when you’re starting to metabolize fats you also have to be able to eliminate fat-soluble toxins and that happens via the gallbladder and bile salts. With the heartburn, certainly have your doctor check it out because sometimes there’s a hiatal hernia or something like that. Outside of that sometimes a digestive enzyme with ox bile and HCL in it will help (sounds counter-intuitive because we’re used to thinking of heartburn as being a high stomach acid condition, but often it’s actually low stomach acid that isn’t enough to signal the upper esophageal sphincter to stay closed). If you take a digestive enzyme like this and the burning is worse then it’s not for you, but many people notice that this helps. Just be careful and talk with your MD – I don’t know your full history (and it sounds complicated) so make sure someone who does know your history is on board. Great luck and congrats about your daughter’s wedding – that’s so exciting!

      Reply
  16. ANNE GRACE

    Hello Dr Glad i came across your article. I have my surgery scheduled next week. I am a diabetic and since 6months I have been facing issues like abdomen pain and irritable bowel moments also pain under right chest as it goes back and forth. I am 30 yrs old a mother of a 4 yr old. I had an abdomen scan and they say I have sludge in my gallbladder, they did a endoscopy as well as HIDA scan which resulted 29% functioning. Dr said the only option is a surgery I really dont want to go through a surgery as I had a C Section before I know the pain. Being diabetic do you think I should try this natural treatment ?? I do not have this abdomin pain often its only when I have heavy meals odd food etc etc..please help me to decide as I need to cancel my surgery.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Anne,
      It’s such a tough decision, isn’t it? Certainly the natural method can help, but make sure you can adjust to this type of diet without putting your blood sugars at risk – there is no sense complicating the diabetes just to avoid surgery. Generally though, adding lots of water, taking out the heavy foods, adding liver supportive veggies, fiber and a digestive bitter is entirely safe for diabetics and the high veggie and fiber content sometimes produces an improvement in blood sugars. Also castor oil packs and lecithin are safe for diabetics and they can both help gallbladder sludge tremendously. It just depends on how much you’re willing to commit to the dietary changes. Great luck and I hope this helps!

      Reply
  17. nicola

    please can you let me know if I drink the apple cider vinegar straight or do I dilute it with water.
    I have a large stone and do no want to lose my gallbladder. thank you

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Nicola,
      I usually dilute it with water because I find it too harsh straight. It’s nice if you add a little honey too – like a tart lemonade. Also I prefer it in hot water, although some people like cold water better. Good luck!

      Reply
  18. Suzan

    Great site, Dr. Amy!!! Thank you!
    I got really sloppy with my diet while under job stress over a couple of years and my Gallbladder finally gave me the HEAVE HO. Since a couple of other women I know in the same age and profile group had this happen did flushes, I researched that and decided it is too risky. Surgery is for the bitter end, since so many people still have problems because the problems originate in the liver. Found a generous write up on AMAZON by a fellow who had great success with Chinese herbs but added the Amazonian herb Chanca Piedra-it worked so well that after awhile he is on maintenance doses and was even able to add omelettes and beer back into his diet. Eggs are a KILLER for GB problems! Guess what I was using as my main Lacto ovo vegetarian source of protein: eggs and cheese! So I did some more research, cleaned up my diet and started taking Chanca Piedra…..it’s a miracle herb!!!!!!!! WATER , EXERCISE, NO REFINES SUGAR< white flour and bad fats- and not eating late at night are key as well to keep too much fat from flooding the liver and not digesting food well – and getting enough very good sleep (not possible on a full stomach). LOVE YOUR LIVER….an unhappy liver is a CRANKY NEIGHBOR!
    Still miss cheese but it's not worth the consequences….especially since I found a company that makes really excellent cashew cheese spreads.
    Chanca Piedra , all the greens I can eat or drink, and exercise will, over time, make everyone in there happy, I'm sure!
    Thank you!!!!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Suzan,
      Thanks for writing (and reading!) Yes – the Chanca Piedra is amazing. It works incredibly well for people, and it’s so simple. I love that. Of course the diet changes too and basic self-care, but that herb totally packs a punch. Hilarious about the eggs and cheese on your lacto/ovo diet – isn’t that always the way? You do something “for your health” and it ends up pushing your buttons. Sigh. Sounds like you’ve got it well in hand now – I’m glad to hear it! 🙂

      Reply
  19. Liza

    A little over a month ago I had an ultrasound to determine the cause of abdominal pain. Turns out it is sludge in my gallbladder. I found this to be strange considering I am a very healthy eater. My doctor said it is due to the fact that I’ve had 4 children, and breastfeed each of them way into toddlerhood ….which mean overload of hormones, which is causing the sludge. I’m 6 months PP & exclusively breastfeeding…so with a diet change will it make any difference in my pain & sludge if my hormones will still be all over the place due to breastfeeding? Honestly…my diet hasn’t changed much, except for excluding all diary. I have always ate a very healthy, non GMO, organic diet rich in fruits & veggies..and no red meat. ACV also has always been part of my everyday routine. I just want so badly to do this naturally since I’m not very inclined to anything ‘medical’ (even my babies were born at home Unassited due to me not liking hospitals) Any advice would be great! I’m going to order some of those bitters you mentioned….I’m located in Canada, so hopefully it’s something I can get across the border (sometimes natural products are hard to get across)

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Liza,
      Yes – crazy but the pregnancy hormones can totally do it. It’s just a huge hormone shift no matter how healthy you are. It’s hard to say if these things will help, and we have to be careful because when you’re breastfeeding anything that you detoxify does unfortunately pass into the breast milk – especially the fat soluble toxins (which is what gallbladder sludge is made of). So the bottom line on that is that we don’t want to push too hard because then your little one ends up bearing the burden. I do think bitters are gentle enough to add in without risking your cutie, but I’d steer clear of any of the heavier liver detoxification protocols. I’ve had a little bit of trouble too (now 8.5 months PP and still breastfeeding – although no longer exclusively) and whenever I notice any issue I do just tighten up my diet, drink more water, and add in the bitters. One word of warning – some mom and baby pairs have trouble with bitters changing the taste of the breast milk and some don’t. I never had that issue, but certainly be aware of any changes in nursing habits when you start them! If you can’t get the Urban Moonshine then check your local health food store for Sweedish Bitters or something similar – they’re all pretty awesome. Good luck and keep me posted!

      Reply
      1. Liza

        Thank you so very much for your response!
        I don’t plan on doing any detoxes…as a Lactation specialist I know they wouldn’t be good for baby (or even myself in some cases)
        I am wondering about whole grains? I’ve never been a white flour/white pasta eater….100% whole grains is only allowed in my home. But I read (not sure where now) that I should maybe stay away from all grains!? I love me some granola (I make my own) but is this possibility something I should be staying away from?
        And reading the poster above – eggs?? I am a crazy chicken lady & raise my own chickens for eggs (free range) but are they doing harm to my gallbladder? (I only ever eat them hard boiled)
        And one more thing (sorry for all the questions) – Since I was a teen, I’ve had high cholesterol. They could never figure out why considering I was young & had good eating habits (I’m also active)
        I know the liver & gallbladder work hand-in-hand, so could I perhaps have a not so great working liver?….which may be causing the high cholesterol & gallbladder sludge as well?

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Liza,
          Staying away from all grains helps some people (especially if they’ve been historically eating a lot of refined grains) but for gallbladder it’s only helpful for a small handful. The eggs thing is interesting – it seems like it’s a big trigger for some people and not at all for others. I typcially suggest trying a food sensitivity elimination and challenge with eggs only to see how it all does for you. It could be a big deal, or no deal at all (and honestly, I’m a crazy chicken lady too – they’re so much fun.)

          With the cholesterol – it could be that the liver is the link, or it could be just genetic. Some families have genetically high cholesterol entirely unrelated to liver function that also shows up in childhood. So maybe liver but maybe just the way your body is.

          Reply
  20. Leesa

    Hi Amy, I recently had an ultra sound done because I have been experiencing awful bloating and gas on a daily basis, like my body was not digesting properly. My doctor found sludge in my gallbladder and was suggesting possibly removing my gallbladder. I do not want to do that, and wanted to try something natural. I was reading about the liver/ gallbladder cleanse with the Epsom salts, but it seemed a little scary to me. I didn’t want to get sick from it. I saw your above article, and thought it might be a better fit for me. If I followed your above steps, how long do you think until I noticed results? How long would I need to take the supplements, indefinitely? Thank you for your advice!

    Leesa

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Leesa,
      Yes – I agree about the gallbladder cleanse. It’s just a little too drastic (I wrote a post on the safety issues here). This is a slow solution – it isn’t overnight. Most people start to see benefits within the first month, but I suggest continuing with the program for about 6 months and seeing how your body responds. Many people could get away with less time, and a few need more, but seems like 6 months is a good benchmark to re-assess. I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

      Reply
      1. Leesa

        Hi Dr. Amy, thank you for your response! I’ve ordered the fiber plus powder as well as the citrus bitters. I was also going to incorporate the apple cider vinegar for the step about shrinking the stones. I wanted to see when exactly I need to take the citrus bitter, the vinegar and the fiber powder. Is the bitter and vinegar both right before each meal and the fiber in between each meal? How much of each item do you recommend I take? Also one last question, my mother seems to be having symptoms of acid reflux and digestion issues. Do you think any of these steps above would help her? She was considering taking the bitters and maybe some of the other items. Thanks for your help!

        Leesa

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Yes – so vinegar and bitters before the meals to stimulate digestion and liver function. Fiber powder with LOTS of water between meals. That particular fiber is a high dose so start with 1/4 scoop in 16 oz water for about a week for your body to adjust, then 1/2 scoop then work up to a full scoop if you can. Always with lots of water! It has the added benefit of helping you lose weight too, which is a total bonus. With reflux the ACV is really helpful, and all three are generally good for digestion so depending on what the issues are all could be helpful. Just be cautious with the fiber – add slowly and listen to your body (same for mom!)

          Reply
          1. Leesa

            Hi Dr. Amy, can you recommend any other fiber supplements? I bought the one in your article, but I’m not enjoying the apple cinnamon flavor at all, and it’s becoming hard to get down. Thanks!

          2. amyneuzil Post author

            Hi Leesa,
            Honestly there are lots of good ones out there. Metamucil or Citriclear seem to be reasonable options, just make sure you’re getting enough of a dose (they tend to be a far lower dose than the Fiber Plus). I agree – the flavor is good, but when it’s all the time it’s not so much. 🙂

    2. pj sinohin

      change of diet will really contribute a lot.
      you might want to get rid of processed meat products, burgers, pork fats, beef fats, chicken skins – anything that has visible or obvious fats and anything fried.

      Reply
  21. Dawnie

    Hi Dr Amy,

    I’m 8 mos postpartum and still breastfeeding. Over the last few weeks I’ve had some intermittent nausea and abdominal cramps, which finally resulted in a large bowel movement, normal in color, that turned loose at the end, just as a period was starting. Since then I’ve continued to have bouts of nausea (never vomiting, just feel crummy), and the last two days I’ve had pale bowel movements. I’m concerned about my gallbladder. I saw that you mentioned that one of the supplements was not recommended for breastfeeding. What steps can I take while breastfeeding? Can I do bitters and apple cider vinegar? Are these mild enough that it won’t dump toxins into my breastmilk? Or can I pump-and-dump at first? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Dawnie,
      Great question. I had a similar thing while nursing my little one, although it was a little before 8 months. Check with your doctor to see their comfort level, but I felt comfortable using the ACV and bitters and just doing a really clean, low-fat diet. It resolved fairly quickly and honestly I think the ACV and bitters sped up the process, but a lot of it was just getting through the big hormone wash out. Keep me posted – I’d love to hear your experience!

      Reply
  22. Larry P

    Hello Dr Amy,

    From someone who routinely looks for information on this subject, this was a very helpful article. Thank you. I have been suffering from GB discomfort for years. Had a ultrasound 10 years ago when it first started, but they found nothing. However, all of the symptoms are typical and the things that alleviate the discomfort work, so I figure that’s what I have. I was amazed to read about the artichokes…I will be looking for some tomorrow. Also I have plenty of dandelions growing around the farm here, are these okay? Also I am growing beets, so the young beet greens are plentiful right now. How many of the dandelion and beet greens are sufficient? I will also be looking for the bitters, unless vinegar is sufficient. I have always noticed that coffee, which I rarely drink causes me discomfort in the GB area, I have also noted that most coffee contains chicory. Is this why the coffee has this effect? Could I be suffering from fatty liver too? When I eat fresh fruits and veggies I feel so much better, and I prefer these too. Figure that one out?  Is Turmeric of any help in all of this? Thank You again for the helpful info and for your great teaching skills. Sincerely, fellow goofball, Lj

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Larry,
      So glad you found this helpful! That means so much more from fellow goofballs. 🙂 Farm dandelions are perfect just as long as you haven’t sprayed with anything (round-up is probably not so good for the liver and gallbladder). With the dandelion and beet greens, add one serving per day into your diet and see how you do, and if you tolerate it well then increase to two. I would suggest starting with the bitters while you really need to clean house, and then when things are more flushed out switching to the vinegar only.

      Interestingly, coffee is actually a potent liver stimulant and pushes detoxification pathways, so for people who have a backlog of detoxification to do it can be a little too much. Once you’ve done the clean diet and liver cleansing foods for a while I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you find that you tolerate coffee better (shocker, right? Who knew coffee was actually great for something?) It is entirely possible that you have a fatty liver and often if there are long-standing gallbladder issues then there is also a liver issue. This will help, but it helps slowly so keep at it. Turmeric certainly helps inflammation and is a gentle push for detoxification, but doesn’t help directly – it more just helps health overall, if that makes sense. Good luck and keep me posted – especially if you try the coffee again in a couple of months!

      Reply
  23. Christopher Singer

    I’m a 50 yo male 5’8″ 188 lbs. More active and healthy in my youth, less exercise and careless diet until recently. Pain in my rt shoulder for 8 weeks unresolved, originally thought to be musculoskeletal, they were gonna give me an epidural, I finally begged for ultrasound, found sludge in my gallbladder. Had a hidascan yesterday, took gallbladder 1.5 hours to show the particulates and a little longer to flush which wasnt normal. They havent called me with conclusions yet. Pain is constant 2-3 in morning, worse after eating, 8-10 after a full day of activity as pain radiates to my spine. I suspect they will want to pull the gallbladder but after reading about flushes I’m reluctant to give it up. I’d rather get healthier and keep the gallbladder to assist in digesting a good steak occasionally 🙂 What’s a good shopping list for your steps 1 through 4 and what natural foods could assist in replicating or assisting this process? Thank you for your time and the valuable information on your site. I’ve learned more here than from any other physicians/surgeons. Best Regards,

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Christopher,
      I think you’re right that they’re going to want to remove it, and of course that’s a good option if the pain is intolerable. If you feel like you can take the time to work on it then the fastest course of action will be to take your diet down to the simplest possible – lots of veggies, fruits, rice, oatmeal (and fiber in general). Small portions of lean meat with 1-2 meals – I’d say no more than 4 ounces. Nothing fried, avoid really sugary or carb-heavy foods and keep it simple and healthy. Start some of the apple cider vinegar drink and whatever bitters you can find before meals and see how you do. Make sure you’re getting lots of water. It’s a drastic diet change for most people, but when you’re in pain it can be really worth it to help clear out the muck quickly. So – shopping list would be apple cider vinegar, lots of veggies and fruits, good bitters – I like the citrus bitters, but your local health food store will have something. Make sure they rule out other issues though because I don’t like how high your pain is getting in the evening and anything that radiates to the spine makes me nervous just on principal. So if you’re doing the diet and it isn’t improving within a month (a couple of weeks would be better) or it’s getting worse, then make sure they double check what’s going on. Great luck and keep me posted!

      Reply
  24. Kristen

    Dr. Amy,
    I’m having my gallbladder removed Tuesday and have heard amazing things about the Cholacol postop. My concern is that I’m exclusively breastfeeding my 5m old daughter. What kind of affect could it have on her digestion and is it safe??
    Thanks
    Kristen

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Kristen,
      Honestly, I would wait until you stop nursing to use the cholacol. My concern is that it will help you metabolize some of your fat soluble toxins (which is normally a good thing) but when you’re making breast milk, the fat in the breast milk is a convenient place to put them. Meaning I’m worried that you will transfer some of your fat soluble toxins from your body to your baby’s. The cholacol will still help you after breast feeding is over, but I think it doesn’t make sense to push it while you’re nursing. I hope this helps and all the best with the surgery!

      Reply
  25. Amy

    I was told that teaspoon of Epsom salt in some amount of water ( a glass? A quart?) I can’t remember, will dissolve gall stones if drunk daily over time. Have you heard this?

    Reply
  26. Jamie

    If I was to have my 11 yr old son go through this process, would I just cut the portions down to about half? He’s had horrible gallbladder pain since January, and his doctor wants to remove it. It’s only emptying at 28%. We had great success treating his digestive problems 2 years ago with the GAPS diet, but his poor gallbladder doesn’t seem to happy this time. He was only off the GAPS diet for a few short months before his gallbladder started acting up again.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jamie,
      With kiddos I usually start really small – maybe start with a quarter dose? You can always work your way up, but best to start slow because kids are not only smaller, they’re less formed. We can’t count on their liver working the same way an adult’s would. So yes – start small and work up. I really hope it helps and keep me posted!

      Reply
  27. rhonda glaser

    I have gallstones. One is very large (3) whatevers. Can one that size be shrunk?? I have surgery scheduled in 3 weeks. wish I would have come across this site sooner as I have tried things from other sites that dont seem to work.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Rhonda,
      Wow – so 3 cm (if it’s cm) is a really big stone. In theory we can shrink it, but in practice it would take a long time. That’s the bummer about the natural methods – they just take longer than drugs or surgery. Honestly at this point I think doing it the natural way would just unnecessarily prolong your suffering and that’s not useful. Even when you’re doing the surgery it can be a really good idea to use some of the sludge and stones tools afterward because sometimes there’s still sludge in the ducts that are left so don’t despair – you can still improve your health and your symptoms by making sure that your body is in optimal health afterwards.

      Reply
  28. Veronica

    I have a question. . When you try to place an order for the orthomolecular fiberplus it states a warning that this product may cause cancer..it states that it contains lead..I looked up the ingredients and I see no lead on the label. . Do you have any points in this matter? Any answer would be helpful!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Veronica,
      Jeez. No clue about the lead – it isn’t labeled, so maybe one of the ingredients is known to contain trace amounts (many foods do). The “may cause cancer” warning is actually because of a California law called “California Proposition 65” which has all good intentions, but ends up being a little bit ridiculous. Essentially what it boils down to is that if any ingredient in a product has been shown (at any dose – not the one you’re taking, but any dose) to cause a 1 in 100,000 person chance of causing cancer in 70 years then it gets this label. There’s a ton of more detailed information about it on the internet, but I like the wiki page here. Of course everyone has to find their own comfort level with that information. Sorry I don’t have any clue about the lead! If I find any information I’ll let you know.

      Reply
  29. Lisa

    The excessive salivation sounds like hiatal hernia, which it turns out is a bigger problem for me than the gallstones. The symptoms of hiatal hernia can be very similar to gallstones and turns out that although I do have gallstones, they were not what was causing my frequent pain.

    In my research about hiatal hernia, I came across the symptom of excessive salivation.

    Reply
  30. Amy

    Thank you for your helpful reply. I’ll let you know about the bitters but first I need to ask you what they are! ha ha.

    Reply
  31. Culprit

    Thank you Dr. Amy for suggesting this natural method of gb sludge removal. Dr. my situation is a little bit complex- you know I have bloating and flatuelence also chronic constipation ( going to toilet at least 3 times a day but rarely feeling sense of complete defecation) for the last 5 years I have no epigastric pain, abdominal mass, ascieties, rectal bleeding and mass, no weight loss, no jaundice, no bone tenderness. In association I have chronic salivation ( now frequent, mucoid) for five years now with no oral pain and mass. I am 25 and today a doctor told me that I have gallbladder sludge via abdominal ultrasound. You know this bloating, flatuelence and salivation turned my life sour and I am severely depressed and worried. Please, Dr. tell me any remedy.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Jeez – sounds complicated! Honestly it sounds like the type of thing that you probably need to work with someone local who can really get to the bottom of your symptoms and my gut feeling is that a homeopath might be good because you have strange, rare and peculiar symptoms, which are homeopaths specialty. Here’s a link to find a homeopath in your area who might be able to help. Other than that I would say you could likely address the gallbladder sludge with the usual methods – clean foods, digestive bitters, etc… but the salivation is a separate issue.

      Reply
      1. Culprit

        Thank you again. Dr I don’t know much about homeopathy especially its importance regarding my situation and there is no homeopathy specialty in my vicinity. How can I deal with- waiting your reply.

        Reply
  32. Amy

    I don’t have symptoms but an ultrasound for another reason showed lots of sludge and many gallstones. I understand why the cleanse would be unsafe for me. Should I do nothing? It doesn’t make sense to have surgery (which the doctors assume is best) when I don’t have pain or obvious symptoms. On the other hand, an emergency surgery would be very unwelcome because I take Coumadin for a clotting disorder. I am on a very clean diet (AIP) . I do incorporate healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut, fish, etc) which might not be so good for my gall bladder, right?

    So, surgery or just do nothing?
    What about healthy fats?

    Thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Amy,
      Ugh – yes it’s so tough when you’re taking coumadin. I absolutely agree that the cleanse would be unsafe, and I also agree that emergency surgery isn’t a great option. It seems drastic to cut out an organ that isn’t giving you any trouble, but of course while you’re taking coumadin it’s much more difficult to supplement. So – the one question I can answer clearly is that healthy fats, as long as you’re not having any symptoms or troubles after you eat them, are wonderful. In terms of what you might be able to do naturally for the sludge – adding in some bitters could be a gentle aid but given your situation make sure you talk with your doctor or pharmacist to double check interactions with the coumadin first because as you know, any interactions with it can be life-threatening. Outside of that I’d say to just follow your gut and make sure you feel comfortable with whatever decision you make. There isn’t really a “right answer” here, it’s more just how you prefer to approach the problem. Remember that lots of people have unknown sludge and stones and as long as they’re not causing symptoms, it isn’t really a big deal. If you do talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the bitters with coumadin would you let me know what they say? I’d be curious to hear.

      Reply
      1. Amy

        So my doctor said it would be best to wait and do a natural remedy after some other health issues are dealt with. But then I had my first gall bladder attacks. (Long interesting story but most meaningful is that ACV took away the attack right away.)

        I no longer have the freedom to wait much longer if I want to be sure to avoid an emergency surgery situation.

        So I am doing lemon water each morning and ACV twice a day to see if I can gently encourage the sludge and stones to dissolve.

        Any other suggestions?

        I can make the bitters and vegetables part of my diet if I watch my INR level carefully.

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Wow – so glad the ACV helps, but attacks are no fun. Sadly there is no way to guarantee with the natural methods that it will work in the time period we want, so just be aware of that. I don’t want you to end up in emergency surgery because you’re trying to do it the slow (maybe best, but still slow) way. Certainly with the bitters and vegetables – also make sure you’re adding finer. Just keep your eyes glued to the INR to make sure it isn’t too many changes too quickly. Have you tried topical castor oil at all? That can be really helpful for sludgy gallbladders.

          Reply
          1. Amy

            I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “adding finer” is it a typo or something I missed in the reading?

            Thanks for your encouragement. I just bought some castor oil the other day and am planning to give it a try. I also read a lot about liver and gall bladder flishes and coffee enemas. I am nervous about those. Should I be?9

  33. Diana

    Hi Dr. Amy,

    Your website is wonderful. Thank you for so much helpful information.

    I am a postmenopausal, 71 yr. old woman, who recently had nausea when I would get up in the morning (on an empty stomach), along with chest heaviness, hiccuping and birping. Went on for about a month, although as I think back, I think I’ve had some of these symptoms for a much longer period of time but didn’t think much about it until the nausea wouldn’t go away and so much hiccuping and chest heaviness. After ruling out heart problems, the doctor order an ultrasound of the gallbladder that showed no stones. However, the HIDA scan showed that, where an ejection fraction of 35-40% is normal, mine is only 3%. I guess that means how fast or slow the gallbladder is able to squeeze out the bile, and maybe how much. And there is sludge. They said I could have my gallbladder out or keep it since some people are even able to keep it if the symptoms aren’t real severe, even at that low 3% number. So, being one who always seeks out natural remedies, I chose to keep it.

    Currently, the nausea seems to have faded, but I still have that full feeling alot, and a fair amount of hiccuping. Have you ever heard of hiccuping as a symptom of gallbladder problems? I am taking one malic acid tab in the a.m. along with a Beta Plus (bile) and digestive enzymes with my meals. I also have some artichoke capsules, beets, liver detox tea, dandelion tea, and fresh squeezed carrot and arugula juice. I even have Swedish bitters and some Phosfood, but since I don’t have stones, I thought I’d maybe hold off using the Phosfood, and thought I should also hold off on the Swedish bitters since after starting all these various supplements, etc., I seem to been running to the bathroom a bit with diarrhea and thought I might have started off overdoing the supplements.

    I eat a pretty clean diet, but prior to my diagnosis loved butter on lots of things and ate a fair amount of walnuts. So, I have cut way back on the butter and walnuts and olive oil. I still usually have a couple eggs sauteed in the a.m. in maybe 1/2 tbsp. of butter. Lunch can be low fat yogurt with berries and honey. Dinner can be plain chicken sauteed in coconut oil and veggies (with another tab of butter). So, my daily fat intake has gone down immensely. What I’m wondering is whether one needs to get their fat intake down even further until the sludge is cleared, even if it is the “good” saturated fats. Or, should one still continued to eat some good fats? Also, I know some people take lecithin to help break down fats, and my digestive enzymes have lipase in there to break down fats, so if I’m eating very little fat and yet taking enzymes with lipase, could that possibly cause the diarrhea if there aren’t really any fats to break down? And, at what point can someone who has sludge maybe start to increase their fat intake once again? At least, the good fats. Maybe after a few months of following the protocol of taking bile salts, artichokes, milk thistle, etc. etc.?

    Now, I wonder also if the bile duct is in good shape. I will be seeing the gastro doctor next week to go over my HIDA scan in more detail, and I wonder if that scan shows what shape the bile duct is in and whether it has any strictures. Do you know of any natural products that might help relax the duct if that were the case?

    I stopped by a health food store a couple weeks ago and the owner there is a German woman who seems to know a lot about natural healing methods. We talked a little bit about strictures, and she had told me something to the effect that the body has many strictures throughout and that magnesium is what will help to relax them but the stricture (maybe that’s the wrong word), but I think it’s where the gallbladder dumps the bile, she said that particular stricture is helped with progesterone, not magnesium. I have been using a little bit of progesterone cream the last year or so after reading that postmenopausal women’s progesterone supply goes down to nothing. The progesterone has helped with heart palpitations and anxiety I had, along with other natural products I used. But, anyway, she recommended, after I told her how much I was using, that I up my dosage a bit to help keep that stricture area more relaxed. I was wondering if you ever heard of that as a way to help that area relax.

    Thanks again for your wealth of knowledge and willingness to share it.

    Reply
    1. Diana

      Hi again, Dr. Amy,

      I think the word I was searching for in my post, rather than “stricture”, was “sphincter”. Hope that makes more sense. 🙂

      Reply
    2. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Diana,
      Wow – sounds like you are on the fast track to taking care of this! I think what you’re doing with diet is perfect as long as you’re not having any symptoms after you eat the meals with a little bit of fat in them (like the eggs etc…). We do need fats, but if the heaviness or hiccuping is worse after meals then it’s too much fat (if that makes any sense). I agree that it’s not the appropriate time for the phosfood liquid and that you may be pushing things a little bit too quickly if you’re seeing some loose stools. Something like this hasn’t built up in a day and we don’t need to clear it out in a day either – the great thing about natural methods is that we can move slowly and steadily.

      In terms of the hiccups, I honestly haven’t seen that before related to the gallbladder, but I have seen it related to a hiatal hernia, so when you go back to your GI doctor it might be a decent idea to ask him or her if you should be evaluated for hernia. If they do find something like this it will help everything to move more quickly to get that taken care of. For hiatal hernia there is a surgery, but it’s not an easy surgery. Fortunately there is also an “adjustment” that chiropractors can do that will help to re-position the stomach so that it isn’t restricted in that way. Call around to your local chiropractors to see if anyone works with the hernias if that is the issue.

      I have heard of both magnesium and progesterone being used to open up those ducts, although typically I use magnesium unless there is also a progesterone deficiency just because I don’t like to overuse hormones. The only problem is that magnesium can cause loose bowels, which it sounds like you’re already having so just listen to your body on this one. I hope this helps and keep me posted about the possible hernia!

      Reply
      1. Diana

        Hi Dr. Amy,

        Thank you so much for your helpful reply. The gastro doctor did confirm that the endoscopy showed a “mild” hiatal hernia. I hadn’t thought about that being related to the hiccups, but that makes sense. I remember seeing some youtube videos about the procedure chiropractors do for hiatal hernias and showed how one can do it to themself, so maybe I will try that. There is another doctor who said when you get up in the morning, drink maybe 4 oz of warm water and then get up on your toes and thump down onto your heels, maybe 10 times with your arms outstretched to your sides, around shoulder level. Maybe that helps the stomach move down a little.

        I read that magnesium glycinate does not cause the loose stools, so I have been using that, and it seems to be easier to take larger amounts of it without a problem. I occasionally use magnesium oil or cream.

        Any idea what causes the nausea that I’m still having during the day? It’s not severe, but it’s rather annoying. Does that have a connection to the bile sludge?

        Thank you so much.

        Diana

        Reply
  34. Angie

    Hi Dr. Amy,

    Thanks so much for your great article. It’s the best one I’ve read out there on how to get rid of gallstones. I have some questions I’d be grateful for your perspective on.

    Some background: Years ago I had an ultrasound which was negative. I did 6 flushes and gallbladder symptoms vanished. I recently started having symptoms and did another flush which ended with pain and a slight fever. Turns out I have a 1.4 cm stone, and some shadows of other stones, though there’s no blockage or swelling showing. I also have bacterial overgrowth in my gut which I’m currently working on.

    I want to avoid surgery because of other health issues which make it risky for me. I tried ursodiol and had very severe diarrhea, and a headache. My doctor can have it compounded into so I can start with a very low dose, but it’s crazy expensive. If I can do this naturally, it would be better.

    I’d be grateful for a protocol for dissolving stones naturally. I must eat gluten free. I see you recommend A-F Betafood and Livaplex, but they both have glandulars which I’ve been advised not to take, and Livaplex is not gluten free. ( The plain Betafood is gluten free and doesn’t have glandulars)

    Here’s what I’m already doing for the liver/gallbladder and digestion, but I’d appreciate if you could fill in anything I’m missing:

    In addition to b-vitamins, methylated b12 and methylfolate – For my gallbladder right now I’m taking
    – Jarrow Bile Acid Factors
    – Ortho Digestzyme (with HCL, pepsin, ox bile, pepsin, pancreatin 8X)
    – Lypo gold with fatty foods
    – Lecithin with meals that have fat
    – Milk thistle 2X day – life Extension’s brand
    – Apple Cider Vinegar

    I just ordered the Urban Moonshine bitters.

    Other things that are gluten free that I could use:

    – Phospheric acid
    – stone free by planetary herbals
    – taurine
    – cholacol
    – cholacol II
    – chanca piedra

    I’d be open to trying anything I can get gluten free. Please advise. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Angie,
      Of course I can’t say specifically for you because it sounds like you have plenty of restrictions in terms of what you can take. Generally though the chanca piedra is great for slowly dissolving stones over time. You’re already doing a lot for this with the digestive enzymes, bile, liver support and apple cider vinegar so the biggest thing at this point might just be sticking to it and letting it work. The natural way is slow, but as long as you’re not too uncomfortable it’s worth it! Good luck!

      Reply
  35. Tushar Patel

    Hello Mam!
    I suffer from Gilbert’s syndrome. 2-3 weeks back, I had some feeling of sludge in the gallbladder region.So , I tried a simple flush of taking apple juices 4 times a day.But after 3 days of doing so, my stomach started filling with bile and thus getting heated up.I immediately withdrew my steps but realised that some sludge had moved to the gallbladder duct.I had an Ultrasonography of gallbladder and liver but it all came back normal.However, I do feel some over there blocking my pathway.I also believe the sludge also went into the pancreatic pathway.So,is there ant natural way to rid of these sludges without surgery etc.Should I try ACV etc.Plz suggest me.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hello Tushar,
      With Gilbert’s syndrome you do have to be careful because your liver and gallbladder are always going to be more sensitive than average. I would say it could be save to try ACV with lots of water and a very simple diet. If this is well-tolerated then you could add a tiny amount of bitters. With everything proceed slowly and listen closely to your body because your system is more sensitive. I’d love to hear how it goes!

      Reply
  36. Marbella

    Hi Dr.Amy
    Thank you for all your information, very helpfull. I have been sufering from kidney stones since my tenage years as told by my doctor, but I was never prescribed any medicine nor any special diet pretty much just plenty of water and cranberry juice. I am now in my 30’s and still having the sharp pain in my middle back toward my lower back and abdomen, nausea a other simptoms related to kidney stones from time to time, and a few months ago I notice pain on my rigth side when I was laying on my left side and someting that I can only describe as a ball of air feeling sinking into my abdomen area. At times the pain was to unbearable that I had to go to the ER several tests performed and to the same or no outcome at times I was told it was UTI. I then started seing a specialist who told me it was calcification of the kidney witch I was told was a result of the kidney stones. I was prescribed Urocit-k 10, I took it for several months but I honestly dont think it helped much. Is there anything else I can do to better my health, would these remedies or clenses help my condition. I would really apreciate any suggestion.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Marbella,
      Oh the kidney stones are so intense. I’m sorry to hear about it! If it is kidney calcifications then sometimes the Royal Break-Stone herb (Chanca piedra) can help to dissolve that type of stone or calcification as well. I think trying the apple cider vinegar drink might be helpful, but I don’t have as much experience with kidney calcifications so I’m not sure. Honestly, it could also be gallbladder (just because you have known kidney stones doesn’t mean you don’t *also* have gallbladder sludge). So I’d say cautiously try the ACV and chanca piedra and maybe incorporate some GB cleansing things to see what happens but for sure check with the doctor who is handling your kidney issues to make sure any changes are okay with them.

      Reply
    2. torrey

      Hi Marbella,
      I was reading your comment and think in addition to what you are trying, for the kidney feelings you are describing, visceral manipulation might be helpful. It is a gentle and extremely effective manual technique developed by the French osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral. You can research visceral manipulation online, http://www.barralinstitute.com/about/vm.php and you could also use the website to perhaps find a practitioner in your area.

      i hope you can find someone to help you!

      Reply
      1. amyneuzil Post author

        Great idea Torrey! I *love* visceral manipulation and honestly it can be so helpful if you can find a good practitioner. Thanks for posting!

        Reply
  37. Wendy Garcia

    Thank you for such a great informative article!
    I was released from the hospital after a 7 day stay, they thought I had a pancreatic mass, after CT, MRI and EUS it was found that I have quite a bit of sludge in my gallbladder~
    No mass, just pancreatitis apparently from my gallbladder issues~ I am scheduled to see a surgeon in 2 wks for removal of my gallbladder which I am not all to keen on~
    I tend to lean towards homeopathic alternatives and was wondering if you could give me some direction on gallbladder & pancreas natural healing alternatives ♡

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Oh goodness Wendy – that sounds horribly frightening.
      Honestly if the sludge/stones are bad enough to cause pancreatitis then consider carefully if the natural route is going to be fast enough because you certainly don’t want to risk a repeat performance. The diet and bitters as described in this article work well, but slowly. If you do choose to use the natural methods make sure you are working under the guidance of a physician. All the best and if you do choose to do the natural I’d love to hear about your experience!

      Reply
  38. patricia

    stool still yellow after two weeks –I had a small gb attack-bloating, pressure, pain and low fever (first few hours), but no radiating pain. Ate bland diet and pain has decreased-most times none at all- still have bloat and pressure after eating small singular item meal and some discomfort when press on upper rt and mid abdomen. Was taking tsp. ACV before each meal but found it caused acidic tasting saliva to run constantly even between meals-cut back to one in the morning and that is gone. I am still not eating normally but have added protein (fish/chicken) to my juiced greens/beets or quinoa, have taken panplex 2 phase for about a year and am taking with protein meals–no build up of symptoms after meal, but stool is still yellow and its been two weeks. Few headaches off and on and some jitters. Can’t eat fruit cause that will make me jittery and lightheaded-(prediabetic). Could I still have a blocked duct without continued strong pain or severe symptoms? And could this cause the pre-diabetes to be full blown diabetes? Was diagnosed with stomach flu twice before (1 year ago and 2 1/2 years ago), but I believe now that it was a gb attack -never had scans–I have the f syndrome-fat fifty female–working slowly on the weight-tai chi-walking and protein-veg-good fat diet.
    But the stool color concerns me with the periodic fuzzy brain and headache and some off and on gurgling too and two weeks time. Don’t want to go to ER dropped O-care couldn’t afford premiums, but will go if advised or gets worse. any thoughts–thx in advance.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Patricia,
      With the yellow stool color you could certainly have a blocked duct, which isn’t great. Since you’re not really having outright pain it’s probably not an ER visit (unless you do get severe pain or the discomfort gets significantly worse, or you start noticing yellow in your skin or eyes) but it could be a good idea to see your primary care doctor. The good news is that this won’t make the prediabetes any worse, but certainly listen to your body and if things get any worse don’t wait to seek care.

      Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Susan,
      Honestly there is no way of knowing. For people with mild symptoms they can typically see a difference within the first week, but if your symptoms are more severe then it may take a month or more (which might be too long with severe symptoms). I’ve also had clients who start the bitters and find that everything changes. If you try it, let me know what your experience is!

      Reply
      1. HC

        Hi Amy, I have gallbladder sludge. Gallbladder issues run in my family. I’m 47. Thin. Healthy otherwise. My mom has controlled her issues through diet and diet seems to work for me, as well (I was only diagnosed a few weeks ago). I just purchased the A-F Betafood you recommended, along with the Milk Thistle from Gaia herbs and Lipotrophic complex from ITI. My question is, when to take them? I’ve read some people just start with high doses of A-F and taper down for a few weeks and then after they are off that take digestive enzymes. I don’t want to over do it so will start slow, but when do I take the A-F? And when do I take the Milk Thistle? Before a meal? After? Just a few times a day regardless of food? Please advise. I already started on phylum to get things moving below.

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi HC,
          Sounds like you have things well in hand! Honestly for some people the supplements are completely fine any time and for some people they induce a little nausea unless you take them with food. Typically I have people take them with meals for this reason. It’s possible that they could work better on an empty stomach, but not worth feeling icky over. I hope you find this helpful!

          Reply
  39. Lisa

    HI everyone,
    For those of you who are suffering daily to nearly daily attacks that aren’t quite a 10 level but are very uncomfortable, I found that my discomfort is relieved by taking a full dropper of the urban moonshine bitters. It seems to help the pain caused by a contrated gallbladder that has squeezed out it bile after eating.

    As Amy indicated above, it is extremely uncomfortable for a gallbladder to contract around stones, or if the gallbladder is not working properly. The bitters seem to signal the liver to send more bile fairly quickly and for me, this seems to happen within 5 – 10 minutes. I didn’t begin to experience this recurring pain until after I’d done a couple of flushes, with each one causing my distress to occur in an even quicker basis than before. I’ve since stopped doing them because I had an ultrasound in June of 2015 where the tech fully visualized the gallbladder and reported seeing a dozen baby gallstones, and then subsequent ultrasounds, including one performed merely 2 months later that showed wall echo shadowing, which the tech said meant that my gallbladder was now full to the brim. I can only theorize that the flushes sent stones and sludge into the gallbladder from my liver. Go figure.

    There have been a couple of occasions where I could feel my gallbladder having spasms after a small meal, for which I took a homeopathic remedy taht is basically a muscle relaxer called Mag Phos 30. I took only one dose of this and the relief was instantaneous for me, although a homeopath said it is helpful to take every 10 minutes for up to 4 doses during an attack.

    Good luck guys, and thanks Dr. Amy for writing about the bitters! They were truly my missing link.

    Reply
    1. Lisa

      Sorry about the typos and missed words, I was working on an ancient IPAD which overcorrected and covered half of the screen while I was typing. If I could have edited it, I would have.

      Reply
    2. amyneuzil Post author

      That’s Awesome! I really do love those bitters – and if you can’t find those, check your local health food store. All bitters work the same way and stimulate bile. Even the bitters you use to mix cocktails so in a pinch those will do too!

      Reply
      1. jane

        Hang on a minute, arent bitters strongly contraindicated during a gallbladder attack?
        ditto low fat diets generally, and fasting.

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Jane,
          No – not contraindicated, although it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before you start anything new!

          Reply
  40. Tim

    Hi Amy, I started having pain on my right side this last Christmas. I went to the urgent care and had an ultra sound, they said they didn’t find any stones, however I do have sludge. The doctor prescribed me with antibiotics and high dosage Motrin (800mg). The pain went away after 2-3 days. I’ve been feeling fine since then as I’ve been exercising and eating right. Then last night (01/29/16) at the gym, I felt the same pain as before, hoping I was just sore from working out, but it’s the same pain. When I saw my doctor last Monday, he said if the pain comes back to have my gallbladder removed. I don’t want to have surgery, is there anything else I can do to stop the pain and avoid surgery? Should I do a cleanse or start drinking apple cider vinegar?

    Thank you in advance.

    Tim

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Tim,
      All of the suggestions here will help. Getting rid of the sludge does take time so if you’re having severe pain frequently it may not be worth it, but get to a clean, low-fat diet. Incorporate some liver supportive foods, maybe some bitters and make sure you’re drinking a good amount of water. You may even want to try a castor oil pack. All in all with just sludge your body is fully capable of getting rid of it, you just have to give it the right support.

      Reply
  41. Pingback: Castor Oil - The Best Thing You Never Knew About | To Health WIth That!

  42. Catherine

    Hi! I recently had a sonogram done that showed gallbladder sludge and some very small stones. I had a natural childbirth a year and a half ago. I’m assuming pregnancy is where this came from. I have figured out that I can’t eat fried food. That’s the only trigger I’ve found so far. But I’m wondering what I should do. I do not want surgery. Should I just start with the bitters and take that daily and see how it goes? Just confused on exactly where to start. Also, if I got pregnant again can that amplify the existing problem? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Catherine,
      Yes – pregnancy and all of the crazy changing hormones that happen so quickly throughout pregnancy and childbirth can certainly contribute to gallbladder sludge and stones. Honestly, start simple. Bitters, a clean diet without fried foods and with some of the foods that encourage liver and gallbladder function. The diet is the biggest thing and anything that supports your liver will also help with gallbladder health. Start with the foods here with good fiber sources and also some of the love your liver foods here. You may also want to try topical castor oil like castor oil packs (I’m just writing a post about them now!)

      Reply
  43. Tammy

    Thank you so much for your reply and advice. My attacks have grown chronic and keep me down pretty much all day long. I have stripped my diet to the bare minimum and slowly added foods back in to find a trigger and now don’t believe it’s food that’s causing issues. My ND gave me Hydrate I to help the bile flow and 1 drop in water triggered an attack. I have found that everything I am trying to do to help calm things down is triggering. I’ve tried adding in Betaine HCL and probiotics and A-F Betafood (which helped in the past), but they all set off an attack. I feel better when I don’t eat, clearer mind, but that really upsets my gallbladder so I make sure I eat on time. GB-6 helps sometimes but I haven’t been able to work up to more than 2 tablets 2 times a day and the recommended dose is 3/3. Gallbladder flushing was giving me relief but now it’s only a day or two of relief. Not sure what to do at this point.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Oh wow Tammy,
      That’s way too much. I know it’s a drastic step, but when it’s impacting your life so significantly it may be time to consider surgery. Nobody really wants to hear that, especially in your position when you’ve clearly done everything to try to preserve your gallbladder but honestly your time and well being are precious too. Obviously I can’t steer you in any particular direction, but talk to your doctor about options because although I think the natural way is wonderful, that doesn’t make the conventional way any less useful in the appropriate time and place. Good luck and keep me posted!

      Reply
    2. Laurie Willimott

      I was having some cholesystiti symptoms . Nausea and gastric reflux, but the biggest problem was flatulence . Not a good thing to have when you’re teaching a class for 8 hours straight everyday. The nausea was a bad enough to put me on a jello diet, which in turn caused a weight loss of 40 lbs. I went to my family doc, had all the usual tests and ultrasounds and it was determined that my gallbladder had sludge and that it needed to come out. I had the surgery and since my surgeon didn’t like the looks of the lining of the gallbladder, a small amount was sent for biopsy. It came back precancerous, stage 0. Gallbladder cancer is extremely rare. Had I not had it removed, by the time a diagnosis of gallbladder cancer was made, I would probably only have a few months to live.
      Tammy, your symptoms are severe and while I know no one wants to have surgery, the relief of my symptoms was very welcoming. The precancerous diagnosis would not have been found and that threat not removed without the surgery. While I was under anesthesia my doc got the diagnosis and proceeded to examine the surrounding lymph nodes to make sure it hadnt spread. The only thing you need to do after surgery is stop eating fatty foods. You don’t have the store of bile to easily digest the fats andthat could cause weight gain. Fatty foods upset me now, so I avoid them and I have not gained back the weight I’ve lost. Can’t seem to lose that final 20 but I’m not going to stop trying. I’m starting the apple cider vinegar and water next week. Anyway , please consider the surgery. You’ll get your life back.

      Reply
      1. amyneuzil Post author

        Oh my gosh Laurie,
        Thanks for sharing your story – and for the reminder that it isn’t always horses when you hear hoof beats, sometimes it’s zebras. It’s important to remember the rare conditions too.

        Reply
    3. Bulan

      Tammy, Can you please read “Greater Magickal Angels” by Damon Brand, and do some rituals in addition to whatever you are doing. This will help. Find at Amazon.

      Reply
  44. Pingback: Fiber for Gallbladder Sludge and Detoxification | To Health With That!

  45. Pingback: Fiber for Gallbladder Sludge and Detoxification | To Health With That!

  46. Tammy Jenkins

    Hi, I too am thankful for finding your site and would love any advice. After being exposed to toxic mold in a rental home 8 years ago, I have been experiencing horrible symptoms that always include my gallbladder. I have painful attacks in my gb area and always feel poisoned, especially worse after eating. I have been on a liver/gb cleansing diet for the last 8 years and NEVER cheat ~ I eat ridiculously well and cook all of my own food at home and have taken liver supportive herbs, don’t countless liver/gb flushes, coffee enemas, etc the whole time too. I even did a flush every 2 weeks in 2014 for the whole year and got out dozens of stones every single time which tells me my body is making these stones as fast as I can get them out. Since August, my symptoms have gotten worse and the gb attacks are chronic meaning all day long. The nausea and dizziness accompany the pain under my right ribcage and back right shoulder. I have had ultrasounds, CT scan, HIDA scan, endoscope, colonoscopy and all show no sludge or stones. The HIDA scan showed a ‘slow to fill’ gallbladder but this didn’t throw up any red flags to my doctors. I have been taking herbs to dissolve the stones and trying to add in Gallbladder ND and other gentle detox formulas but they send me into massive attacks every time. I noticed you said that burning pain doesn’t typically mean gallbladder. Mine is a mix between ache and burn. I am at my wit’s end and desperately need help.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Oh my gosh Tammy, what a nightmare! So – as long as your doctors have done all of the appropriate testing to rule out other pathology (like ulcers, hiatal hernia, god forbid a mass of some kind, gastritis, etc…) then I’d say we need to figure out if there is a food trigger that is unique to you. So not something that we would typically think of in a gallbladder diet, but something that sets your body off. Have you looked into food sensitivities? I wrote a post on it here but if anything is unclear let me know and I’ll do what I can to clarify. It could be that some typically “healthy” food is just not great for you. The bad news means you might have to have a more restrictive diet short-term, but I’m guessing that if you do find a food sensitivity then long-term it would mean you could add some of the foods that are already out of your diet back in. So long-term it could work out better in terms of having more food choices. Let me know if this helps!

      Reply
  47. Luis

    So I did the gallbladder flush two times. Once about 8 months ago and had great success. Got a great amount of stones or whatever it was out and felt great. So I tried it again 2 nights ago and didn’t get anything. Now I’m feeling the same burning pain in my gallbladder that I felt before I did the flush last time. I Dont really know what to do at this point. Whether to do the flush again or what. I definitely Dont want to have my gallbladder removed. If you can get back to me with some advice I would very much appreciate it. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Luis,
      I’m not a huge fan of the cleanse unless you know for sure what’s in there (i.e. not big stones – if it is big stones the cleanse can be dangerous). I don’t know much about you in particular, but generally I’d say talk with your doctor. Aching pain is typical for gallbladder but burning pain isn’t – that’s a little unusual and could be something like an atypical reflux or something else. It could be good to make sure you’re actually working on the right thing. If it feels the same as your previous gallbladder pain and the cleanse didn’t work, the trying the diet could be a great idea as long as the symptoms aren’t severe enough to merit immediate intervention. Honestly though, I’d make sure it’s a gallbladder issue first.

      Reply
      1. Luis

        I’m not very good at describing pain but its right where my gallbladder is. I had an ultra sound done before about 8 months ago or so when I had the pain and trouble with my digestive system and it came back with a little sludge in the gallbladder. I did the flush and got out a ton of stones out and felt great after. My digestive system had never been so good. So I went to do the flush again the other night and I was kind of tense laying there and it took me a looong time to even go to sleep and kept waking up through the night. Was never relaxed like the last time I did it. Morning came and throughout the day had the same diarrhea but no stones and ever since then iv been having that pain again scaling from a 1 most of the time all the way to I’d say around a 6 or 7 when its at its worst. Its not a crazy pain to where I can’t move but enough to make me really uncomfortable. And my digestive system has bee acting weird as well since then. I know this is a lot of info but I just need some advice on whether or not you think its wise to try the flush again and if so how long should I wait cause I really Dont want to deal with this pain again and I REALLY Dont want to get my gallbladder removed. Thanks again.

        Reply
        1. Lisa

          Luis,

          Get the urban moonshine bitters and take a healthy dose without water at the first sign of the discomfort. The bitters help to refill the gallbladder after it contracts and empties after a meal. I find that it eliminates the pain or severe discomfort that for me does not appear to be a stuck stone.

          Also’ if your gallbladder spasms, try taking Mag Phos 30 every 10 minutes for up to 4 doses.

          Reply
  48. Misty

    Hi Amy
    I had a pain through chest and under right rib on n off for 14 years! Mainly 2-3 x a year(I was 39)..at the time I had no clue what it was but came on after heavy meat meal etc
    Hospital thought it was my heart..anyway went away and as said I would get 2-3 x a year so would take a codeine to fix pain……I didnt know what uit was!
    I then went on low GI diet for 4.5 years and never had a pain / attack…….then got pregnant naturally at 45.5 and in first trimester ate some lamb sausages and bag pain again! I was so upset..I had it 4-5 x in pregnancy and noted meat aggravated it (but not every time I ate meat!)
    Anyway 2-3 years after the natural birth I went to Dr again and had gall bladder looked at . no stones only v small amount of sludge ..I was meant to have the camera down throat and rectum but didnt choose to go that way…..pain again would come 2-3 x a year……this year for 3-4 months I started to get it 4-5 x a month!!! And this was after being paleo for 18 months and increasing red meat….I found that this aggravated an attack….plus chocolate and nuts……mmmmm so I went to Dr and ended up having an MRI – they found a stricture in common bile duct 1.5cm..no inflammation in pancreas or stones anywhere………I have for past 2 months not eaten any RED meat and no attack…..and I have a few days ago gone back to LOWGI…Surgeon wants to do EUS and biopsy to check for tumor etc …..I dont want invasive diagnosis but wnat to turn this around with diet…LOWGI again as my intuition tells me – meat = inflammation = attack………..how realistic is it that 1. its not from cancer (I had blood test cancer markers all normal, bilirubin all normal) my cholesterol is always a little higher than norm……2. That I can through diet open the duct myself 3. Take herbs or alternative treatment thanks so much xx

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Misty,
      Wow – you’ve been working with this for a long time! I think you’re absolutely right that the meat is causing inflammation which makes the stricture worse. The inflammation could cause the tissues to hold water and puff up so that they seem even more constricted than they normally are. Having said that, I still think it would be a good idea to rule out more serious pathology (especially cancer). Partly because the sooner you catch something like that the more options you have to fix it, and partly because if I were you and I didn’t know for sure, it would always be there in the back of my mind. Better to know for sure! No matter what you choose to do, adopting a more anti-inflammatory diet will be beneficial no matter what. There’s some great information about anti-inflammatory foods here. Also here’s a post about some of the factors involved in inflammation in general. I hope this helps and keep me posted please!

      Reply
  49. Katja

    Dr. Amy
    Please help. I have been nauseous almost 24/7 for the last 2 months as well as some other symptoms, no pain. My Dr said I have sludge in my gallbladder and refured me to a surgeon. I really need more proof that my gallbladder is causing my problems before I have one of my organs ripped out.

    I was happy to find your page, but I have trouble eating anything. Most of the time now it seems like if I eat it sends me to the bathroom with diarrhea. I pretty much only drink ensure. If you have any suggestions it’s greatly appreciated. I’m getting to appoint ware I can’t take it anymore.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Katja,
      That sounds awful! Sadly I don’t think there is any way to know 100% what is causing your symptoms. You’d have to either have surgery (eek!)or do some pretty drastic gallbladder clean-out to see if it helps. If it doesn’t help, then something else is going on – which sounds obvious, but with a symptom lie this we just have to rule things out. Sadly, nausea is one of those totally non-specific symptoms, so unless you’re pregnant (any chance?) the cause isn’t clear. Can you tolerate apple cider vinegar with a little honey in hot water? sometimes that will help because it pushes your liver a little. Good luck!

      Reply
  50. Subodh

    Hi Doctor,
    I have acidity problem, After taking so many medicines my Family doctor consulted me to do Sonography after testing the same there is sludge in my Gallbladder. Then My doctor gave me specialist doctor contact, now treatment has started since 2 day. But what can i take precautions and what can i take in daily diet.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Subodh,
      When you’re taking the doctor’s protocol the best thing is to just eat a clean diet and boosts liver function to help clear the sludge out more quickly. In general no fried foods, decrease fats and oils temporarily and increase the fruits and veggies. Especially foods that support liver function like dark green leafy veggies, artichokes and beets. Here is a whole article on it. Good luck to you!

      Reply
  51. Diane B

    Dr Amy,

    I have a consultation scheduled with a surgeon on 12/7 to discuss the removal of my gallbladder. My ER sonogram states: “fatty liver” “full of calculi, wall echo shadow sign” and “common bile duct mildly prominent at 6.4 mm”. I don’t want to exacerbate the problem, but I need to try something before I meet with the surgeon and he tells me that surgery is my best option.

    I’ve recently ordered Biotics Research Beta Plus which contains: Ox Bile Extract 100mg, Pancrelipase (porcine) 50mg, Organic Beet Concentrate (Beta vulgaris) (whole) 100mg, Superoxide Dismutase (from vegetable culture) 20mcg, Catalase (from vegetable culture) 20mcg. Is this a good choice to help get my digestive system corrected?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Diane,
      Ack. Not fun when the gallbladder has been out so long that your liver has become fatty. The “full of calculus” remark means you do have stones so certainly don’t try any kind of gallbladder cleanse – for you it would be too risky. “Wall echo shadow sign” typically means that the gallbladder is filled with either one very large or many small stones, so again – no cleanse for you! That product sounds good to help your fat digestion and help to hopefully slow down or stop the formation of new stones, but how much it will help you to eliminate the ones you’ve already got I honestly don’t know. When your liver is becoming fatty then it’s typically time for big diet changes and often surgery. Sadly the natural methods aren’t usually quick or aggressive enough to deal with a gallbladder that is already full of stones, but if you choose to go naturally make sure you work with a practitioner in your area who can help monitor and guide you and make sure you’re getting good results. Good luck!

      Reply
      1. Diane Buller

        Dr Amy,

        Thank you so much for your response. I took one of the Beta Plus bile salt supplements and had a small attack. I changed my supplements to Lypo Gold and Stone Free. I don’t really have pain, but I do have a full feeling with mild cramping at times in my gallbladder area (with some other symptoms: dizziness, mild eye trouble, headaches). I’m afraid that having my gallbladder out will not solve the real problem and might possibly introduce more problems (colon cancer, etc) from the constant drip of bile into the intestines. I’ve been looking for a PCP to work with me in determining if the gallbladder caused the fatty liver, or the reverse. I haven’t had a PCP or good healthcare in a few years. Sounds like you’re saying the blocked gallbladder could be the cause of the fatty liver. Maybe having my gallbladder removed is my best option to avoid further health problems from all the toxins not being expelled. It’s a tough decision.

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          It is a tough decision – just listen to your body and find a practitioner you really like working with. You’re right that the gallbladder could cause fatty liver, or the same things that caused fatty liver could cause gallbladder trouble. Remember that the only “wrong” decision is ignoring it – anything you do to address the issue will be helpful. Great luck to you and if you feel like keeping me posted I’d love it!

          Reply
  52. Newreader

    You can find it on Amazon. Peppermint oil is probably one of the components.

    Since going on a mostly vegan diet and taking six of these a day, I haven’t had any more attacks… Hope it stays that way. (I have multiple small stones, according to an ultrasound.) supposedly the Rowachol has an antispasmodic effect, so that the gallbladder won’t squeeze so violently around the gallstones. I imagine this wouldn’t work in even more advanced cases.

    If you Google, you will see some studies done about Rowachol, either alone or with UDCA (ursodiol). But these days most doctors won’t even consider treating you nonsurgically.

    Reply
  53. Tammy

    Dr. Amy,

    Thanks you so much for responding to my questions…I really do appreciate it.

    I wanted to update you on my son’s situation. He saw an FP this week and had blood work done to check his liver, kidneys, pancreas and check for allergies, diabetes, gluten sensitivities etc. Not sure about the gallbladder, is that done with blood work?
    With his H&P the doctor does not feel like it would be his gallbladder. His thoughts were more on digestion and a systemic problem along with cystic acne. The main focus seemed to be with treating the skin and not the inside issue. Of course he ordered an antibiotic for the acne but we have not picked it up. I would like to see the results of the blood work before I even think of giving him another antibiotic! The specialists have treated without success, so I am not so quick to want to try this. Also when he said systemic I thought of Candida–if that is a possibility I surely don’t want to pump him full of antibiotics. I was encouraged to hear him say there could be a connection between the digestive problem and the skin, but discouraged when he ordered the antibiotic for the skin. I still feel the root problem is internal and the skin is a symptom of what is going on.

    Tammy

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Tammy,
      Thanks for the update! So – they won’t really get a feel for how the gallbladder is doing through bloodwork, and chances are they won’t investigate it further unless your son’s liver enzymes come back elevated. Still, I’m glad your doctor is looking at the digestion – that’ a huge bonus! I completely understand your concerns about the antibiotic, and I agree the root is probably internal although if the infection in the cysts is bad enough he may need both to address the internal and the infection. Is there a Naturopathic Doctor in your area you could take your son to? You can look up local practitioners here. It might be a good idea to get someone local who will look at the big picture in on the conversation.

      Reply
  54. Christine

    Hi, I was wondering if you could give me your input. I recently had gone to the hospital due to pain on my right side and they said it was from gall bladder sludge. No evidence of stones. I have recently given birth and dropped the weight quickly. I went to my regular physician and his suggestion is removal. I am wondering if it’s quick to jump to this if I can try a way to remove the sludge via diet and exercise and possibly changing diet habits moving forward, I already don’t eat red meat and am pretty healthy with my eating so willing to up my game if need be. My physician said electively removing the bladder is better option then having emergency removal cause I would go from one two day procedure to two weeks in hospital if it was emergency, is this true. I want to do the best option but also feel jumping to remove organs cause you essentially could live without them is not always the answer. What is your opinion here?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Christine,
      It’s a tough decision! Dropping weight quickly after pregnancy is one of the biggest triggers for gallbladder issues simply because your body is processing all of the toxins stored in your fat tissue and also dealing with the massive hormone shifts that come after pregnancy. It’s hard for that little gallbladder to keep up! As to what is the best decision for you I can’t say, but certainly sludge is something that can be dealt with effectively through diet, exercise and proper liver and gallbladder care. Your body is capable of clearing all of that out with the right support. And while I agree elective gallbladder removal is likely smoother than emergency surgery, I have only ever seen anyone in the hospital for two weeks in the direst of cases. That would be a situation of gallbladder bursting or going septic, not a routine emergency gallbladder removal (emergency sounds serious, and is, but this procedure is done by most surgeons hundreds if not thousands of times in their career – it’s typically pretty straightforward. So emergency in this case usually means “urgent” but not necessarily “complicated” if that makes sense). And I agree – jumping to remove pieces of your body is maybe a drastic step unless it’s absolutely necessary. Keep me posted!

      Reply
  55. Christine

    Hi dr Amy…

    Wondering if you may be able to advise. I had my gallbladder removed in February of this year. Followed by several pancreatic attacks, I had an ercp done in April which found a bunch of sludge in my common bile duct. A sphincterotomy was performed which alleviated the pancreatic attacks but I am still experiencing almost constant upper gastric pain through to the back. Every doctor is throwing up their hands bc nothing shows on any scan. Any recommemdations on diet or flushing or what might be causing the pain?

    Reply
  56. Neetu

    My husband have multiple gallstones of around 4-8 size one month ago he experience gallbladder pain and admitted in the hospital .but after one day he discharge as no pain is there . he started eating Apples and drinking lemone juice but soon after 3 days he again experience the pain and admitted again in the hospital but this time the pain is not gone completely he experience pain whenever he take breath what should I do . what is the reason behind this type of pain .Is the above treatment is helpfull

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Neetu,
      Oh goodness – sounds like your husband is going through a difficult time! With stones that size it is difficult to work with them naturally because they are already so large. When you’re using natural agents to soften or dissolve stones they can only work on the surface of the stones so the larger the stones are, the longer it takes to start to soften them. When they’re this large your husband would have too many painful episodes during that time to make it worth it. Also if he is experiencing pain whenever he takes a breath then it may not be all gallbladder related – although I’m sure they will test everything in the hospital. This is a situation where time is of the essence and the natural treatments may not be fast enough.

      Reply
  57. newreader

    Have you ever taken the German medicine Rowachol? It’s a mixture of plant terpenes that has been shown to shrink gallstones in some cases (especially when taken with ursodiol (Actigall).
    Unfortunately, it isn’t really prescribed in the US.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      I’m not familiar with that one at all – I’ll have to do a little research. Maybe there is a way to mimic it with plant extracts? Thanks for the tip – I’ll look into it!

      Reply
  58. angelina

    Hi,
    I am following a similar protocol under the care of a functional Dr. I am also using acupuncture and Chinese medicine tea. My gallbladder is still very inflamed and I have a lot of swelling. In addition to my gallstones and sludge, I am having slow motility issues, so I have been off of fiber. Aloe vera juice seems to be keeping me going in the morning. Is there anything else I can do for this? My doctor is good, but I’m getting afraid that I’m missing something. She is going gently.I am encouraged from reading these posts as I feel impatient with my discomfort (especially swelling at night affecting my sleeping position) as well. I was reassured (as well as bummed lol) when I read that it can take months. I’m so mad at myself for ignoring this decline in my gastrointestinal health. ALL the signs were there!!!!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Angelina,
      Don’t worry – you’re taking care of it now and that’s what’s important! I think your doctor is completely right taking it slow and steady – I know it’s frustrating, but it’s also effective and most importantly it won’t give you any gallbladder emergencies, which is a good thing. The only simple thing I can think of is castor oil packs – talk to the doctor you’re working with, but that might be a good way to reduce some of the inflammation without having to actually go through the gut, which is harder for you because of the motility issues. Good luck and keep me posted!

      Reply
  59. Tamm

    Dr. Amy,

    Thank you so much for all the information on the gallbladder. What a wealth of knowledge you have given!

    My question is whether gallbladder issues can have an impact on skin/face issues? My son (now 20) has had severe skin issues (mostly on his face) since his pre-teen years. After years of conventional doctors, specialists, nutritionists and misdiagnosis (parasites, MRSA, cystic acne) we still have no answers. These are much like welts inches long and wide filled with green pus, mostly blood and clear fluid. At the same time he was having digestive issues that would come up quickly and disappear just as quick. As time went on these became more like attacks and would last days. We were able to associate them with fatty, greasy foods and dairy. As the digestive issues got worse so did the skin issues. I sought a nutritionist for his skin issues and she diagnosed him with gallbladder issues–no testing done. She put him through many cleanses for the skin and jaundice of the legs due to toxins from much time spent on the golf course. She was not able to help him with the skin issues, but I am wondering if we were treating the wrong problem? Is the skin issues a symptom of the gallbladder, and the gallbladder the main problem? ACV has cleared up the jaundice. He has not had any attacks since taking enzymes, but I think that this is just a” band aid” . Since reading your article I have made phone calls to have the gallbladder addressed. I would like to go the natural way just not sure if this is the best way. It seems like testing would be the best decision before we try your regimen.

    Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

    Tammy

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Tammy,
      Wow – what a trial for a young man. Absolutely the skin can be affected by any kind of gallbladder or liver issue. This is simply because the skin is another route of elimination for toxins that the liver and gallbladder can’t handle. I would say he may have to detox both his skin (using topicals like clay) and work on the gallbladder and liver at the same time to really see a change. I do agree you may want to get him tested. Have his primary care evaluate his liver function as well as his gallbladder function and see what comes up – he’s also very young to have jaundice, so there could be a stone blocking functioning. Keep me posted – I”d love to know what happens!

      Reply
  60. Lisa Hawkins

    Hi. My husband has cerosis of the liver and hep C. He has terrible attacks of vomiting and pain. So far this year we have had to call an ambulance 5 times.
    He keeps to a healthy low fat diet and doesn’t drink or smoke.
    His doctor is sending him for ultrasound this week. He has had ultrasounds every time he goes to the emergency and nothing shows up.
    After reading as much as I can find it certainly sounds like gall bladder sludge.
    My question is…it it safe for him to take the above natural supplements that you advise? I’m just worried about his liver.
    Thanks so much for any advice.
    Lisa

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Lisa,
      For someone with that level of liver disease I would want him to be working closely with a practitioner who can monitor his liver enzymes and symptoms while he’s working on flushing out his gallbladder. It could be a good idea to look for a good naturopathic doctor in your area – there’s a search function on the website for our national organization here. Good luck!

      Reply
  61. Donna

    Hi Dr. Amy,
    Your advice please. Iam 40 old woman who diagnosed cholesistolithiasis and cholechystiyis. I hv sludge and multistones with measure approx. 0.32cm.
    With that size can they pass thru the duct? What remedy to reduce the size and how do we know the type of stone? Is it cholestherol stones or pigmen stones? What is the proper treatment for each stones. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time to read and reply my mail. Regards, Donna

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Donna,
      I hate to say it but the answer to all of those questions is “I don’t know!” Everyone’s ducts are different so it’s hard to say if those stones are too big for yours or if they will fit through. My guess would be that they’re bigger than they should be to pass through easily, but that is just a guess. In terms of what type of stones, again, I don’t know. *Most* stones are cholesterol stones, but there is still a chance of pigment stones and no way to know unless a doctor takes them out and tests them. Any sludge will respond to diet and good care, but the stones are a different issue. With stones I suggest you work with a local practitioner – especially a naturopathic doctor – when you’re trying to get rid of them naturally – just to make sure you’re doing it safely. There are products that help to dissolve stones including chanca piedra herbal extract and phosfood liquid from Standard Process. The practitioner you choose can help to guide you in their use. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  62. Lisa

    Hi Dr. Amy,

    It’s me again. For the most part, I have been doing better but every 2-3 weeks I get some pain and I am unsure of how best to alleviate it. In June of this year I went to the ER and had an ultrasound that the tech said showed about a dozen baby gallstones in my gallbladder but the rest of the gallbladder was clear. Because I knew I had a scheduled ultrasound in a couple of months and then a subsequent GI appt a week later, I did about 4-6 flushes in hopes of clearing out my gallbladder.

    But here is what happened: my ultrasound in August revealed no gallstones, but showed that my gallbladder was now filled completely with sludge. Do you think that this sludge came from the liver? When I was doing the flushes, I was getting out a ton of sand-like particles. At any rate, my symptom picture has now changed: I no longer get extreme pain, but regularly (every 2-3 weeks) get an uncomfortable pain that lasts for hours. This pain comes when I have eaten a heavy or fatty meal and then snacked again within an hour or so. I’m not sure if this pain I am feeling is because of sludge getting stuck in the ducts or because the gallbladder is trying to contract and the sludge is in the way. It seems to me that my treatment would differ based on whichever is causing the problem. If the pain is due to my gallbladder emptying all of the bile over too much sludge, should I take Betafood or beets or something that will stimulate the liver to make and release more bile to the gallbladder so that it will plump up again? Or should I take something that helps the gallbladder to release more bile and push out the stuck sludge? Or should I just take bile acids?

    Thank you for your help 🙂

    Reply
  63. Cp

    Can you recommend a source for malice acid powder? I simply cannot drink ACV regularly. I had success drinking a quart of apple juice per day for a week, but due to the sugar can’t continue that long term.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi CP,
      Apple juice is tremendously high in sugar and not a great option for many people, and the apple cider vinegar is certainly difficult for some people to choke down (I love it – go figure). Check on amazon – there are a number of supplement companies that make a capsule or tablet form of malic acid and there’s even a few who sell a powdered form. Just make sure it’s food-grade because it’s also used as an industrial chemical.

      Reply
  64. IM

    Hi Dr. Amy,
    I had my gall bladder removed Aug 2013. I wrote about my bile duct stricture & sludge issues. I started on a low fat diet, took apple cider vinegar every day & drank dandelion root tea a few times a week. I had an ERCP in Sept 14. They didn’t need to put a stent because when they went in my structure was no longer there. They cleaned the sludge. A previous ERCP confirmed structure. I am now on a very restricted fat diet. Am continuing apple cider vinegar & the tea as well as adding artichoke leaf tea to diet. Hoping to prevent future ERCP’s. Hope it helps someone else having similar problems

    Reply
  65. Nora

    Hi Dr. Amy,
    I wish to express my deepest gratitude to you for your articles and the wealth of information you are providing. I’m on week 5 of post gallbladder attack, have gone from mostly vegan to all vegan (except for some fish and what’s in the supplements I’m taking),
    Question, I do not see any mention of the stone breaker herb (chanca piedra). Do you have an opinion? Also, I’ve been on A-F Betafood and just added Cholacol (bile salts) in. I had a mini attack last night (15 minutes, I was able to arrest it with Apple Cider Vinegar and the homeopathic remedy Chelidonium Majus). Could the bile salts be aggravating to me?
    Thank you and much love to you.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Nora,
      Great questions and well-done with your progress so far. It sounds like you’re taking all the right steps. As for Chanca piedra, I have used and suggested it with great success – not mentioning it was an oversight on my part, but it’s a great herb. It just takes time (like every other natural solution). The cholacol can trigger “attacks” for some people, but it’s actually just stimulating your gallbladder to push things through more quickly. So the end result is typically really good, but there can be some short-term pain or spasm because it’s really pushing your gallbladder to contract strongly. In your position, when you’ve already started the process of cleaning things out, that can be a great thing to get the job done in a hurry. For someone who is just starting the process, it might be too strong or cause a full-blown attack so in general I suggest working with a practitioner. The apple cider vinegar is great too – I just love how simple and effective it is (and I’m a total homeopathy geek so don’t get me started with that one.) Again – congratulations on your progress and thanks for reading!

      Reply
      1. Mel

        I’m breastfeeding my 8 month old and found out a couple of days ago that i have gallstones. is chanca piedra an option for me?

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Mel,
          No – unfortunately it’s not recommended during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or if you’re trying to conceive. There is some indication that it may have mild hormonal effects, so it’s not a good idea. Really in pregnancy or breastfeeding we’re limited to dietary changes, lecithin (which won’t help stones but certainly helps with sludge) and also topical castor oil. Essentially we treat breastfeeding the same as pregnancy, so here’s a whole post about gallbladder issues in pregnancy. Good luck!

          Reply
    2. Taissia

      Hello, thank you for this post!!!
      I am 16 weeks pregnant and are having attacks every day now, sometimes up to 3. I went to ER and was told I have sludge and offered possible surgery. I would like to avoid surgery at least until the baby comes. I have started low fat vegan diet. No oils, no bad stuff. It’s been 3 weeks. I also take ACV for the attacks that helps to alleviate the pain within half to an hour. The attacks are very painful. I wonder what is safe for me to do to get this sludge out of my gallbladder faster! The vinegar makes me nauseous sometimes, I have to take it quite a bit though. Can you recommend something more. I will give the artichokes a try as well, I have been eating beets and beet greens. Thank you!

      Reply
      1. amyneuzil Post author

        Hi Taissia,
        Pregnancy is such a hard time for women’s bodies – our hormones just go crazy (and have to for a healthy baby) but that’s hard on the rest of our body. Right now the liver and gallbladder supportive foods are your safest option. Anything that gets too close to a cleanse or detox isn’t safe for you because your body will pass some of the toxins on to your developing baby and we don’t want that. Add in the artichokes, and look for the more bitter leafy greens like dandelion greens, arugula, turnip greens, mustard greens and that sort of thing. They aren’t the usual flavors we are used to , but they help to stimulate bile flow naturally and gently and are safe in the diet for pregnant women. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet will help too because fiber in your gut will bind to bile salts and pull them out into the stool. So more fiber, more greens, stick to the beets and apple cider vinegar and best of luck – I really hope you’re able to make it through the pregnancy without surgery!

        Reply
    3. Lisa

      Hi Nora,

      Can you please tell us the potency of the Chelidonium Majus that you used? Also, it seems like the strong apple cider vinegar would ‘antidote’ the homeopathic remedy if taken at the same time. I am interested because my sludge attacks, no matter how minor, last for HOURS. Although they are becoming fewer in number over time, I am looking for quick ways to neutralize or negate the pain and/or discomfort.

      Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

      Reply
      1. Nora

        Hi Lisa,

        I am using 30C potency of the C.M.
        I take a couple of pellets every night right before bed right now.
        During that episode I spoke about I took ACV and then the CM about 15 minutes later.
        However, about a week later I awoke with pain starting, took 1T of ACV in a bit of distilled water with a splash of apple juice and my pain stopped immediately.
        Here is my daily protocol right now
        Chanca Piedra 4 times a day
        Just started Planetary Herbals Stone Free (5 tablets a day)
        Apple Cider Vinegar (1 T in water 3 times a day)
        Taurine and Milk Thistle (once a day)
        A-F Betafood (2 tablets 3 times a day)
        Cholacol – bile salts (varies – anywhere from 0 – 4 a day)
        Fish Oil (1 a day)
        Probiotics (when I remember)
        Chelidonium Majus 30C (2 pellets before bed)
        Chamomile Tea (3 huge mugs daily)
        Distilled water (1/2 – 1 gallon daily)
        Vegan diet (except for fish)
        Lots of fruits and vegetables (my body loves fruit right now)
        healthy fats included in my diet – avocado, flaxseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, Omega 3 spread, nuts, seeds, fish
        Absolutely no refined sugar, white flour, caffeine, alcohol
        When a chocolate craving kicks in I make up a batch of banana chocolate nice cream (google for recipe)
        exercise daily (walks & yoga)
        massage weekly
        energy healing work.

        Reply
        1. Nora

          also the bitters Dr Amy recommended above.
          and lots of arugula and dandelion
          I am 7 weeks out from a sever attack that sent me to the ER asking for morphine and leaving me with a $3500 bill (ugh!)
          I have not taken as much as an advil in 2 decades, just to let you know how intense my pain was that night. I thought it was probably gallbladder but was afraid it might be Appendicitis.
          The above protocol has absolutely facilitated my healing process.
          Wishing you well, Lisa
          And everyone else here.
          Again, thank you Dr Amy for such a wonderful article, your many responses and all the love

          Reply
  66. Hal

    Regarding the beets and articoke, is it okay to steam tge artichoke? As for beets, Costco currently sells organic cooked Love Beets. So I would like to know if these cooked items will help the gallbladder or do they need to be raw.

    Also, what is Standard Process A-F Betafood, how do I use it and where can I buy it?

    I also ordered the Urban Moonshine Citrus bitters and Black Seed Oil but have not yet received them. How do I use them? I’m assuming some drops in water or something similar. I greatly appreciate any help as I have all the symptoms of gall sludge including profuse sweating and pain for weeks currently under ribs on my right on and off for weeks. I believe I had this very bad about four years ago and then it stopped. Now I get it occasionaly but I want to corre t it. I’m getting an ultrasound next week but I want to preferably flush the sludge naturally. Do not like any idea of surgery. Thank you very much

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Hal,
      Absolutely steamed artichoke is effective, as are cooked (or raw) beets. Effective and delicious is always my favorite combo. 🙂 Standard Process A-F Betafood is used to stimulate bile production – it is a whole food product that contains beets, beet greens and a variety of other things. Here’s a link to the company’s information page with suggested use. I don’t know where you can buy it locally, but Amazon is always worth a try. I love the Citrus bitters – they’re fantastic. I just use a dropper-full before meals (especially heavy meals) and you can take that straight or add it to water – it is pretty bitter, but that’s what stimulates digestion. I’m glad you’re getting the ultrasound – always make sure you get a full work-up from your physician because other liver diseases can look similar. Make sure you know what you’re dealing with and then we can attack it full steam ahead. Good luck and keep me posted!

      Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Lee Ann,
      The “how long” question is always a difficult one because every body is different. Honestly, go by your symptoms. Make sure you’re symptom-free for 2-3 months before you stop working to clear out sludge, and if you stop the diet and start having attacks again then start again and give it more time to clear out. I know that’s a vague answer, but it’s truly individual.

      Reply
  67. Brittany logan

    Hi! I’m 29 and been having horrible waves of pain , some days I don’t have it at all but when I do it’s painful and can last days straight. I finally got a hydra scan and sure enough my gall bladder is not working. They haven’t told me why yet I go Monday for a surgery consult , but no stones. Everything is just sitting there. My question is , would it cause problems to remove it than to keep it? I’m thinking its hormonally related. I have little estrogen more testosterone (yay! lucky me ) i never got my period on my own til I was about 23 and was pill induced. They said I’ve had pcos but my mom was the same way and had endometriosis. Anyway I had to go on fertility drugs to have one baby which ever since I’m falling apart,after labor I developed high blood pressure and a bad spine which I’ve had surgeries for, now this… I’m not even 30 yet! What can I eat and do in the meantime? I do think I’m leaning towards the removal of the gall bladder cause it’s so painful and the stress it puts on my body (or would removing it be worse)and to be honest I’m not sure why it’s not working in the first place yet, come Monday I should. I heard it can rupture? What do you think about the situation? Are you totally not for the surgery because it does more harm than good? Do I have time to try your methods because they said they want it out as soon as possible. …so I’m confused and want someone who will be honest. I’m very torn. I just need to be well for my 2 year old son♡

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Brittany,
      Ugh – sounds utterly miserable. Honesly – I’m not against gallbladder removal. There is a time and a place when it’s entirely appropriate and in most cases it isn’t a complicated surgery and doesn’t have too many long-term problems. There are cases where it doesn’t solve the problem (so the pain continues even though the gallbladder isn’t there any more) and there are cases where digestion is affected after the surgery and so fats and oils have to be carefully limited on an ongoing basis. For most people who get the surgery though, it’s an easy surgery, easy recovery and it fixes the pain issue without too much noticeable change in digestive function other than having to limit deep fried foods. My typical suggestion to people is that if the pain is severely limiting your life and it isn’t reasonable to take the time necessary to clear out sludge (it isn’t an overnight process), then surgery is a good option. If the symptoms are manageable and there isn’t urgency, then it makes sense to work at clearing out the sludge so you can avoid a procedure. In your case I think the surgery is totally reasonable but of course the decision has to be yours and certainly listen to your doctors – they know your situation well. I agree with you that it does sound like your hormones are the most likely culprit – woman are at much greater risk of gallbladder trouble because of our hormone changes and you’ve had more trouble with that than average. If you do decide to do the surgery, you can prepare for it by eating simple foods – steamed veggies, rice, small amounts of lean meats, fruit, and lots of water to drink. I’d avoid anything fatty or oily, anything fried, anything with too many sauces. Just keep it simple, take it easy on your body, and do what is right for you and your baby.

      Reply
  68. rocio

    hello please help, after having abdominal pain on my right side i went to see a GI doctor that had blood work done as well as an ultrasound, well today the front office call me and confirm that i got stones according to the images of the ultrasound. when i ask how big she couldnt help me. she just told me to make an appointment to have an endoscopy done as well as for one to see a surgeon.. but i really want to avoid surgery im currently breastfeeding.. is there anything i can take naturally? and not affect my milk supply as well as baby.. to tell you the true im lost of all the process any guide would help thanks!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Rocio,
      I would love to tell you that there was something natural to take, but while you’re breastfeeding it just isn’t safe. The reason is that cleaning out your gallbladder is a detoxification process where you are helping the toxins that build up in the sludge to leave your body. The problem is that when you’re making breast milk it’s easy for all of those fat soluble toxins to get mixed up in the breast milk because your milk is very fat-rich, which helps your baby to grow. We just don’t want that to happen because many of those toxins are the fat soluble hormones, which can certainly have an impact on your baby. So sadly right now is not the time for the natural approach. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  69. IM

    will the food & supplements help some one who has had gall bladder removed but has pain due to bile duct stricture & has sludge still. Do not want a stent in bile duct. Please help

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      The food and supplements can help to clear out sludge, but the stricture may or may not change. If it’s actually that the bile duct itself is stiffened or scarred then sadly the protocol won’t help. If the duct is big enough but blocked by sludge, then it could. Certainly worth a try though, and far less invasive than a stent! Good luck and keep me posted – let me know how it goes for you.

      Reply
  70. kathleen

    Hello,
    Thank you for this article! I’m currently 6 months pregnant with my third child and the gallstones i developed with my second is acting up again.
    I had cheesecake and was up this morning for two hours in pain, discomfort and vomiting. I’m ready to get this under control. While i figure some of the steps you mentioned i may not be able to complete due to the pregnancy and not knowing the size of the stones. I would like to know if you have any food resources for foods to eat. I’m scared to eat after this mornings episode but i will need to figure it out and hopefully be more in control of what i put in my body. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Kathleen,
      Yes – sounds like the progesterone was a little much for your body. Mine has always been sensitive to outside hormones too – the gentle pushes are usually easier to take. I would start the seed cycling following your natural cycle now and try doing the light-prompted ovulation around the full moon. Just changing the light conditions in your bedroom is enough for a lot of women to slowly come in line with the moon phases, but when you have a nice regular cycle it won’t happen all in one month – it will happen slowly over the next 6+ months as your cycle just slowly shifts a little bit at a time. Give it a shot though and see how it goes!

      Reply
    2. amyneuzil Post author

      Congratulations on the pregnancy! And yes – it’s a hard time for your poor little gallbladder. All those hormone shifts really do put your body under stress. Honestly, during pregnancy it’s important to still get good fats, but to balance that with the stress your body is under. Go for lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins and good fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts and seeds if they usually agree with you. Dairy and meat fats can be harder for some people so maybe minimize those. Outside of that though, I’d want to know more about your “normal” diet and state of health before getting too specific.

      Reply
  71. Lisa

    Hi Dr. Amy,

    What is your recommended protocol for a person experience discomfort or light pain from biliary colic caused by sludge? I am having success with the A-F Betafood and Livaplex and this hardly happens anymore but occasionally I run into this problem. The pain is not severe but is a dull ache that lasts for hours. Is there something I can take to relieve the congestion immediately? I am hesitant to take Tylenol because of the impact to the liver. I read somewhere that you can do a mini-flush to get things moving by taking magnesium citrate and drinking a small quantity of oil shortly after the magnesium.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Lisa,
      Honestly – the supplements you’re taking are great and would be my most immediate go-to responses. Outside of that just sticking to the diet is the best plan. I’ve heard of people doing mini-flushes, but to me the side-effects of the mini-flush would be just as bad as the dull ache. If you try it though I’d love to hear how it goes!

      Reply
      1. Lisa

        Welcome back, Dr. Amy! Are you back because you had your baby? if so, congratulations! I did try a mini-flush using flavored magnesium citrate from the pharmacy and I was getting ready to take the ol afterward but then the pain went away. I have to admit that the next day after having pain I always look at my poo (sorry, tmi), okay, honestly, I dig through it with wooden skewers which I promptly wipe and discard. The tiny ‘stones’ are sometimes soft and mushy, and sometimes they crumble. So far, they have always been yellow.

        Since I started taking the Gaia Milk thistle, I am also seeing light yellow stuff covering some of the excrement. Do you know what that is about? I assumed it was cholesterol. Initially, there was quite a bit of it and it was alarming but it has really dwindled off.

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Lisa,
          Ha! It’s okay – there really isn’t ever “TMI” – honestly I seem to spend a lot of my life talking about poop (and especially now that I’ve had my daughter! It’s the focus of WAY too many conversations at home.) Your mini-flush sounds very successful, which is fantastic! Just be careful and always listen to your body. The stool changes with the Milk Thistle are interesting. Honestly, the yellow stuff could be some derivative of cholesterol or bile that is being flushed out as your liver activity is increased. The yellow color can be from changes to the bilirubin (which is the metabolic waste that usually makes stool brown) or it could be from poorly digested fats passing through. Either way it usually goes hand-in-hand with gallbladder and fat absorption issues so it’s good that it’s tapering off – hopefully the milk thistle is helping your liver to increase bile production and flush out toxins, so all in all sounds like a good thing that all of that is moving through. Thanks so much for posting and sorry for the reply delay – but in good news I’ve had my baby and she’s precious, but I’m still trying to figure out how to be a mom and get anything done. Ha! Big learning curve for me. 🙂

          Reply
          1. Lisa

            When you figure out how to be a mom and get everything done let me know because my daughter is 11 and I still don’t have it figured out!

  72. Suzanne Villeneuve

    Hi Amy,
    I got my gallbladder removed 6 years ago and I’ve been miserable since then.
    I have a lot of cramping in my liver, poor digestion, bloating, nerve pain down my leg.
    I tried AFBetafood, Cholacol, Milk Thistle, Beet root powder and nothing works.
    I tried to eat just vegies and proteins but I get hungry on this diet and I cramped a lot.
    I want to kill myself everyday cause it’s hard to live when food hurts you and hunger hurts you.
    Can you help me?
    Thanks. Suzanne.

    Reply
  73. Amanda

    Hello Amy,

    I had my first gallbladder attack in April of this year 2015. My second baby was a little bit over a month old. My husband rushed me to the ER in excruciating pain at 2am.The doctors wanted to administer morphine which I refused because I was, and am still breastfeeding. I dealt with the pain as they did blood work, and an MRI. The doctors then admitted me saying that I had appendicitis and would have to have it removed. They then sent me for an ultrasound. While doing the ultrasound it was confirmed that I had gallstones. They administered antibiotics and the pain instantly subsided. A surgeon explained that my appendix was swollen but that the pain that I was explaining sounded as though it was coming from my gallbladder, which was likely since I had recently given birth. She recommended waiting it out and going on a juice diet for a week. I did and a week later ate a small portion of tuna and white rice and had yet another terrible attack. I went to the ER the nurse said that I could schedule surgery and return and also suggested a nutritionist since I stated I was opposed to surgery. In less than 5 months I have had 7 attacks, most of which have lasted over 24 hours and have been virtually unbearable. I am looking for a more holistic approach to eliminating the gallstones, and my G.P is of little to no help. Do you have any suggestions? I am 24 and want to keep my gallbladder, but need to do something about the stones. I do not want to keep having these dreadful attacks.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Amanda,
      Yes – the hormone fluctuations of pregnancy are a huge trigger for women and can really rapidly contribute to some serious stones. There are protocols to help dissolve stone while we clear out the sludge, but it will always be slower than surgery – which is fine if you’re not suffering horribly, but a bigger decision when the attacks are horrible. We could schedule a free 15 minute consult to talk about your options and see if the natural approach sounds right for you – but of course the time thing is the biggest consideration.

      Reply
  74. CP

    I wanted to post an update and maybe this will help someone else. I saw a local natural chiropractor. She had me take 15 Betafood, 30 drops of Phosfood and a quart of apple juice per day. I was also taking 8 Cholocal some days too. She wanted me to do the cleanse with disodium phosphate, but stay in touch with her every few hours. By dinner the first day I got a citrus smoothie and ended up feeling really nauseated. She told me not to proceed. She said time will tell if I’ve done enough, and I can try again in a few months. The good news is I am feeling much better. I’m going to continue with the regiment for now.

    Reply
  75. PJ

    *correction to my other post, the two procedures are both removing the gallbladder but Laparoscopy is faster to heal than the cut-open surgery.

    Reply
  76. PJ

    Hi Amy,
    I was able to learn a lot from this article and the discussions. Thank you so much.
    I have a family history of a gallstone former, and I manifesting symptoms (back pain, right upper tummy pain) that’s why i went to an internist and suggested to have an ultrasound.
    Good news, no gallstone yet! But sludge are already present. There’s no need for surgery, YET, the Dr said. But eventually i’ll been needing one if the sludge turns into stones. The Dr said i have two options, Laparoscopic or; the other is gallbladder removal.
    But i am putting my hopes up in this third option i am learning here and willing to endure some pain along the way than having a surgery.
    A lot of thanks and will keep visiting this article.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Awesome! I’m so glad you’re willing to try clearing out the sludge naturally before either of the surgery options. Keep me posted on how it goes for you – honestly the dietary steps are the most powerful so keep at it.

      Reply
      1. PJ Sinohin

        Hi Dr. Amy,
        First, Thanks for this thread. it helped a lot!
        just had a follow-up ultrasound in the last week of October, (the first was July where my gallbladder was noted with some sludge).
        For the past months (August-October) i just increased my juice intakes and banned my self from fast foods and as much as possible no beef/pork/chicken skin or anything fried.
        As of October no sludge was noted by the doctor, but i can still feel some uneasy sensation after eating anything fried or beef or pork. There was no note for my gallbladder from the Dr. but instead found out I have a fatty liver. Can gallbladder sludge be gone that fast? (3 months and I lost approx 10lbs from a healthier diet) I’ll have my follow-up ultrasound this January. Thanks for this thread. it helped a lot!

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi PJ,
          I am so glad you’re getting good results! And absolutely sludge can clear out in 3 months, but with the fatty liver it sounds like you would benefit from sticking to a cleaner diet for a while longer. Even that can be reversed with a healthy diet and by doing what you’re doing. So a huge congratulations for clearing out your sludge! That’ a big deal.

          Reply
          1. PJ Sinohin

            Hi again Dr. Amy,
            its now January and had a follow-up ultrasound.
            no sludge and no stone in the gallbladder but just 0.3 cm polyp in which the gastro Dr is not alarmed. Still having some discomfort on upper right tummy and upper right at the back. The Dr suggested i have a CT scan and we’ll see if the cause of the pain is not from the gallbladder. will update again.
            Thanks for this thread again. Cheers!

  77. Teecee

    I’ve been having horrible pains periodically that last 8-15 hours. I had a ultrasound and there is a 1.6cm shadowing gallstone as well as gallbladder sludge. Gallbladder wall thickening up to 6.1 mm. What should I do? Can I do this regiment?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Teecee,
      This regiment will help clear out the sludge, but won’t be strong enough to dissolve the stone – and that’s a pretty big stone (certainly not safe to do the gallbladder cleanse with oil and citrus juice – that one would be likely to get lodged somewhere, which would be awful). I’d suggest talking with a local practitioner who works with this sort of thing to get you on a more complete protocol that will start to address the stone too. If you don’t have anybody locally that works with this then I do take remote clients – you can see more information about that here. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  78. Nick Ang

    Your explanation of the causes and remedy for the condition present in stones and sludge in the gallbladder is an eye opener for me although my wife has started on a very simple, maybe crude regimen of taking apple cider, apples with lots of water to drink on a daily basis for a week. After a week she is recommended to take a teaspoon of Epsom salt ( Magnesium Sulphate ) with a glass of warm water to open up the gallbladder ducts. This to be followed up 4 hours later with half cup of olive oil and half cup lemon juice mixed well together. This should discharge most ofthe stones if not all the following morning.
    She is scheduled to see the Hepatobiliary specialist with whom she has made an appointment more than a week ago but has yet to see the results of the abdominal ultrasound revealing the stones and sludge. The ultrasound was recommended by her cardiologist after seeing high bilirubin readings on her bloodworks.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Nick,
      Just be careful with the cleanse-type protocol before you know what’s in there because if she forces her body to push out stones that are too big to pass easily she could land herself in the ER with an emergency gallbladder removal. I wrote a post about the cleanse and what to watch for here. There are appropriate times and places, but be careful before you see the ultrasound results!

      Reply
      1. Amber Peterson

        Hi There, I have been suffering my first gallbladder attack from sunday to Friday. That Friday I had an ultrasound and was said it was super clear and my liver, gallbladder measure good. CAn an Ultrasound show sludge?
        Through last week I had ACV drinks, lots of water and apple juice. my diet has been very blan and either liquds or a salad or potatoe with broccoli. I started an herbal liver gallbladder cleanse on Tuesday. I woke up this morning, Wednesday , not feeling well again…. would it hurt if I were cleansing it?
        I haven’t done the Oil citrus drink because I dont have stones… Should I??
        Thank you in advance for any insight!

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Amber,
          It might not be gallbladder – especially if the ultrasound looked beautiful. Typically sludge does show up, not as clearly as stones, but enough that the ultrasound tech should have been able to spot it. When you went for the ultrasound did you also see a GI doc or did anybody do any additional testing? It might be a good idea to explore further because *lots* of things can mimic gallbladder. Also – it shouldn’t hurt if you’re cleansing or supporting the gallbladder and without seeing any sludge or stones I wouldn’t do the oil/citrus combo because it’s pretty unpleasant and puts a lot of stress on your digestive system so if there’s something else going on it might be counterproductive. Honestly, I’d just go back to your doctor to see what else it might be before you take any drastic steps. Good luck!

          Reply
    2. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Nick,
      There is lots of information on the web about the gallbladder cleanse that you’re describing your wife doing. My only suggestion would be to be careful and maybe save the epsom salts and oil part until you’ve seen the ultrasound results. I’ve seen a number of clients who have ended up in the ER having emergency surgery because there was a bigger stone lurking in there that they didn’t know about and the cleanse essentially forced their gallbladder to try to expel a stone that was too big for the duct. Here is some more information about the GB cleanse and safety. Overall making long-term changes is the best way to go, but the cleanse does really help some people. Good luck!

      Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Catrina,
      Great question! Food-based changes are usually safe in nursing, but any kind of detox isn’t because some of the toxins will pass through the breast milk to your baby. Also I would say you should check with your OB before starting any kind of supplement while nursing. It’s a hard time to start any kind of new supplement routine for yourself because so many things aren’t safe.

      Reply
  79. Grace

    I although don’t eat more of fatty foods. I developed Gall bladder sludge. Now is there way that I can get rid of it naturally without medications?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Grace,
      Gallbladder sludge in women is often not connected to a fatty diet – female hormones play a big role. Start with the gallbladder suggestions from this post, and when it’s hormonal then work also on supporting your liver (which helps to detoxify excess estrogen) and also seed cycling to regulate your hormone cycle (even if you’ve had a hysterectomy or are post-menopausal this helps your body to get into a good rhythm and normalize the way your body processes hormones). If you know you have bigger hormone problems – like endometriosis or PCOS, then it’s probably a good idea to work with a good natural practitioner in your area who can help you balance things out or schedule an appointment with me. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  80. Cp

    Thank you for this post. One of the best I’ve found so far. I had an ultrasound done a couple weeks ago that showed small stones. The NP I see wants to have it removed. I really want to avoid surgery. I’ve been having fairly constant nagging lower middle back pain (achy almost reminiscent of back labor just less severe). She said its referral pain from my gallbladder. My bile duct was 2 mm and she said that meant I had already passed some stones and that’s not good. I just don’t know who to listen to. I just want to feel better. I drink apple cider vinegar in apple juice bc it’s the only way I can get it down. I absolutely detest the taste. It nearly makes me vomit. I’m considering trying Stabdard Process Phosfood. Some things I’m reading are a little concerning. Is this safe to take? Does it taste worse than ACV?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi There!
      Ugh – yes the nagging back pain is not fun at all. Doing it the natural way is entirely possible, but obviously much slower than just having your gallbladder taken out – although ironically for some people the surgery doesn’t fix the pain. Possibly because they have little stones lodged in the liver or in smaller ducts that aren’t also taken by the surgery – it’s hard to say. I have used the Standard Process protocol with many patients with good results. The Phosfood is probably the sourest thing you’ll ever take, ever. Drinking water afterward tastes sweet because your taste buds are so shell shocked, but it’s also strong enough to start to dissolve those little stones from the outside. Keep in mind, if it can dissolve little stones, it can also do damage to tooth enamel if it’s in your mouth for too long and the most common complaint that I have heard about it is that occasionally someone with weak or thin enamel will get some tooth sensitivity (at which time I typically have them stop the Phosfood). It is totally possible to get rid of the sludge and stones when they’re small like this, it just takes time and good self-care. So really – it comes down to how much discomfort you’re in and is it worth it to wait. Good luck with the decision!

      Reply
      1. CP

        Thank you for the reply! I purchased the Phosfood (hasn’t arrived yet), AF Betafood and Milk Thistle. I have started the latter two and can already tell a difference. I’ve eaten some fatty meals with no discomfort. I’m working on cleaning up my diet so hopefully the combination will bring resolve. I am so grateful to have found your site. Thank you so much for this extremely informative post. Cheers!

        Reply
      2. Cp

        Hello again! I saw a GI specialist who said the issue with gallbladder disease is not the stones per se but a gallbladder that doesn’t contract properly any longer. I had never heard that before. Of course I didn’t tell him that I’m working to dissolve the stones slowly because according to him they can never be dissolved. It’s so hard to find good information on such an important health issue.

        Reply
        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Oh wow – yes that’s a whole different ballgame! But even if your gallbladder isn’t contracting the way it’s supposed to, clearing out sludge and stones will be helpful. Obviously it won’t fix the contractile problem, but it will make it easier because at least then the poor little guy isn’t contracting around obstructions. Keep me posted and thanks for the update!

          Reply
  81. Jannis Buhr

    This has been very helpful to read. I have had issues since April: Sinus and Ear infection which I thought led to Anxiety attacks. In May, however, I experienced major nausea, vomiting and discomfort and so went to the ER. Turned out my gall bladder is full of sludge. The doctor at the ER got me set up with a surgeon immediately to get my gall bladder taken out! I decided to look at other options. Now it’s June. While waiting for my appointment with a naturalist doctor I got another nausea attack. I am currently under the care of a Nurse Practitioner who is in a Bio Energy Medical Clinic. She has me on Bile Salts, Nystatin, Clay and a probiotic. I’ve been on them for 2 full days. I guess my issue is my impatience for this to clear up and for the nausea to stop. I’m trying to figure it out–how to eat, drink…mornings are the worst, by evening I’m feeling better enough to eat a little more. Any suggestions on eating during this process? And how long does it take to clear???? I’m going to go get some beets and spinach!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jannis,
      You are so not going to like this news, but honestly it can take a while (months…) to fully clear sludge. I know that’s not the news you wanted, but sadly it’s true. The good news is that if you can make a dent in it by really doing a lot this week then hopefully after this week you will be symptom-free or mostly symptom-free for the rest of the process, but you do have to keep at it. The bile salts will help tremendously and the clay will help to bind the gunk your body does release so that you don’t pick any of it back up. All in all you’re off to a good start. If you can, this might be a good week to just focus on getting lots of liver and gallbladder foods and not so much of anything else. You may lose some weight, so make sure that will be okay for you and check with your doctor if you’re not sure. I would focus on just getting beets or pickled beets – the vinegar really helps for some people, veggie juices if you have a place in town that will juice them fresh, the apple cider vinegar drink and lots of water. Keep taking the things your NP gave you – she sounds great! The nausea is no fun at all, but hopefully it will go away pretty quickly as the sludge starts to thin a bit – the fresh veggie juices really help too. I especially like a kale/cucumber/ginger/apple combo to soothe the stomach and beet/carrot is delicious. After that it’s just doing the ongoing work to make sure it clears out completely. I usually ask my clients to plan for about 6 months of being better about diet and taking some kind of supplements. Also if the supplements you’re taking aren’t working fast enough, ask your NP about the Standard Process protocol for gallbladder sludge – it’s a really effective one!

      Reply
  82. Gemma

    Hello Amy,

    Thank you for this article, it is very poignant for me at the moment. I had my first baby a year ago, I’ve never been overweight but I did lose my baby weight quickly when my body remembered it was dairy and gluten intolerant after finishing breastfeeding! I had my first gallstone attack in January this year and was taken to hospital by ambulance on entinox. That was my first and worst attack. I’ve had smaller occurences since but nothing like that scale. A scan in February revealed sludge. A consultation with a surgeon resulted in recommended surgery but I am less than keen. It feels partially precautionary rather than an absolute must. How likely am I to be ok if I try the things you suggest? Is it a case of doing this for a period of time and then remaining careful but less in a treatment phase after a time? If so, how long do you think it would take to feel better? I would say I am aware of my gallbladder niggles on a daily basis but wouldn’t say I had proper pains all the time, more a dull ache.
    We are hoping for a baby number 2 at some stage and my concern is having gallbladder issues in pregnancy or the safety of treatments, natural or otherwise, during pregnancy. I’d like to know I had things under control before embarking on another pregnancy.
    This is going to sound very ignorant but if I was looking for a practitioner locally, specifically which profession do I need to look up? I am in England, UK.
    Many thanks!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Gemma,
      Thanks for writing! I’m in the middle of my first pregnancy right now so I’m especially happy to see your question. Pregnancy is a really vulnerable time for your gallbladder because the rapid weight changes combined with rapid hormone changes take a huge toll on the poor little guy. And you’re right that pregnancy number two could trigger more issues, simply because it’s the same challenges on an already stressed system. I do think if you tackle the issue strongly now and give your body maybe 6 months before trying for a second pregnancy (although sometimes these things are less planned than we’d like them to be) then you’d have a good shot going into it of keeping troubles at bay. Since you’ve stopped breastfeeding I’d say start with a really strict diet, the apple cider vinegar and honey drink, and liver/gallbladder supportive foods. Also you may have to be careful about fats and oils in your diet through the next pregnancy. I do think talking with a practitioner and getting on a good supplement protocol would be a tremendous help, although I can’t honestly say I know who to best send you to in the UK. In the US it would be a naturopathic doctor for sure, but in UK I don’t believe that means the same thing – I think naturopaths have a very different education and scope of practice. Possibly a nutritional therapist? Although I don’t know what sort of access to practitioner-strength supplements that would afford. I am able to do phone or skype consults for clients anywhere in the world, but we might have to go through a series of odd steps to get the supplements you need to you. All in all I wish I could say with some certainty that doing everything right you would be guaranteed to have no more attacks with the next pregnancy, but I can’t. Even if we get your gallbladder totally cleaned out before the next one, pregnancy can be a chaotic enough time to cause the same trouble again – although not cleaning your gallbladder out before the next pregnancy would make that a certainty. I hope this is helpful!

      Reply
  83. Christine

    Dear Amy,
    I have had terrible upper gastric pain since January. I hesitated for two months to have my gallbladder removed until one very painful panreatic attack landing me in the ER. I consented to the removal at the end of February but unfortunately had three more attacks of pancreatitis, with super high amalyse and lipase levels. Liver function was always normal. I finally sought a specialist help in NYC and he preformed an ercp, removing sludge and stones and cutting a small biliary duct open. Since then, the terrible stomach pains and pancreatitis have stopped but I have a constant dull pain in the same region and in my back. Is there anything I can do to prevent the build up of sludge in my pancreatic duct and the backing up of bile (which was causing the pancreatic attacks)? I am gluten and dairy free and am taking several supplements to aid in digestion. Thanks for any help….I’m so afraid that I’ll have to have a repeat ercp again ;(

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Oh wow. It sounds like you’ve been through the wringer for sure! ERCP is not fun at all. My guess would be that they managed to get the main ducts cleared, but not able to get sludge and small stones out of the smaller ducts and that is what is causing the persistent pain. It’s a guess but seems logical. Certainly keep working on food-based intervention. No bad fats and oils (so no fried foods, no hydrogenated oils, no trans-fats) really limit alcohol, and add lots of veggies, fruits and fiber. I’d make the apple cider vinegar drink part of your daily routine as well. Potentially there are some supplements that could help – although I’d want more info about your case before suggesting anything because I don’t want to risk the potential of throwing you into another pancreatitis episode – those are too awful to risk lightly. I hope this helps and if you want to talk about supplements we can get you on the schedule here.

      Reply
  84. Julie

    Thank you so much for recommending the Panplex Phase 2 Enzymes for my mother-in-law. She is feeling so much better since taking them. I just picked up more for her today since she ran out.

    Reply
  85. Mat Hare

    I have been getting gallbladder pain for about the last year. After the initial onset of a couple of weeks i was sent for an ultrasound. This discovered that i have gallbladder sludge and a slightly fatty liver. I am 33 and enjoy probably more beer than i should (which would explain the liver). I have tried the rather drastic and very unpleasant olive oil approach which resulted in no relief and much vomitting!
    I was dieting with the help of calcium pyruvate before the initial onset of pain and although i was not hugely overweight i did manage to lose around ten pounds in a very short space of time.
    The pain is not excessive but it is there constantly, i have never had any serious attacks just a daily nagging pain in that area. Would really appreciate some advice on simple remdey options for clearing the sludge as i live on a very small island and most of the products you list i cannot find.
    Also wondered if you’d heard of a link between this condition and the supplementing of calcium pyruvate?
    My doctor is at the stage of recomending removal of the gallbladder but i would prefer to avoid that if possible.
    Thanks for your help and great article btw.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Mat,
      I totally understand the not having access to supplements thing. That makes everything much harder. And yes – honestly I’m not a huge fan of the olive oil and lemon juice thing – too much dramatic sickness with too little benefit! I actually wrote a blog post about it here. When you can’t supplement you’re left with diet so that means you will have to be especially careful. Honestly if you can it would be great to take about 3 months for a really clean diet – cut out all fried foods, limit meat to one meal per day, cut out dairy and as many grains as you can, and cut out alcohol (not forever, but give your liver 3 months). Basically you’d be down to veggies, fruits, rice in moderation and meat in moderation. Lots of water with either lemon juice or a bit of apple cider vinegar with a little honey. For most people this will clear out the sludge and decrease the pain, but it’s obviously not easy. As for the calcium pyruvate – I actually don’t ever suggest it if there are any gallbladder or liver issues. It can help break down fat in the body, but that can lead to more fat being backed up in the digestive tract and if your liver and gallbladder aren’t keeping up anyway then it can actually induce problems. I know the super clean diet is hard, but you can do it for 3 months – it just has to be worth it to you.

      Reply
  86. Linda

    I had my gall bladder removed when I was 21, I’m 52 now. I was never given any instructions for dietary concerns but now understanding a little of how the body works and what is missing. I haven’t really found any articles online about that either. Do you think using some of these methods like “Increase production, liquifying, and dumping the bile” would still be helpful for someone without a gall bladder?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Linda,
      Absolutely! Your body still needs to use that bile to help you emulsify and digest fats in your digestive tract – and that is actually harder for your body without a gallbladder, so it’s especially important for you to optimize liver production of bile (the liquefying and dumping are less important unless some of your bile ducts are sludgy). For sure focus on some good gallbladder and liver foods. I’d suggest reading this post about boosting and protecting liver function as well.

      Reply
  87. Gina

    Is it normal for a gallbladder attack to last for a week or more? I’m trying the olive oil and lemon juice also acv 2x per day and the pain and swelling still persists. I don’t have money for a lot of tests or extreme medical care so I’m trying this on my own. I eat a very healthy plant based low fat diet so this was a surprise. But I am currently going through menopause and now 30 lbs overweight, female and 46.. I understand that can be a major factor. Happy to find your site as I try to first approach things naturally.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Gina,
      It’s not common for an attack to last a week or more, but it depends on what you mean by attack. Often if there’s inflammation, sludge, or stones there can be a constant feeling of pressure, pain and bloating specifically in that area on the right side under the rib cage that is always there in the background and sometimes gets better or worse. That is very typical and I hear it all the time. Not so typical would be a true “attack” with nausea, vomiting, severe pain, sweating and sometimes faintness – those are the ones that usually send people to the ER and they typically last a few hours to a day. And honestly – menopause and the extra estrogen caused by carrying a little bit of extra weight are huge gallbladder triggers and so even with a healthy diet like yours many women struggle with gallbladder stuff. When you’ve got that nagging, persistent pain and discomfort it really can take a while to get the symptoms to calm down, and probably through menopause you will need a little support. In this type of situation I really like to support gallbladder and liver function with AF Betafood and Livaplex from Standard Process. They’re simple and gentle and will help boost what you’re already doing. Also the olive oil and lemon juice isn’t a great idea long-term. Just once in a while. Keep doing the apple cider vinegar though – it’s incredibly helpful long-term!

      Reply
  88. yampie

    I have been having this pain for over a year now. Thus far there has been no dx o Gall Stones or Sludge. I have had xrays, Ultrasounds and CT’s. The symptoms fit EXACTLY and I read somewhere that Gall Sludge can be hard to detect via xrays and CT’s and Ultrasounds? Is this true? I can’t get a doctor to help me b/c they can not “see” the stones/sludge.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Absolutely that is true. “Sludge” is essentially bile salts that have bound to cholesterol or other fats (as they’re supposed to do) but stayed within the gallbladder. X-ray will never show it, ultrasound and CT will only show it if it’s very thick, if it is causing the gallbladder to bulge, if there are small calcifications or if it’s there in large quantities. Still, I’ve seen several clients who have all the symptoms, nothing shows up, and working with a gallbladder protocol still brings them relief. The other thing it could be is what I’d call an over-burdened liver. If your liver is a little bit behind on the toxins it has to process then sometimes bile production can decrease and produce the same symptoms. If you’re interested it may be a good idea to set up a phone or skype consult!

      Reply
  89. kim

    Thank you soo much for your info on this site. It has been the most helpful site I’ve read so far.
    I have been getting random attacks since January this year, a total of 6 with the last two being the most painful. My pain only occurs after midnight and is on the right side and lasts for 7 to 8 hrs. During my attacks I usually just have excruciating pain and break out in fever like sweat however with my last two the pain elevated to my lower back and gave me nausea and vomiting till there was nothing left but greenish looking saliva.
    The past two weeks I’ve gone to get CT scans for appendicities and liver problems. I’ve been told appendicities is clear and liver is fine just a bit of fat on it however there is sludge in the gall bladder and this could be the cause of pain. My Dr has now referred me to a specialist.
    Reading your article, this is most likely the case? Your article has suggested afew things to take however I’m not sure what to start with. Can you please suggest.
    Many thanks.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Kim,
      Yes – honestly it sounds like sludge for sure. If you haven’t cleared it out then your body tries to do it for you, which is horribly painful and often ends with vomiting bile. Great news that your appendix and liver are healthy but for sure we need to work on that gallbladder. The most important thing is your diet – make sure you’re eating a low-fat, high veggie, high fiber diet and adding in some of the liver and gallbladder foods to help increase bile production and flow. Also adding in apple cider vinegar in water or lemon juice in warm water in the morning can help to kick start the process. In terms of supplements a nice gentle place to start is the Standard Process gallbladder protocol – but it will have to be suggested by a practitioner. If you don’t have anyone there locally who uses natural therapies for gallbladder then I see clients remotely – but it’s always nice to have someone local. The diet is the biggest thing though – make sure you’re doing that first!

      Reply
  90. connie

    I have bile reflux. What causes it and can it be corrected? I have also been told that I need to have my gallbladder removed because of sludge. thanks

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Connie,
      Great question! The simplest answer is that the sludge is mostly likely responsible for bile backing up into your stomach instead of flowing through the more usual channels so clearing out the sludge will help tremendously. If you’re having acid reflux at the same time as the bile reflux then there are additional problems that need to be addressed – and if that’s the case I’d suggest a consult with myself or a local ND in your area. When the sludge is making bile flow difficult though sometimes it gets pushed into places that shouldn’t necessarily have bile so that would be the first priority. Start with a gallbladder healthy diet and if that isn’t enough then work with myself or a good practitioner.

      Reply
  91. julie

    Hi, my mother-in-law had her gallbladder removed many years ago. In the past couple of years, she has been having an issue with bile sludge which she has to get removed in the hospital at least 2-3 times a year. The procedure is very unpleasant. She is not taking any enzymes and I was wondering if the Panplex 2-Phase that you mentioned above would be good for her to take? Should she also take a probiotic as well. Thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Julie,
      The Panplex 2-Phase could be a great place to start because then as she’s eating it will supply a small amount of ox bile to help her body process the fats and to not build up additional sludge. Always start with one with meals and increase from there if she tolerates it well. There are supplements that can help to break up any sludge that is there as well – I really like the Standard Process protocol. If the Panplex isn’t enough to keep her clear then scheduling a consult to talk about something like that might be helpful.

      Reply
      1. Julie

        Thank you very much. Just picked some up on the weekend and she has started taking them. Much appreciated.
        Julie

        Reply
  92. Maggie P

    Thank you for this wealth of advice and information. Could you advise on the use of the bitters? For example, when and how to take them?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Maggie,
      Oh I *love* bitters. In general I suggest taking some before meals – either straight onto your tongue (part of the way bitters work is through stimulating those taste buds) or in a little bit of water sipped before the meal. This is kind of a modern mirror of the bitter or aromatic aparitif drinks many cultures traditionally take before a heavy meal like Pernod, a French herbal anise drink or Fernet, the Italian version. Bitters can also be used as needed when you’re having abdominal discomfort or pain or a heavy feeling in the liver region from gallbladder distress. In those cases just a dropper full in a small glass of water can help to increase bile flow and get things moving again. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

      Reply
  93. Jed Cudala

    For good reason, I think I have had this gallstone for about 20 years, and have had a dozen attacks or more. In 2006, my ultrasound results showed a “shadowing echogenic focus within the lumen measuring 1.7 cm.” in my gallbladder. My last attack a few days ago was the longest and most severe. I was in pain for three days until I was prescribed 1 tablet of Arcoxia 120 mg a day, and an antibiotic. My urine is reddish orange. Just this March 16, 2015, my ultrasound results showed my “gallbladder walls diffusely thickened, measuring 1.4 cm., and the previously noted shadowing calculus now measuring 1.6 cm.”

    I need to remove this gallstone asap. and upon research, am considering natural apple cider vinegar treatment. My greatest concern is the possibility of getting the stone lodged in a duct, which as you say, and I have heard, does happen. An emergency case, I imagine this would be worse than the most severe gallstone attack. What are the chances of this, and can this be prevented? What can you tell me about this? In the end, is it better to go for an operation?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jed,
      Yes – it is severe and can be life-threatening when a stone gets lodged in one of the ducts and typically the only way out is emergency surgery (which is not fun at all). If you’re not doing anything like the gallbladder cleanse that specifically pushes your gallbladder to release then the chances of a stone getting lodged in passing is smaller, but still there. I would say in a situation like yours the best course of action depends on you. If you just want it gone and you’re having frequent or highly painful attacks that are interfering with your quality of life then it’s entirely possible that the surgery is a good route for you – when it’s been going on for 20 years, sometimes it really is the best way. Outside of the surgery the apple cider vinegar treatment can help to slowly dissolve stones over time – but the key there is time. It really is something you’d probably have to do long-term and really watch your diet and stick to gallbladder friendly foods. Another option is the Standard Process protocol, which slowly dissolves gallstones while also increasing bile production and liquifying bile. They use phophoric acid to dissolve the stones, which seems to work a little bit more quickly than the apple cider vinegar, but it’s still a long process. If you can find a practitioner in your area to help guide you or if you wanted to set up a remote consult with me it may be a good idea to really sit down with someone and go over your entire history and other risk factors before trying something.

      Reply
  94. Buli

    Hi,
    Four months ago, my gastroenterologist diagnosed me with Gilbert Syndrome based on the blood results and sonogram of the abdomen. I have sludge in my gallbladder and enlarged liver & spleen. I changed my diet imemdiately and lost 15 pounds. Now I feel better but still not 100% the way I used to be. I would like to know, how can I save my liver and remove the sludge from my gallbladder? In addiiton, I would like to know more about home made foods as to what I should be using only and what I should abandon besides the fried food whcih I already did? I am only 36 years old and would like to live longer.
    Thank you,

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Buli,
      Yes – Gilbert syndrome is a very special case indeed. Diet is as far as we know the biggest and best factor to determining how you feel on a day to day basis and how your liver keeps up with everything. Eliminating fried foods is a good step, and depending on how sensitive your body is either eliminating alcohol or drinking in extreme moderation (1/2 serving at a time). Moderating fatty and rich foods like cream sauces, fatty meats, nuts and cheeses and adding in more fruits and veggies, more fiber and lean proteins can really help. Moderate exercise on a regular basis and generally modulating your stress levels. As long as you’re taking care of your diet and overall health it shouldn’t affect your lifespan. In terms of liver and gallbladder support – start really slowly. Extreme diets or cleanses are never going to be a great idea for you so start with foods. Change to the basic Gilbert diet, then slowly add in liver supportive foods. No sudden moves and you should do well.

      Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Meliody,
      If you need help you haven’t been getting probably the best idea is to schedule an appointment – sometimes your particular case doesn’t fit the “general” picture. You can check this link to learn more about scheduling a visit.

      Reply
  95. John

    Hi,
    I was wondering if you have witnessed skin rashes in addition to the other symptoms mentioned. I have most of the symptoms of gallbladder issues plus recently started getting hives and random rashes. I recently started taking milk thistle, but the rahses started before that. They seem to come and go and nothing else in my diet or household has changed, so it doesn’t seem to be an allergen.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi John,
      I have seen rashes with gallbladder issues. Usually this means that the liver and gallbladder are a little overloaded so your body is looking for something else to do with toxins and skin is the next best route of elimination we’ve got. At this point I would take your diet down to mostly fruit and veggies and lean meats with not a lot of processed foods or grains. Keep doing the milk thistle and maybe add some bitters or other liver and gallbladder support. It will take some time to get those toxins out even with a really clean diet, but anything you can do to support detox will help too – castor oil packs or infrared sauna or epsom salts baths. Just keep working at it!

      Reply
  96. Ralston Pereira

    Dear Sir/Madem

    My daughter of age two years and two months complained of sever stomach pain and when the doctors did an ultrasound on 20dec 2014 found sludge in her bile duct. And we we did a follow up ultrasound after a couple of days a repeat ultrasound was done there was no blockage. She has been complaining of stomach pain on and off. She just did a HIDA scan and we are waiting for the results. We did another ultrasound today 31jan 2015, and radiologist said she can see sludge in her gallbladder. What do we do toto dissolve and flush the sludge out of her system with out she getting a gallbladder attack. Thank you

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Ralston,
      Wow – she is young to be having so many troubles with gallbladder. There are some very gentle products that might help – I like the combination of “livaplex” and “A-F betafood” from Standard Process, and in someone as young as her I’d start really slowly with just one capsule of each per day. I’m guessing she is too little to swallow pills but these can be crushed into apple sauce or peanut butter. Also see if there are toxins in her environment that might be contributing to her liver and gallbladder issues. Often farm chemicals like pesticides and herbicides or other common household chemicals can make a difference. Also try boosting the fiber in her diet to help flush out some of that bile sludge – just make sure she is getting lots of water with the fiber. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  97. Helena Latham

    Hi, I have suffered with awful migraines for 45 years & they are becoming more frequent (weekly). I always vomit greenish/yellow bile that looks just like bile sludge. My head pain will not ease until I have vomited most of the bile & which can take anything from 12-16 hours to clear from my digestive tract. Scans show no signs of gallstones. I get pain in my middle back after eating & gets worse as the bile sludge builds back up. I have had different type of scans as well as a endoscopy but all results comes back as normal. Do you know weather migraine attacks are connected to gall bladder problems with most sufferers?
    Kind regards
    Helena

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Helena,
      Migraines can be connected to a variety of different problems, but liver and gallbladder trouble is certainly one of them. If your gallbladder always tests clear then maybe simple steps to help it out (like the bitters before meals) and then a little bit more active liver support like some of the ideas here to see if the problem is actually that bile isn’t being produced correctly by the liver. Given that vomiting makes the migraine better, I think there must be a liver link. Thanks for the question and let me know how the liver support goes!

      Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      If you happen to be in Austin, TX you can find them at Peoples Rx or the Herb Bar. Otherwise you might want to try ordering from mountain rose herbs online (mountainroseherbs.com)

      Reply
  98. Nita

    I have sludge in my gallbladder. My gallbladder is contracting at 58% so that’s normal. I have a lot of pain in my right side, then if I eat certain foods or to much it extends to my left side, around my diaphram area. Also, to the right side of my back . I doctor did so much test everything including labs came back normal… Besides the sludge. They aren’t doing anything about it. What can I do to feel less pain. Is there a cleanse I can do? I have changed my diet until the holiday and I feel terrible now. I will go back to eatting healthy.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Nita,
      Yes – sludge hurts! It’s not pleasant at all. Eating a low fat diet (especially no fried foods) can really help and adding in foods that support liver and gallbladder function like beets, dark green leafy veggies, artichokes and lots of water with a little bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar mixed in. Also adding a digestive enzyme with ox bile in it with every meal can really help to clear out the sludge and reduce the amount of pain. My favorite of the digestive enzymes is from Integrative Therapeutics Inc. and it’s called Panplex 2-Phase. It has stomach acid, ox bile and pancreatic enzymes so it supports digestion all the way through. 1 with each meal and 2 if it’s a heavier meal can really help.

      Reply
  99. hien

    i have 1 single stone about 2.3 cm, my question is would ursodiol help dissoving it ? i dont mind taking that medicine for years. thanks

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Ursodiol can help dissolve stones that size – although it can take up to two years. Talk with your doctor about it, ursodiol is a prescription medication. There is some basic information about the drug here. It certainly beats surgery!

      Reply
  100. hildamarie trott

    I just had a stone block. recovering. still have my gallbladder. have sludge and stones -3 in gb I am fearful that they will get caught on exit from gb– I am on med urisodol to shrink them–bile salts. I read your above article -have a traumatic Brain Injury and cant put the steps together to help myself. could you suggest how i go about this. thanks I am increasing water . thanks

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Wow – it really sounds like you’ve got a lot going on. I’m impressed that you kept your gallbladder – the first steps are exactly what you’re doing. Lots of water, ursodiol, and a low fat diet. I would continue with those basic steps for at least three months, which should be well beyond the time when you are fully recovered. After that it isn’t a bad idea to start some gentle products to encourage bile production and liquification – I really love the Standard Process products AF Betafood and Livaplex. They should be gentle enough to encourage your body to pass sludge without pushing it into passing stones. Also the ursodiol should have shrunk any current stones significantly. Always though talk with your doctors about any step you’re planning to take – they know far more about your personal history than I could. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  101. Brenda Portier

    Is there any chance I could speak to you? I have an incredibly complicated and debilitating issue I have been dealing with for over 2 years now – relating to this article on gall bladder sludge – I have spent thousands of dollars and traveled out of state seeking help – maybe I could just email you but my single most important question – and mind you NO doctor has officially diognosed me other than now fibromyalgia and other things that have happened since this has all started – I am in and out of the ER in constant pain – I am MUCH MUCH MUCH worse in the morning – I feel like I am dying – anyway the doctors can’t figure out why the morning issue and other stuff too – anyway thank you and I would love to have a phone appointment perhaps?

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Brenda,
      I’d love to talk with you! Making a phone appointment is easy – just call 512.219.8600 to schedule or request an appointment on the online schedule here. I look forward to meeting with you!

      Reply
  102. Naveen

    Thanks! That’s really helpful. Just want to understand if increased bile production will help wash away the sludge in the bile ducts. Thanks again for your advice.

    Reply
  103. Naveen

    Hi, my mom’s gall bladder has been removed 15 days back, but she has had 2 attacks since then. As per the Mrcp report, there is also sludge in the Cbd and is taking Udiliv 300. Just wondering if sludge will be cleared with Udiliv or is there anything else that is causing the pain.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi there! I am so sorry to hear about your mom’s troubles. It’s true that often gallbladder troubles will continue even after the removal because there is still sludge around the remaining ducts and bile production isn’t as good as it should be. The Udiliv is a bile acid and it will help a great deal, but especially in these initial phases it is really important to eat simple foods that are easily digested and drink LOTS of water to help her body flush all the toxins and sludge out of the system. Also gentle liver support – especially the liver supportive foods like beets or artichoke can be extremely helpful. In this situation I would also use the bitters to help encourage bile production. It’s a good idea to look for trigger foods as well because often the gallbladder attacks are more frequent with a particular food, and if that’s the case then avoiding that food can be really helpful. The food isn’t necessarily something that would normally trigger a gallbladder attack (like fried food or something fatty), it could just be something that her body responds badly to. I hope this helps!

      Reply
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