Every now and then I realize that for all my talk about gallbladder sludge, I haven’t emphasized the MOST IMPORTANT THING, which is water. In terms of getting rid of sludge of any kind in life, water is the key. Can I say this again? If you want to get rid of gallbladder sludge, water is absolutely vital. Let’s review.
Your gallbladder is a small little sac-shaped organ that is connected to both your liver and your intestines by thin tubes. Your liver makes bile, which helps your body to emulsify the fats from your diet in order to absorb them, and also helps you eliminate fat-soluble toxins including excess hormones. Bile is usually very fluid, but once it gets to the gallbladder your body starts to pull out the water and concentrate it, helping it to become more effective. By pulling out this water you make the bile thicker and more goopy. If you pull out too much water or there isn’t enough in there to begin with, then goopy turns into sludgy. This one simple factor can lead to sludge pretty quickly.
Get Rid of Gallbladder Sludge Long-Term:
If you have gallbladder sludge, and the pain that goes with it, you know how important it becomes to eliminate it quickly. Here are some of the quick things you can do to get rid of gallbladder sludge for good:
- Boost your water intake quickly and make it a life-habit. The more fluid your bile is, and the more well-hydrated you are, the faster you will flush out that sludge and the less likely your bile will get too thick in the future. Did you know that according to a New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center Survey, 75% of American Adults are chronically dehydrated? Wha????? If you have gallbladder sludge my guess would be that you’re one of the 75%.
- Boost Your Fiber, Just Like Your Grandmother Told You. Fiber helps to bind to the fat soluble toxins and bile salts that are eliminated and pull them out of your system so that your thrifty body doesn’t recycle them.
- Eat Sensibly For Your Gallbladder. This means ix-nay the fried foods, trans-fats and excess animal fats and add more fruits, veggies and lean proteins.
- Boost the Power of your Water With a Little Lemon. Lemon and other acids, like apple cider vinegar, help with both detox and hydration, both of which help with gallbladder sludge. Super!
- Consider a Gallbladder Cleanse: BUT the gallbladder cleanse has it’s own risks so it’s only safe if you know, because a doctor did the appropriate testing, that you don’t have stones. If you only have sludge and you’re not pregnant, then this could be helpful.
Get Rid of Gallbladder Pain Short-Term:
So, if you’re having a gallbladder attack you’re probably not sitting down at the computer to read about it, but hopefully, you’ll google it later and remember it for next time. As soon as you start to feel an attack coming on:
- Guzzle The Water: Again, the quickest way to clean out goop is to dilute it and thin it out. Your body will thank me for it. This is especially important if you get nausea or vomiting with your attacks because the vomiting makes dehydration worse quickly, which just makes the sludge worse. Even if you have stones that are causing the pain water will help them to pass if they’re going to.
- Add Lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar: Taking a shot of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice at the start of an attack (followed by a BUNCH of water) will help head the attack off before it gets into full swing. Also adding a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the vast quantities of water you’re drinking (ahem) will help it to be more effective.
- Slather on the Castor Oil: Castor oil is anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving in it’s own right, but it is also especially “lubricating” to the lymphatic flow around the liver and gallbladder, which comes in handy when that whole area is jammed up with pain, inflammation, and sludge.
- Consider some Supplements: There are a few things that help in the short term. Water and the acidic juices are the biggest things, but some others include digestive bitters and lecithin.
So – will water and proper hydration fix the problem permanently? It could, but not if you’re still eating fast food or if you have a major hormone shift contributing (like pregnancy ladies, sorry.) But if your diet is reasonably good and your hormones close to normal, then yup. The water is the key. Simple, right?
DMSO on the liver area will also thin bile…
Good to know! Thanks, Dawn.
Is the apple juice & apple cider vinegar mix safe to use, I haven’t been to a doctor yet but all the things I read about gallbladder pain and where the pain is, I’m sure it’s my gallbladder, I’m 78 year old male and have never had this before, so far what I have read water is the best, I had 2 times that I had pain it started the first time after eating a bunch of fried food, that night the pain was bad, but finally went to sleep. The next day felt good all day, drinking a lot of water that evening for supper I had kind of a heavy meal and about 15 to 20 minutes later the pain started again, and the my wife called the doctor at home and gave advice to help stop the pain with warm heat and it worked, also said to take Tylenol 500 mig , Spence thin I haven’t had anymore pain and eating the right food’s, I saw where apple juice & apple cider vinegar helps , is just regular apple cider vinegar ok ? Still pain free now for 3 days after the attack, on vacation in Florida and going home to Tennessee Friday and will call the doctor to get appointment.
Sounds like that first attack was a shocker! It does sound like gallbladder. Just plain old apple juice and just plain apple cider vinegar (although I prefer the organic, raw, unfiltered) is great! I hope all is well now and thanks for reading.
Hi Dr Amy,
How do you know if you have stones? I have burning in the lower stomach which started Monday morning, followed by a lot of bathroom runs! I stopped Coffee and Wine…… Its better but still have yellow stool not runs! Sorry for the detail. I had an ultrasound in Feb where the western med doc said you have sludge in the gallbladder and enlarged liver and said we will recheck in 6 months! That didn’t happen. Failed by western med! I went to Sprouts and bought much more greens and fruit to get the fiber. I haven’t eaten much in a few days, some brown org rice, watermelon and a lot of water. I just got a supp called NutriCology Ox Bile — 125 mg and
Celebration Herbals Organic Marshmallow Root Bulk Tea Caffeine Free. Haven’t tried them yet. I have Thyroid nodules, untreated and MTHFR and a Blood disorder called MGUS. I got pain in my back 2 weeks before this happened. The back and side pain comes and goes. Can you help? Thanks so much! Robyn
So – if you’re dumping a lot of bile or gallbladder sludge then it can feel like burning and also change the color of your stool, but I think you should probably check with your doc and get that follow up ultrasound. Just in case there is a stone in there complicating matters. With the back pain coming and going, it could be sludge or small stones and really the ultrasound is the only way to know. My gut feeling is that you’re on the right track, but better safe than sorry. Keep me posted!
I’ve struggled with gallbladder sludge for most of my adult life, and I’m 64. I never show any stones, but have frequent pain. What works for me is the amino acid taurine. It thins bile, and if I take it every day, I don’t have the pain. I started with 500 mg per day (1 pill) and over the years have gradually increased. It is healthy to take as much as 3000 mg per day. Taurine also protects the heart and it has been found to have some neuro-protective effects on the brain too, so it’s a super healthy way to also help with the gallbladder problem. I don’t know if it will work for others, but I thought I would share!
This is great Cindy,
Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll add it to the list of things to write about because it really does help a lot of folks. Thanks again!
Thoughts on something a friend gave me a recipe she said helped her, but I am wondering:
3 pm. start do not eat or drink after 3 prepare epsom salts–4 tblsp in 3 cups water-drink 3/4 cup at 7
drink 3/4 cup at 9 10;45 pour 1/2 cup olive oil into a jar squeeze grapefruit remove pulp add 1/2 to 3/4 cup grapefruit to olive oil add 10 drops black walnut hull tincture close and shake do all before bed, make a bathroom break and at 11 pm drink solution you have mixed get it down with in 5 min. Lie down immediately
Try not to get up before 7 a.m. upon awakening take your third dose of 3/4 cup epsom salts 9 a.m. last dose 11 a.m. you may eat start with fruit juice a half hour later eat fruit By supper you should be recovered. Is this safe?
It’s only safe if you know, 100%, that you don’t have any gallstones. If you have stones then this flush can actually force them to pass, which sounds like a good thing except when they get stuck in ducts and require emergency surgery. I wrote a whole post about it here – please make sure you don’t have stones first if you’re going to try it! Thanks for the question and keep me posted if you do try it.
Does my cocktail work as well as bitters?
Hard to say – the bitters work because the bitter flavor actually encourages bile flow. The lemon and ACV will help to do the same, although I’ve never really seen a comparison so I can’t say whether it works as well. I’d say try your cocktail for a while and if you’re still having discomfort from the sludge then add in the bitters and see if that moves things along any faster. Does that make sense?
Your articles have been soooo helpful! Thank you!
How much water is best?
I want to get rid of my sludge which has been causing moderate discomfort before it gets worse. I really like a water, lemon juice, and Apple cider vinegar cocktail before meals.
Great! In general, more water is better. Aim for ten 8 oz glasses per day to really flush things out. So glad the cocktail is working for you!