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.

373 thoughts on “Natural Remedy for Gallbladder Sludge and Stones

  1. Angela

    Hi Amy I am doing so much better! As long as I remember to take some bitters each time I eat I do just fine. It’s been quite a while since I had any issues & in fact I feel the IBS has gotten a lot better too. My doctor wanted me to try a bile salt binder (I think that’s what it’s called?) 3 times a day but even 1 tablet was making me super constipated so I don’t think that was for me. I was & still do make sure to drink lots of water too….seems to keep everything flowing.

  2. Shelley Szajner

    Hi, Dr. Neuzil,
    I love this article! I’ve been doing lots of research on doing cleanses and getting rid of sludge and stones etc. and came upon the herb Chanca Piedra. It’s called the ‘stone breaker’ and used for kidney stones and gall stones. Is this something you would recommend? There are a lot of positive reviews on Amazon for this product.
    Thank you,

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Shelley,
      Absolutely! I actually really love Chanca Piedra and it does seem to work to shrink stones (or at least it has for my clients, verified by ultrasound) but it takes time – just like everything else. Let me know if you try it and how it works for you!

  3. Angela

    I am SO GLAD that this information is out there for those of us trying to heal our gallbladders. NO DOCTOR has ever given me any of this information.
    I was diagnosed with gallbladder sludge after 1 attack in 2018 of pain and yellow stools. Have been fine until recently when the pains started back up. I started taking taurine and choline last week, and stools have returned to the normal brown color. I also take beet capsules at each meal, and started taking Urban Moonshine’s cider bitters and liver bitters at each meal. Also including a nice salad each day with fresh beets, beet greens, dandelion greens, shredded carrots, radishes, with a bit of lemon and olive oil. I still have a bit of achy pain on the right side but it is not severe. Went to dr. and have to wait to get in to see a gastro doc.

    They NEVER TELL YOU the things you could be doing to heal. 🙁 I was only ever told in 2018 to get the gallbladder out. I would like to keep mine and am doing what I can! My mom had hers out some years ago, and has had nothing but diarrhea and trouble digesting ever since. 🙁

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Angela,
      I’m so glad you’re here and that you’re doing such an amazing job making dietary changes – that’s fantastic! I’d love to hear how you’re doing and how it’s been going since you started everything! Thanks for reading.

  4. Walia Ali

    Dear Dr Amy, first of all thank you for your knowledge and for helping so many with their issues. May God bless you for the work you do.

    Ever since March I’ve been having gallbladder issues. I’ve had mild mild pain in the region, which sometimes goes to my back and I also get right shoulder blade pain. I can also hear it gurgling like its draining? Due to the covid I haven’t yet been diagnosed as haven’t been able to go to the doctors, but I feel like it is my gallbladder. I have also had loose stools most mornings for almost 7 years and for the past 5.5 years have also had memory issues, brain fog and fatigue! Last year I had a stool profile done which showed I do not absorb my fats or protein well, and my enzymes production is also slightly low. I had a NP last year who indicated I have low stomach acid which I have tried to correct with ACV but this is not doing too well with my teeth enamel. Lastly, I’m also having problems with my periods which have become very light and I also feel like I’m experiencing hot flashes even though I’m 22!

    Anyways, do you think that my loose stools and my very light periods are due to gall bladder problems and due to not absorbing fats? And have you seen this in people before? I have Nature’s Answer Bitters & Ginger but haven’t yet used it as I am scared what effect it will have. Would you suggest trying this digestive bitter even though I do not know what is wrong with my gall bladder or do you have any other suggestions for me?

    Sorry for so many questions Dr Amy but I hope you can provide me with advice, if any, and I would be grateful if you would. And many thanks in advance! x

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Walia,
      Thanks so much for being here and for reading! I think since your gallbladder is acting up so early in life, there could be a larger nutrient absorption issue that does affect your periods, etc… Certainly you need good fats to make your estrogens and it sounds like you’re not absorbing those very well. Hormones can have an effect on your gallbladder as well, so it could be a bit of a vicious cycle where your gallbladder is affecting your hormones and your hormones are part of the problem with gallbladder sludge as well. Is your body weight within a normal range for your height? Have you had your hormone levels measured? I’d love to hear more about what is going on!


    Hi DR Neuzil, I have done flushes successfully for the last 14 years. I have lwys had a single dormant 2.3mm gallstone , which is still there. The flush has made a huge reduction to my inflammation levels, food intolerances, cured bursitis and given me more energy.

    Then last year I was poisoned by Cipro antibiotics and have fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome. This made cleansing the liver even more critical. However, on the two occasions I have done the flush since being poisoned , I have subsequently developed bile reflux about 7-10 days after the flush. (The bile reflux went away after a couple of weeks, but was extremely painful – far worse than acid reflux).

    I really need to do a flush right now as my inflammation levels feel way up and digestion is poor. However, I am pretty scared about the possibility of bile reflux. Do you think I should do the flush?

    Thank you,

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Tim,
      Oh goodness – sorry I’ve taken so long to reply to this – it was hidden in the junk comments. I think that with the recent antibiotic issues you are likely to have the bile reflux again because there are just so many toxins for your body to process. I can’t tell you what to do, or even really make suggestions, but if it was me I’d stick to gentler detox activities like castor oil packs or epsom salts baths. Good luck!

  6. Sandra

    I have a situation that has been intractable. Autoimmunity has been impairing detox, which needs to occur from Lyme, mold and metal poisoning, I know how to detox- saunas, juicing, colon, the whole 9 yards, but mainly nothing will come out, I just get really sick and the toxins get redistributed. It turns out that my liver has been frozen up and I am struggling now to detox it and unfreeze it. I haven’t been able to eat saturated fat for 30 years, so the liver has been having trouble for a good long time.
    I need to trigger the release of highly toxic stuck bile from my (apparently highly inflamed but not dx’ed) liver and I am not sure how to accomplish this. I have been using liposomal bitters with some success recently. I have been using small doses of a chanca piedra formula, 1 lemon daily, milk thistle, raw foods, wheatgrass etc. I did some liver cleanses decades ago (the kind which drink olive oil), and for that I took acids which sound like the Phosfood. I remember I smelled the grossness of whatever it was melting out of my liver. That makes me wonder if you could elaborate on your recommendation for the Phosfood (or vinegar- which I can’t use) before meals.
    Can it be used to help release a locked bile system? I don’t – quite- have cholestasis but it is extremely slow, and I am on full digestive enzymes and bile. I have no stones that I know of. My liver loves castor oil packs but I am so debilitated it is difficult to do them consistently. I would be open to taking castor oil internally if that would help.
    My kidneys are very shot (nothing dx’d) so would the PhosFood cause a big strain on them due to the phosphorous? I guess I could use more lemon juice. I am concerned about the expense and trouble of that. It seems to me I need to address the liver first, but it would help a lot if the kidneys worked. I can’t work on the kidneys, as they are too weak to handle cleansing, at least what I’ve tried (corn silk tea, etc). Also wouldn’t Phosfood make the body a lot more acidic? I have trouble with acidity, probably due to my liver, but I take baking soda to counteract that.
    What can I do to open up that locked bile system?
    As an aside, is there a way to work on my kidneys that is gentle enough for me to tolerate?

  7. Amber

    Hi Dr. Neuzil!
    After researching and reading your entries and several weeks of changing my diet and supplements I feel I’m in the right track to dealing with a couple small gallstones. But I’m confused about when to use certain items. I have the Urban moonshine bitters, fos, and apple cider vinegar. Is it overkill to use them all? I thought the digestive bitters should be taken before eating and the apple cider vinegar. But I’m unsure about the fos? Any thoughts?

    Thank you so much for your work!!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Amber,
      Yes – it can get a little overwhelming, can’t it? Bitters before eating is totally correct. ACV, also before eating, is great. I think FOS is best when taken with food, which is how we would normally get it (from dietary sources) and just be careful about too high a dose because it can cause gas, bloating, and loose stools. All three of these are doing different things, so they can work well together, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or like it’s too much to manage then maybe pick your one or two favorites and start there. I hope this helps!

  8. Pingback: Vielen Dank für Dr. Amy Neuzil für diesen tollen Artikel und für das Rufen von Urban Moon ... - Krebs Uberleben

  9. Elizabeth Lee

    Hi! I just had my gallbladder removed 2 weeks ago after a terrible attack came out of nowhere. My gallbladder was very inflammed and stones were infected. Unfortunately there was a left over stone that came along and blocked my duct, so I returned to the hospital a week later. They did ERCP and fished out the stone. I never had gallbladder issues, but have lost 50 pounds in the past 7 months. I’m rather afraid of more problems and wondering what you’d suggest as prevention at this point. I eat a whole foods plant based diet with no sugar oil salt flour or alcohol. Thank you so much!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Wow – sorry to hear about the attacks, but WELL DONE with losing 50 pounds!! That’s awesome and amazing. It’s also, unfortunately, probably the source of those stones. As you drop the weight your body has to process all of the extra fats that are coming out of your fat tissue and that puts a pretty heavy burden on the whole system. Rapid weight loss is one of the biggest risk factors for developing stones. If you feel like you’re going to carry on losing weight at this speed, then make sure you’re drinking a ton of water, taking quite a high dose of fiber (aim for 35-50g daily) and generally supporting your liver function and detoxification. Your diet sounds amazing, and honestly, if the weight loss has tapered down to a slower rate, or if you’re keeping your weight steady at this point then I would say just keep doing what you’re doing. I’m so impressed by your progress, though. I love it when people change their health in such a vivid way. Well done!

      1. Elizabeth Lee

        Thank you so much! The weight loss is slower now and almost complete. I will up my water intake and make sure I’m getting that amount of fiber. I never want to go through that again! I had absolutely no idea when I changed my diet that I could upset my gallbladder, which I’d never thought twice about. I’m going to share this with everyone I know. It’s a terrible thing to go through! Thanks so much for your response and all you share!

  10. Jay

    Hi Amy,

    I believe you mentioned in a response to a comment below, fasting is often attempted by some who have gallstones/gallbladder issues with a lot of supplementation. I do not know if taking Artichoke extract, Apple Cider Vinegar and/or Milk Thistle capsules/supplements would constitute ‘breaking’ a fasted/fasting state, but are these the supplements you are referring too?

    Have there been any clinical data/studies on the effectiveness of these or any other non-prescription supplements to promote the emptying of the gallbladder (in particular during fasting) as much as possible to minimize sludge, maximize bile secretions and reduce the risk of gallstone formation for those who fast? I have searched everywhere and have not come across anything.

    Thanks so much for all the information you provide!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jay,
      There is actually lots of research out there, but it can be hard to get to. The best reference is something called Pub Med, which is a compendium of all of the peer-reviewed published medical research in US and select international journals. Keywords to look for are “cholagogue” which is the medical term for an agent that promotes bile flow into the intestines and “cholaretic” which means a substance that increases bile production. Also, search for the herbs using their Latin names (pain in the butt, but this is how research is.) So, here’s a reference on artichoke and another on milk thistle. I haven’t seen a study for apple cider vinegar and bile specifically, but there are many on liver and also lipid profiles in the blood (which is related to how well your gallbladder processes those lipids). I linked to one, but there are many. Pub med will give you lots of articles on fasting as well, but to my knowledge, there aren’t any yet on the combination of fasting and these particular supplements. I hope this helps you in your quest for more knowledge!

  11. Malia

    Good morning from California. I am due to have my gallbladder removed THIS THURSDAY! I was diagnosed with gallbladder sludge though I have to mention that when the ER doctor was reading off the CAT scan results he said you MAY have gallbladder sludge The reason I went to the ER in the first place was because of intense pain on the right side and between the shoulder blades. I can go a month without any problems but then I’ll eat something and it’ll come back so I’m sure it’s from an unhealthy diet. my doctor referred me to see a surgeon who of course suggested removal of the gallbladder. I asked him to do a another ultrasound but he refused stating that I had already been diagnosed with a gallbladder sludge so it wasn’t necessary. My instincts told me to avoid the surgery at all cost and after stumbling upon your article I’m convinced that I need to change my diet and add supplements Instead of getting the surgery done. I have no stones and the word may have sludge is really starting to make me wonder if this is something that I can handle by changing my diet instead of having my gallbladder which I now know is needed removed. I have noticed that there are a lot of supplements that supposedly have everything needed in them for gallbladder and Liver Health would you suggest any in particular? I’ve seen a lot about the now brand enzymes but wonder there are others I should be looking into to take. I have a special needs four year old and just the idea of the recovery I will have to do after this surgery was enough for me to already want to cancel it now that I know that it may not even be needed I’m even more convinced. Why not one doctor gave me any other options is appalling to me.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Malia,
      Oh goodness. Yes – it seems like the only option doctors give is surgery (but then, that is the only AMA approved treatment, so it’s the only option they are legally allowed to give. Sigh. I feel really bad for medical doctors right now because there are so many bits of wisdom that they aren’t allowed to give.) If you know you don’t have stones then you can always talk with your doctor about waiting for 6-9 months to see if dietary change and supplements will help. For you the biggest risk is going through another attack, which is horribly painful, but if you know there aren’t stones then it shouldn’t be threatening to your health in any way. If there are stones then there is a possibility of one getting lodged in the ducts, which means emergency surgery. In terms of supplements – I do really like the standard Process ones I mentioned, but there are also great digestive enzymes with ox bile. Also the gentler things like apple cider vinegar, lecithin, fiber and water. I hope this is helpful and hopefully your doctor is willing to give you 6-9 months to try a more natural way.

  12. Roberto Gonzales

    Yesterday I found out that I have finally gotten rid of the sludge in my gallbladder and this blog post was a precursor to my recovery. In the process I also cleaned out my liver and there is no more fatty liver to worry about.

    Unfortunately this process, which lasted a few months, has ended up irritating my gut (I would say the past 6 weeks only) and even though I am super happy for what I could accomplish I also feel a bit frustrated because now I have to deal with IBS-like symptoms like gas and overall discomfort down there. I also had cramping but it went away after I began to make further dietary changes which seemed to have worked well.

    I wanted to know what you would suggest to bring that gut balance back (I had diarrhea here and there but nothing else in that area).

    Towards the end of my gallbladder cleaning journey, which was merely a few weeks ago, I was using taurine and beets, which are THE TOP two recommendations I have, but two I noticed where truly helping produce AND dump the bile. Urine and stools smelled like bile (yes, this is a thing!) so I knew I HAD to stop: my body was telling me we were good—and that’s why I ended up getting an ultrasound last week. 🙂

    I think all this process was making my bile production a lot higher and in return, I THINK, it irritated me down there. I say I think because the moment I notice the bile smell and I stopped taking taurine and eating beets it was the moment I began to feel a bit better overall.

    I feel better after the dietary changes too but I believe all the supplements I was taking and the constant push to get the bile out affected my gut—and a few months ago, my stomach too, but that has diminished almost completely by using, primarily, PepZin GI—.

    So, a post POST cleansing of the gallbladder for you. 🙂

    I am now on a low fat diet to stimulate the bile production the l.east I can as I think this will help my gut feel better

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Roberto,
      Congratulations on your sludge-free gallbladder! That is great news. But yes, the bile can be really irritating to your small intestines and can disrupt your bowel flora when it is being released in such high concentrations (and usually full of toxins to boot). The great news is, you’re over the worst part. Now it’s just a matter of soothing your system. I would start either a good probiotic (look for one that has to be refrigerated with a live count guaranteed ONE YEAR AFTER MANUFACTURE – that means they have a live and stable bacteria with a lot of extra in there to make sure that at least that number make it to the one year point). Also something soothing to your gut. L-Glutamine is very soothing for some people, Okra is really soothing (but you have to really like okra), or aloe juice. Soluble fiber can help too because it binds up some of those bile salts that are still being released. Thanks so much for writing and keep us all posted on this next phase of your journey!

      1. Roberto Gonzales

        Thanks Amy! I went ahead and bought everything you recommended and started the treatment already. I kinda felt a lot better last night after the 1st dose of l-glutamine even though I think it will probably take a little longer to recover as I went back to feeling about the same in the morning─but it has only been a day of taking too, so…

        I have also developed gas and a bit of pressure down there from time to time which I think is part of how I feel so now I think it twice before eating fibrous vegetables and others that cause that for now.

        Any recommendations on the amount of l-glutamine and probiotics and time to heal? 🙂

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Roberto,
          For most people the healing is pretty quick. I’d expect a month or 6 weeks and if it’s more than that maybe check with your doctor to make sure there isn’t something else going on. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble though. Keep us all posted!

          1. Sohi

            Taking ox bile supplements will help my gallbladder release it’s own bile?
            How does that work?

          2. amyneuzil Post author

            Hi Sohi,
            Indirectly, taking a bile supplement does help the gallbladder release its own bile over time. Often when bile production is low, the gallbladder builds up with sludge, which is mostly cholesterol bonded or partially bonded with bile salts in such a way that it is still fatty and not fully emulsified (picture using not enough soap when you’re trying to wash bacon grease – it’s pretty gummy). Using external bile salts can help the gallbladder to contract more strongly and also help to fully emulsify all of that gunk so that it gets cleared out. By doing that, you allow the bile salts that your body makes to be more effective at emulsifying the fats you’re eating and metabolizing today, rather than the fats that are gummed up in your gallbladder already. So – taking ox bile doesn’t *actually* help you to make more bile, but it does help the bile you make to be more effective. Over the long-term, it may actually increase bile production because as the backlog of toxins decreases, your liver function improves and anything that improves liver function has the potential to increase healthy bile formation. Does that make sense?

  13. Chelsea


    A few years ago I had an attack and went to the ER not knowing what it was at the time (holy pain!!). After some tests, it was determined I had gallbladder sludge. After this episode, I have had no others. I am overweight and I have about 50 pounds to lose. I started a Keto diet and in 3 days I could feel my gallbladder aching. I stopped Keto and the pain stopped. Is there a kind of diet for a lot of weight loss that is compatable with gallbladder issues?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi CHelsea,
      This is such a good question. The trouble with weight loss is that as you lose weight and break open your own fat cells it liberates fat-soluble toxins that must pass through your gallbladder to be processed. Keto is potentially the worst way to go for weight loss for people with gallbladder issues for two reasons. One is that the diet itself is higher in fat than other weight loss diets. Two is that it works quickly (a good thing, just not for your gallbladder). The faster you lose weight, the more stress it will put on that system. Keto is a great diet for weight loss, but it certainly can be uncomfortable for gallbladder folks. Some people do manage to get through it with a lot of supplementation for their gallbladders, but a lot of the time it’s better to do a bit more balanced diet. IF you’re looking for a system to follow, I think the weight watchers system is pretty good (the one where you have a certain number of points per day and can choose healthy foods). It emphasizes slow and steady weight loss rather than the rapid drop and you can keep a more balanced diet that is a little bit more tailored to your specific needs (in this case, low fat). Does that make sense? I hope this helps and great luck with your weight loss goals. 🙂

  14. Sandy

    Hi Amy, are any of the supplements you suggested safe while breastfeeding? Specifically Livaplex and Phosfood (10 drops 2x day)? Or drinking ACV before meals?

    I just had an attack a couple of weeks ago and ever since have felt a constant dull (sometimes sharp) pain under my right rib cage. I suspect issues stemmed/made worse from pregnancy.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Sandy,
      Ugh. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are SO hard on your gallbladder and it’s a hard time to do anything about it. The ACV before meals is safe with breastfeeding, but there is a small chance that having that much vinegar in your diet will change the flavor of your milk slightly, so if your baby isn’t as enthusiastic about nursing then it may not be a good option for you. The livaplex and phosfood liquid are not listed as safe for breastfeeding, and honestly, it’s not a great time to detoxify because any fat-soluble toxins that you flush from your body run the risk of being excreted in your breast milk rather than through other channels. Nobody wants your baby to have to deal with any of this. Unfortunately, the best things to do in breastfeeding are take your diet down to a very simple, clean foods diet, lots of fiber, and lecithin (which will help your milk ducts as much as it will help your bile ducts.) Also castor oil packs externally could be great. Here’s a whole post on gallbladder issues during pregnancy, which is pretty similar, health-wise, to breastfeeding. I hope this helps!

  15. Coralie

    Hi Amy,

    My husband was diagnosed with two large gallstones 9 years ago. Surgery was recommended, but he really wanted to avoid it. So for the most part he has remained pain free by watching what he eats until about 2 weeks ago when he had a very bad attack. The next day his Doctor rescanned his gallbladder which showed a 2.3cm gallstone impacted in the neck of the gallbladder with no acute cholecystitis, minimal gallbladder wall thickening, no obstruction, a 2nd gallstone 1.7cm, and a “echogenic non-shadowing non mobile focus at the midwall of the gallbladder measuring 1.8 x 2.4 x 2.3cm” and a CAT scan was unable to clarify what this was saying “suspected soft tissue lesion – biliary sludge ball, versus polypoid lesion, including more aggressive GB lesion”.

    If it is a large polyp or cancer there is no question about going ahead with the surgery but if it is a biliary sludge ball he prefers to keep his gallbladder and continue managing it as he has the last 9 years (albeit with a little more diligence).

    My thoughts were while waiting on the surgery list which could be up to a couple of months he could do something to try and shift it if it is just a sludge ball, which could then be identified as such by comparison scan.

    My questions are can you recommend a way of trying to ID what this lesion is prior to surgery? It seems that because the recommended treatment is surgery for the stones that they are not really trying to get to the bottom of what the lesion is – just take it out.

    My other question is, are the above recommendations for moving bile safe when he has a stone up in the neck of the gallbladder.

    Thank you for your thoughts,

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Coralie,
      Wow. This is a tough one. As far as I know, there is no actual way to figure out if it’s a sludge ball or a polyp or some other soft tissue mass outside of just seeing if we can clear the sludge. The trouble is, in your husband’s situation, there is a stone blocking our route to clear the sludge. When the stone is impacted in the neck of the gallbladder I feel like anything we do to move sludge runs the risk of causing an acute attack, because anything that increases bile production, will also require the gallbladder to contract around that stone, causing pain, or worse, causing an outright obstruction and emergency surgery. I think if your husband wants to try anything, it would be cholagogues. These are the bile stimulants that help to increase bile flow. My thought is that if the flow is increased maybe we can wash a bit out of the gallbladder (if it is sludge and not a polyp or other mass). This would include digestive bitters and raw beet juice. I think the biggest thing you must be careful of here is triggering an attack or causing the stone to lodge more deeply, so start supplements extremely slowly, and if your husband does have an attack related to taking a supplement then stop taking them. If he tolerates the supplements, then it would probably be safe to continue until he gets the repeat ultrasound. Be sure to check with his doctor though to make sure that the doctor is on board with this idea. I don’t want your husband to do anything that puts him at risk.
      Also, if the mass is still there on the repeat ultrasound, even if it is smaller, the surgery is a good idea. I know nobody likes to hear that, but the risk of having a small mass or tumor there is not worth it. Does that make sense? Good luck and let me know what happens.

      1. Coralie

        Hi Amy,

        The surgeon wanted an MRI of his gallbladder prior to surgery to try and eliminate the possibility of cancer, because if it is cancer standard procedure is that he would have to go to the city hospital for gallbladder removal. So while waiting for the MRI we found a recipe for a beet juice (including radish, celery, green apple and carrot) which he drank faithfully everyday. He also took a supplement that we could get locally containing Globe Artichoke, St Mary’s Thistle and Turmeric. (He also was taking some other supplements more to keep at bay winter colds – garlic, propolis, vitamin C etc.) Apart from this he also adopted a 100% plant based diet, and also very low processed sugar and low gluten diet. The good news is that the large mass was completely gone by the time of the MRI scan so we can only presume that it was in fact a gallbladder sludge ball, and that the cholagogues worked to thin down his bile and flush out the bile gently even with the impacted stone in the neck of the gallbladder. They are still recommending surgery, but since the original attack 3 months ago he has been pain free (except for a mild attack two weeks after the first and before we had implemented all of the above). He is feeling and looking better than he has in years and has lost 14kg (30lb). And it looks like he may get to keep his gallbladder after all!

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Coralie,
          I’m thrilled! That is great news. And really, all due to his efforts – losing 14 kg and entirely changing his diet is remarkable. Keep up the amazing work and again, congratulations!

  16. Christine

    First I want to thank you for having one of the most comprehensive articles on gallbladder sludge I’ve read. I’ve found bits and pieces of some of the advice you posted but never all in one place or spelled out so clearly. A few years ago after complaining to many doctors about how tired and horrible I felt all the time I was diagnosed cysts on my thyroid and of course they wanted to remove it. I fought against it but they scared my husband with the word “cancer”. Though my tests were inconclusive, due to his urging I had the left lobe of my thyroid removed. It turned out not to be cancer but that’s how it goes. I suffered with even worse hypothyroid symptoms after the surgery and when I went to see my endo. I mentioned them, had a blood test and was given the synthetic thyroid hormone. Which caused the worst headaches in my life along with nausea and dizziness that were so bad I couldn’t stand up without having vertigo. My sister started mailing me nature throid and though it wasn’t a high enough dose it was a miracle. I could make it through half the day at least and didn’t feel like I was just in a washing machine on spin cycle or just hit in the head with a shovel. I searched high and low to find a Dr. who would give me natural thyroid medicine. I finally had a prescription but it was not a high enough dose just a starting point and sadly this Dr. was retiring and did this for me as a favor. Not to mention he was not covered by my HMO. Armed with this prescription I went to an HMO Dr. who as you probably know did not like what I was taking one little bit. Since he couldn’t convince me to switch he obliged me, but refused to raise my medication dosage. It was like only being half healed. I who was always told I was underweight, gained steadily but slowly about 20 pounds or so. It didn’t really bother me as it was evenly distributed but the fatigue was making my life impossible. I went through this for about 2 years until I couldn’t take it any longer and started searching for another Dr. I found a n.p. at a new alternative medicine clinic that had recently opened but she wouldn’t raise my dosage either, even though I had reams of blood work showing how up and down my levels were. She was convinced I had adrenal fatigue and after some tests put me on hydrocortisone pills. I took them for several months, the first month I noticed I felt more energy but after that I felt the same fatigue and other symptoms as before. I found a new Dr. who was not happy with this diagnosis and helped wean me off of the pills. She upped my nature throid dose and I have never looked back. I finally wasn’t tired or constipated or cold all the time. However I find out I had gallbladder sludge in the middle of all this. They never gave me a full report just a phone call saying I have a sluggish gallbladder with no stones. I don’t want another surgery and did some research on the subject. I’ve been taking ox-bile, drinking ginger lemon and dandelion root teas, lots of water and I try not to eat fried foods as well as eating lots of veggies and fruits. I’ll admit when I do eat something fatty I take a higher dose of the bile. I found an article on the National Library of Medicine’s website stating there is a link or possible link of gallbladder dysfunction and untreated or under treated hypothyroidism. Which makes me wonder if this wasn’t what caused my problem. I haven’t had a full blown attack in years but after reading your post I realize I need to do more. My main issue is in the mornings, I wake up with this full bloated feeling right under my ribs even in the middle and left side. Once I get up and take my thyroid medicine and then later my ox-bile with yogurt and coffee I feel better. But there is always this slight pressure from underneath my ribs. I can only liken it to a couple of balloons pressing upward ever so slightly. If I add the bitters, and other things mentioned along with what I’m already doing would it be enough or should I try a cleanse? I’m basically healthy otherwise although, the hydrocortisone caused me to get a tiny pot belly so I’m probably 15 pounds overweight now. I’m 5’6 and before I got sick I weighed 111lbs even into my late 40’s and I’m 51 now. Once I became hypo. I went up to about 125 and now I’m at 140. I’m concerned that this extra weight will cause complications as you’ve mentioned to other people. Thank you for the information you’ve posted. I know it will help lots of suffering people.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Christine,
      Wow – it can be so hard to get doctors to do anything they aren’t familiar with, even if it’s just a natural version of the same thing (like the thyroid hormone). I’m glad you finally found someone to help! I think your intuition is right that for you the undertreated hypothyroid and the gallbladder sludge are linked. I think working to slowly lose the weight will help tremendously – it’s like the combo of low thyroid and cortisone pills just threw your body for a loop and you have to get back to normal. The balloon feeling sounds exactly like sludge, and for you I think liver support might be the most important piece. I think your liver probably got kicked by the hormone imbalance and so it’s potentially not keeping up very well with bile production. Here’s a post about liver support that I think might be helpful for you. Also one about lemon water (or apple cider vinegar water if you’re not a citrus fan) that is helpful for liver and gallbladder. For you I think those might be a good place to start. Keep me posted and let me know how it all goes for you!

  17. Jonni

    Hi! Very helpful article! I’ve had no gallbladder problems at all until I started intermittent fasting. I LOVE the fasting and hope I don’t have to quit. Do you think i can continue if I follow your protocols? Ultrasounds show no stones so far.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jonni,
      Yes – isn’t the fasting amazing? The first couple of times you try it it’s a bit hard, but after that, it’s like your body looks forward to it. So glad you’re seeing some benefit! I think it’s safe to do long-term as long as you aren’t in danger of becoming underweight and keep your eye on your body. Make sure you do a follow-up ultrasound every 6 months to a year if stones are a concern and outside of that, just listen to your body. As long as you’re feeling well, go for it!

  18. Mikmik

    Good day, can you interpret the result of my ultrasound please?

    The gallbladder is normal in size measuring 6.5 x 3.7cm.
    A 1.1 x 0.7cm intrluminal echogenic focus is noted. No demonstrable intralesional vascularity seen on Doppler image. A 0.3cm nonshadowing echogenic focus is also seen.
    No evidence of wall thickening or pericholecystic fluid seen.

    *Normal distended gallbladder with the following:
    ** consider sludge ball vs polyp. Follow up study is suggested.
    ** small polyp
    *No sonogram evidence of cholecystitis

    As long as possible I don’t want to undergo a surgery.

    1. I refused to undergo a surgery since I don’t feel any symptoms and I see myself perfectly healthy. There is no pain or anything in my abdomen area. In fact, i am a cyclist and there is no pain everytime I ride my bicycle in riding position wherein my stomach area is squeezed.
    2. I ask the doctors if there is/are ways to get rid of my condition without undergoing surgery and ask for medication to take but they did not give any. I met someone with gallbladder troubles too, and showed me the medication given by his attending doctor and it is UDCACID. Is it OK if I also take this medicine?
    3. Upon reading my message, and having known the result of my ultrasound, can you instruct me what to do? I am avoiding a surgery.

    Thank you very much and hoping a reply from you..

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Mikmik,
      I’m not your doctor so it’s not really appropriate for me to make suggestions, but my concern here would be that it is unknown whether the findings on the ultrasound were sludge or a polyp. If you take some steps to eliminate sludge and have a follow-up ultrasound in 3 months that could give you a better idea of what is going on. If it is sludge, then there will be changes on the follow-up ultrasound. If it’s a polyp then there won’t be. If you do discover that it is a polyp then please talk seriously with your doctor about the risks because polyps can pose a more serious health risk. First of all, they can obstruct gallbladder function badly and the more pressing concern is that they can become precancerous. Does that make sense? I hope this helps!

      1. Mikmik

        Good day! Thank you for your time and highly appreciated.. I asked to know your impression because attending doctor did not recommend any remedy about the condition of my gallbladder. Instead, recommended me to consult a surgeon. The surgeon, ofcourse, ask me to undergo operation, but I refused. I am doing some research about gb polyp and sludge ball and luckily, was able to find your blog..

        Please see the result of my CT scan last march 2017 before my follow up ultrasound that was sent to you..

        Upper Abdomen with Contrast:
        *The gallbladder is is well distended and has unthickened walls. There is an intraluminal soft tissue hyperdense focus within the gallbladder measuring 1.2×0.4×0.5cm.

        *Soft tissue hyperdense focus within the gallbladder may represent thick sludge or polyp. Suggest follow up study.

        That was the result of my CT scan last year. Comparing the result, 1.2cm is the size last year, and the recent ultrasound result is 1.1cm.

        I would like to ask for your impressions. Those tests were self-request and not from a recommendation from a physicians because I want to monitor myself.

        I found some medications that I think may help due to my research, but no one is telling me if its OK..
        1. UDCACID
        2. ACTIGALL

        Can you recommend this?

        I want to ask for your impressions, since all the surgeons are always suggesting to just undergo the surgery and everything will be fine, as if the gallbladder is a piece of nothing that can be thrown away anytime.

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Mikmik,
          It sounds like the thing they saw on CT scan actually shrunk a bit, which is encouraging. It sounds like you could set a reasonable deadline for yourself (maybe 3-6 months) and really work on a gallbladder sludge protocol. Have a very clean low fat diet, eat lots of fiber, water, and take some gallbladder supplements and at the end of the time period do a repeat CT scan. If it shows improvement, then great! Carry on with the protocol until there is no evidence of sludge. If, during that time, symptoms get worse or the follow-up CT shows a larger mass then you know it’s a polyp and surgical removal is more relevant. Talk it over with your doctor first and see what he or she thinks. As far as the prescription medications – they would probably be helpful if it is sludge, but your doctor would have to be willing to prescribe them. Good luck and I hope you have great results!

  19. Robyn

    I am following your protocol for dissolving gall stones or sludge, but I’m curious about something. If a stone is dissolved, will it affect the way a bowel movement looks? Or will there be some kind of discharge? Kind of gross, but other than symptoms going away, I’m just trying to figure out if there are any outward signs that it has passed. Thanks!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Robyn,
      Good questions! Honestly, the stones dissolve so slowly that typically people don’t notice anything. Having said that, sometimes the stone will get small enough to go through a duct and out of the blue you’ll have an attack after a long period of not having any. This always seems like backtracking or like something is suddenly “wrong” but often it’s just that the stone finally got small enough to pass through the duct, but sometimes the passing is uncomfortable. Does that make sense? So no particular bowel changes, but sometimes an unexpected attack (usually after a long period with no attacks and no symptoms) when the stone does finally get small enough to pass.

  20. Sara

    I am curious on your opinion on Ursodiol for dissolving gallstones. I am trying to avoid surgery and have been taking Ursodiol twice a day for 12 months along with a product called Lipogen and another product called Bio x4 that helps with digestion. I am wondering where the Ursodiol would fall into the steps of dissolving small gallstones in people who want to avoid surgery.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Sara,
      I love Ursodiol – it helps in the same way that phosfood liquid or chanca piedra helps, which is to slowly dissolve stones from the outside. The only problem with it is that it is underprescribed (in my opinion) and many people are never given the option to take it. It seems to be very helpful. I’d love to hear what your experience has been with it so far!

  21. Elliot Gonzales

    Hello Dr. Amy. THANK YOU for this resource. STORY: A month ago I was diagnosed with pancreatitis and gallbladder sludge. I had felt zero pain but lots of discomfort on the right side which is what led me to get myself checked. I researched online and found two articles, one being this one, and I have stuck with the recommendations on both─the other article focusing on natural cure for pancreatitis. Moreover, I have also included fasting , acupuncture, and supplements from Standard Process I have religiously taken. I have progressively felt better on my discomfort ESPECIALLY after I included lecithin about a week ago: so thanks for that advice on your other article! QUESTIONS: 1. Is there a visual sign or particular smell pointing me that I am getting rid of the sludge? 2. Since I began using the lecithin about a week ago I have noticed QUICK recovery on the right hand side discomfort but I also began to feel a discomfort with a radius of about a dollar coin─NOT pain─right at the center of my epigastric area. To me it feels like it is my stomach and the only thing I can think of is of all the supplements I am taking on almost each meal which I also include the liver bitters I got from Urban Moonshine.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Elliot,
      I’m so glad you’re seeing such positive results – that is wonderful. Also, a testament to how much you have been willing to do for yourself. In terms of your questions – there isn’t so much a visual sign re. getting rid of sludge, but by watching your symptoms it sounds like things are beginning to move and flow and so there is less sludgy congestion (which causes the discomfort). I think your intuition about the discomfort at your epigastrium is correct. In that area is your stomach, especially the fundus of your stomach where the stomach and esophagus link up. It could be that all of the new supplements are causing a bit of reflux, which would irritate the area. It’s a bit cumbersome, but possibly you could try taking one supplement out for a week and seeing if that clears things up and if not, then taking another one out. The most likely culprits are supplements that are strongly acidic or basic (so if you’re taking phosfood liquid or apple cider vinegar, that might be a good one to experiment with). If the pain persists or gets worse it would be a good idea to talk with your doctor about it – we don’t want to miss something important because we’re assuming it’s something simple. 🙂 Keep us posted and all the best!

      1. Elliot Gonzales

        Hello there! THANK YOU for replying back: I appreciate you and your time! Since I posted the comment I continued to feel discomfort in that area and I experimented taking the lecithin off and doing a two day fast recently but nothing changed. It wasn’t until yesterday that I decided to start taking my enzyme supplement, Super Enzymes from “Now” brand—which I stopped taking right when I began taking the lecithin—that I noticed a change but not a complete recovery almost immediately so I realized that this discomfort I talk about might have to do with my pancreas and a lack of much needed enzymes. Moreover, I have also experienced a bit of anxiety and an increased heart rate in the past few days.

        I am going to a GI in less than two weeks but I am going to be contacting a N.D. in my area today. I am almost certain that the gallbladder is the one that caused the pancreatitis and I want to get cured but at the same time I want to save my organ if I can so an N.D. might help understanding my issue.

        Do you offer phone consultations? We are a few states apart.

  22. Channon

    Hi Dr. Amy,
    I started having gallbladder attacks after my first pregnancy in 2014(though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, thought it was intestinal or stomach related). I had 4 attacks in about 3 years. In 2017 I got pregnant again and things ramped up. I had several attacks, particularly after eating large meals or on days when I had a lot of carbs (pastas, bread, etc). I started to experience an annoying pain under my right rib, and that’s when I remembeed that my mother had her gallbladder removed after a pregnancy, and I had it checked out. I was six months pregnant, and an ultrasound showed 3 stones. The doctor said it wasn’t urgent, and to change my diet and check it out again after pregnancy. The diet change helped, and attacks stopped.
    About a month postpartum, I had a strong attack, and I was admittedly not watching what I was eating. ACV helped the attack subside. I started to have a chronic dull pain and after two weeks of it I went on a strict diet and went to the doctor. Still the same three stones, two 5 mm in size, and one 2 cm. They wanted to do surgery that week, but I would really like to try and keep my gallbladder.
    My baby is 12 weeks old now and is exclusively breastfed. I was on a strict diet for a week and a half (basically paleo), drinking warm water with either lemon or ACV before meals, using olive and coconut oils, and it stopped my chronic pain and I had more mental energy. But I was never feeling satiated, and my breastmilk supply was not as plentiful, and it made me constipated. Pastas and grains have crept back into my diet, and I’m having dull pains again, as well as abdominal pain that changes places throughout the day (I had trapped gas in my ultrasound). Could gluten related products be causing my gallbladder pain?
    It’s been a little over a month, I’ve read so much, and I’m feeling confused and don’t know where to start (or restart). I don’t know what kind of diet to follow where i can manage my gb issues while maintaining the integrity of my breast milk, especially since cutting out gluten seemed to help, but made me feel starved! I live in a country where gluten free products and quinoa are not generally available and it’s not easy to find alternatives. I rely on oatmeal And barley bread as a fiber source, but I’m not sure if that’s causing more problems.
    Is it possible for me to dissolve a 2 cm stone? I understand it will take time and I’m willing to work on it, but want to keep my bf baby healthy at the same time.
    I alternate between ACV and lemon juice in warm water, sometimes with ginger, none of which seems to bother my bf baby. I also take fish oil supplements, probiotics, magnesium, and 150 mg of milk thistle (which I was told by another naturopath is safe to take while bf and can increase milk supply, any insight?)
    Thanks for your time.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Channon,
      Wow – it is so difficult when you’re breastfeeding to really make all those changes. I’m impressed with how much you have done! I do think gluten might be a trigger for you, which is actually pretty common. Do you have access to rice? The oatmeal and barley bread are great and I think that’s a good idea, but obviously, there is only so much oatmeal you can eat. Have you tried beans? Lentils can be a great option because they’re really high in fiber and very filling and also gluten-free. So – I would say keep trying to be gluten-free and be creative finding alternative grains and beans. Chickpeas, lentils, barley, quinoa, rice, even potatoes or plantains can start to give you the full feeling without the gluten. In terms of dissolving the 2 cm stone – it will take a really long time. Once you have finished breastfeeding you can start to work on it more aggressively with something like chanca piedra or phos food liquid, but that’s a pretty big stone so it could even be a couple of years. Good luck and if you find something that really helps please let everyone know. Congratulations on your little one!

  23. Neha

    For the last two years I used to have stomach pain on the left upper side,,it used to occur at least once in a month well it stopped for a few months. By recently I started having pain which lasted for 3-4 days it used to be severe from the evening till night ,I couldn’t eat anything as I was vomiting it out. The ultrasound results showed minimul amount of sludge in gall bladder and some concretion in the kidneys..the medicine I took that time didn’t help..after two weeks the pain again started this I also experienced a constant pain in my back it also lasted for 4-5 days…
    Now I don’t feel any pain but I wanted to ask if this pain is caused due to gall bladder?
    I don’t feel any pain on the right side. Can it be due to some other reasons?
    As there is a minimul sludge in my gall bladder can I take some medication to remove it?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Neha,
      This pain could be caused by sludge or tiny stones in the gallbladder, or it could be tiny stones interfering with your pancreas. I think it’s reasonable to start some of the natural gallbladder remedies – reduce the fats in your diet, drink lots of water, increase your fiber intake and possibly start some digestive bitters or enzymes. Talk with your doctor as well – if it is trouble with your pancreas then it’s important to get proper testing. I hope this helps!

      1. SHEIKH

        Hi this is Sheikh Irfan here from India, recently my wife she facing problem with Gallbladder Sludge from last 3 months.She is taking medicine to dissolve the sludge. But still monthly once she will get sever pain.
        Any body having idea about the treatment for gallbladder sludge without surgery.
        After her pregnancy , sludge are appear in the gallbladder.
        Please let me nw , i am waiting for you replay

        Sheikh irfan Pasha
        +966-540210414 (Call/ whats app)

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Sheikh,
          If your wife is already taking a medication, then starting with simple dietary steps would be the next idea. See if she can reduce the amount of fat in her diet, increase fiber, increase water, and have her monitor the attacks. Many women experience the attacks at the same time of the month relative to their menstruation, and if that is the case then she could talk with her doctor about any hormone imbalance at that time of the month that may be leading to the attacks. Typically, they can be triggered by high estrogen, but every woman is different. Great luck to your wife and I hope she is able to find some relief.

  24. Emy

    I had my gallbladder removed a year ago. At the time, my doctor said he could prescribe a little pill to take daily for the rest of my life if I started having gut issues. I didnt even ask what it was, because I’m so tired of doctors trying to get people started on pills to fix the sitation but not CURE it.
    Going back, within a year of having my third child, I started having occasional pain, only once or twice a year. I had a test that showed no gallstones after 10 years of this and no suggestions from my doctor. Fast forward another 12 years with occasional pain, and I had another event that sent me to the ER this time around. Test showed a gallstone that was almost one inch around and had immediate surgery. I have taken Pure Encapsulation multi without iron, D3, B complex, fortify probiotics 30 bil., and 4000 mg of Vitamen C daily for about 3 months now. I still have indigestion, gas and bloating and very loose stools that starts in the afternoons usually. I’ve always maintained my weight and eat a very low fat healthy diet, no dairy, no red meat. Now I’m worried about being able to absorb the vitamens. If I do eat an unhealthy meal, it’ll go straight thru me immediately! Is there anything you could suggest taking, to help with the gut issues?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Emy,
      Yeah, I see this so frequently. Where the gallbladder is gone but the problem isn’t really fixed. Here’s a post about gallbladder pain and issues post-surgery, which might be helpful. I think for you a good digestive enzyme with ox bile in it could really help. Take it with heavy meals or with the meals that you take your fat-soluble vitamins and fish oils. In terms of finding a digestive enzyme – look for one with a broad spectrum of enzymes, ox bile and HCL. I think that would be the best place to start. I really like Panplex 2 phase, which you can get through fullscript if you like, but if you find one locally with a similar mix of enzymes, ox bile and HCL then that’s great too. I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

  25. Jyoti


    I am diagnosed with Gall bladder sludge 2 days back. I was having on & off pain in upper right abdomen and severe pain in back for last 10 days. I had C sec done in October 2017 and currently breastfeeding my 4 months old baby boy. Please help me with below queries.
    1. What are possible treatment options for gall bladder sludge? Surgery or By taking specific diet?
    2. What kind of Diet I should take in Gall Bladder sludge?
    3. Will the specific diet be safe for breastfeeding baby?
    4. Any precautions to take care off?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jyoti,
      Congratulations on your baby boy! So exciting to have a new little person. Unfortunately breast feeding is the hardest time to do any kind of natural things for your gallbladder because detoxifying sludge means that we risk passing some of those toxins on to your baby. The safest thing to do is go on a clean fat diet – make sure the fats you eat are very high quality and never rancid or fried. Try to moderate fat intake (when you’re breastfeeding it isn’t a good idea to go on a low fat diet because your baby needs those healthy fats). So stick to high-quality fats like ghee, coconut oil, olive oil and fish oil capsules if you supplement. Drink as much water as you can – your body needs extra to make breast milk and even more to help clear out your gallbladder. Also increase your fiber intake and try to get a good amount of fiber with every meal. This will help to bind to toxins and eliminate them safely. While you’re breastfeeding it isn’t safe to take any supplements for gallbladder, with the exception of lecithin, which is nutritious. I wrote a whole post about gallbladder sludge in pregnancy, so take a look at this and good luck!

  26. C

    I’ve been able to manage symptoms of my gallbladder with apple juice, malic acid, castor packs, and Betafood for 3 years now. I recently bought Sunflower Lecithin and added it to the mix as well. I don’t do these all at once but various ones at a time. Once I added the Lecithin things felt like they started moving. Lots of gurgling and rumbling. Now within the las week I’ve had pain after every time I eat. Not excruciating. I’ve had attacks that feel way worse,. However I now have pain in the gallbladder and pancreas area which is concerning me. It feels like a pinching in my pancreas area. Both feel inflamed and unhappy. I’m wondering if the lecithin worked so well things have started moving and becoming dislodged. I figured if I had a true blockage I would be in a lot more pain.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi C,
      I think you’re right that if it was a true blockage things would be a lot worse, but having said that – have you had your GB evaluated lately? When you’re managing it in a long-term way the way you are, it’s just good practice to have a doctor look at it once a year or so and at least get an ultrasound. My guess would be that the lecithin is moving things around more and so you’re having more discomfort (which would be ultimately positive, but feels bad right now). That’s just a guess though, and I don’t like your description of “inflamed and unhappy.” That doesn’t sound good. Make sure you’re keeping up with water intake and castor oil packs, which generally reduce inflammation and if the inflamed and unhappy feeling continues or gets worse then I think it’s a good time to check in with your doctor. Let me know how it goes!

      1. C

        I ended up in the ER Sunday morning, and the ultrasound showed the stones are impacted at the opening of the gallbladder. I’ve tried to save it the past three years, but at this point it’s gotta come out. I think the lecithin got things moving a little too well. I knew it was time to go when my usual remedies didn’t relieve the pain. I’m on a very limited diet until I can get it removed because I opted not to do it at the ER. I meet with the surgeon tomorrow. I gave it my best shot! Thanks so much for all this helpful information!

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Yes! Sounds like it’s time. Don’t worry – sometimes there really isn’t anything you can do and the right thing really is surgery. I hope you get feeling better quickly. 🙂

  27. Anna

    Hello Dr. Amy
    I started having gallbladder attacks one year ago. My ultrasound showed a packed gallbladder. Only stones. I started a natural treatment. I took a slow approach. No flushes, I knew I had a risk of an obstruction so I did it slowly. I’ve had great results; No more pain, I tried to kept a healthy diet (low fat, low sugar and rich in fibers). My constipation problems were all cured. I did take my supplements several times during the year. I took a few breaks. These past Christmas I ate badly some days so I knew I still had stones. I decided to start a new treatment and it worked fast. Two days ago I went to check things out. My ultrasound showed cero inflammation, my gallbladder measured less than half the size from my first scan. It also showed very tiny stones (1, 2 and 3 mm) and sludge! My question is, do the sludge can be due to the other stones dissolving? Or is it a new complication? Should I continue trying?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Anna,
      WOW!!! You have done amazing. Stones and sludge clear out slowly, so honestly I think your ultrasound mostly shows that you are a gallbladder rock star. I would guess that the sludge that is still there is in part due to other stones dissolving and probably a bit of fall out from Christmas. When there are some small stones in there it is a lot easier for sludge to form, so don’t worry. You are totally on the right track! Absolutely continue trying – you have come such a long way and I’m thrilled that you’ve made so much progress. You might always have to be a little more careful than average because your gallbladder has been to a very bad place, but you are doing amazing. Just keep it up! Thanks so much for posting.

  28. Melissa

    Hello Dr. Amy!

    I recently had my second trip to the urgent care center due to gallbladder attacks. They recommended a specialist, who in turn recommended I see a surgeon for possible removal. I’ve been told I have sludge, but not stones yet. I’d like to try the 4 step process above to dump out the sludge. Approximately how long should I take those supplements to clear out the sludge? I’m sure it varies, but just to get an idea of how long I should try taking them before having my sludge rechecked.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Melissa,
      Great question. For most people, it takes a few months to really clear things out. Make sure you’re being good about the basics – diet, water, fiber, and the supplements. You should notice that your symptoms start to decrease reasonably quickly and since you’re getting started before there are stones (yay) things should move pretty quickly. Let me know how it goes for you! 🙂

  29. Neuri

    Hi Dr. Amy,

    I recently was diagnosed with gallstones. My first gallbladder attack happened on Nov. 5th 2017. Also had a c-section on Oct. 20th 2017. I think pregnancy was the main culprit. I rushed to ER a few times and surgeons told me to have surgery within a week. I honestly refuse to have surgery. I saw in the ultrasound a packed gallbladder, but one thing that bothers me is the high chlolesterol affecting my liver enzymes. Do you think this flush could help me at this point? I think what it is causing my cholesterol level to be high are the stones.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Neuri,
      Honestly, pregnancy is SO DIFFICULT for your gallbladder generally. There are massive hormone swings and all of the extra hormones have to be detoxed and processed via liver, then excreted in bile. I agree that your cholesterol and liver enzymes are probably higher because of the stones, but when you have known stones I don’t think the gallbladder flush is safe. You run the risk of pushing the gallbladder so aggressively that a stone gets lodged in the duct. That means emergency surgery whether you want it or not, plus there are risks to the baby if you’re breastfeeding. This immediate post-partum period is going to be the hardest for you because of the hormone wash-out. Doing some of the gentle things like water and fiber can help to a degree, but won’t get rid of the stones. Also, if you’re breastfeeding then it isn’t a good time to do any detox because fat-soluble toxins will end up in your breast milk. Sorry – post pregnancy is extra hard on your body and also not the time to do anything aggressive.

      1. Neurilene

        Hi Dr. Amy,

        Thank you so much for posting a reply. Unfortunately, I didn’t see your reply until now. I did two liver flushes and ended up in the ER and did have my gallbladder out at the beginning of this month. I am very sad about this. I still have pain on the right side of my rib cage and many other symptoms that I probably will have to live with for the rest of my life.

        Once again thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post.

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Neurilene,
          Oh no! I’m so sorry you had to have the surgery. Lots of people still have pain after the removal. You can still work on the basics – clean diet and supplements that support gallbladder and liver. Even though you don’t have a gallbladder anymore they will still be helpful. Also, I wrote to you about the bitters – I would try those first. Keep me posted – I hope you get feeling better quickly!

      2. Neurilene

        Hi Dr. Amy,

        What would you recommend for multivitamins? I haven’t taken Vitamin D for a very long time and I wonder after the gallbladder removal which types of supplements I can take. I am afraid to take Vitamin D3 softgels and throw up.

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          I really like the multivitamins from Thorne Research, Pure Encapsulations and generally ones with methylfolate in them. A good multi really makes a big difference. In terms of the Vitamin D3 – there are micellized forms that are easier for people without a gallbladder to tolerate. NuMedica makes one. It’s a dropper bottle and it doesn’t taste very good, but hopefully, you’ll be able to tolerate it better than a pure oil. Also, I really like Biotics Research D-mulsion Forte. It’s a high dose in just one drop, which most people can tolerate. I hope this helps!

  30. Eugene

    Over the past month I have had insomnia that has worsened from waking up 2 twice a night and having trouble going back to sleep to now waking up between 1am and 3am and not being able to go back at all because of higher blood pressure and heart palps. I’m barely able to function and having real trouble in my work and relationships.

    The blood tests that my GP did showed some higher scale
    CHLORIDE 71mmol
    SGPT (ALT) 60
    T3 Reverse 27 the norm range is 9-24 so it is higher
    T3 Free 3.2 the norm range is 2.3-4.2
    T4 Free 1.07 norm range is .64-1.79
    Cortisol29.49 mcg/dL
    Normetanephrine Plasma135 pg/mL0 – 145 pg/mL
    METANEPHRINES PLASMA82 pg/mL0 – 62 pg/mL
    Also did a follow up 24 hour urine to double check the plasma level above but it came back normal?
    TSH 1.770 mcIU/mL Normal range 0.358 – 3.740 mcIU/mL

    My Chiropractor poked around on me and said my Galbladder might be sludgy and liver may be not quite right?

    My question is can gallbladder sludge cause insomnia and waking up suddenly? Or even higher than my normal blood sugar?

    Confused… Eugene

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Eugene,
      I haven’t’ heard of gallbladder sludge waking people up in the night unless they have attacks at that time (but you would know if that was happening). What I do see that your doctor should take a look at is higher than ideal levels for cortisol, which can cause higher than normal blood sugar and night waking. Also your norepi and epi look a little on the high side (although not overtly out of range). The doctor who ordered the testing should be able to follow up with you on these matters or refer you to someone in your local area who has experience. My guess though would be that your gallbladder, while it may be sludgy, is probably not the culprit in this case.

  31. Jennifer

    Hi Dr. Amy,

    I have been avoiding having my gallbladder out for about 6 years. I’ve had 2 acute attacks requiring hospital visits and morphine but nothing major for about 4 years. Recently, I’ve had increased issues and discomfort. My U/S now shows a packed gallbladder. No other inflammation or complication. I’ve been taking limonene for about 6 months at about 25-30 drops per day. That doesn’t seem to have changed anything. I have a severe problem with constipation, that makes me miserable. I have a couple of questions. Why won’t surgeons just remove the stones? And with a packed GB, are my chances of dissolving them reduced or if they do start to dissolve am I in increased danger of getting one trapped in the bile duct?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jennifer,
      It is harder with a packed gallbladder to actually dissolve the stones just because the bile flow is so limited. For any of the dissolving agents to work they have to actually come into contact with the surface of the stones, and for that you need at least a little bit of bile flow. Does that make sense? As far as I know, there is no additional risk of a stone trapped in the duct with a packed gallbladder, although it is far less common than just plain sludge and stones so I don’t have nearly as much experience with this situation. I would say if there has been no change in 6 months with the limonene then maybe try switching to a different stone-breaking supplement. Just because in 6 months I feel like you should have seen some progress. Also with severe constipation, your body will have a much harder time getting anything through the gallbladder simply because nothing is moving very fast. Have you tried using magnesium? If not then maybe read about it a bit here and see if it sounds right for you. I hope this is helpful!

  32. Jean Riggs

    Hi! I had a gallbladder attack about a year ago. Since then I have had a coating on my tongue and twinges continue in the gallbladder area. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years eating healthy but since have added more vegetables juices, beets and greens. I will now add artichokes, too. The ultrasound showed a 4 mm polyp and some wall thickening. I’m careful with my fats. Could the polyp be causing the gallbladder to constrict trying to rid itself of it thus causing the thickening? Do you have any suggestions? I will add more lemon and water.

    Thank you.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jean,
      Yeah – the polyp complicates things. It’s not something I know how to dissolve and I typically suggest surgery for folks with polyps, simply because there is a risk (however small) that it will progress into cancer. That isn’t something that I want for you or anybody. The polyp will certainly cause the gallbladder to contract harder to move bile through, just because it’s moving around an obstacle so that could be part of the wall thickening, or there could be chronic inflammation for whatever reason. It sounds like your diet is great and you’re doing lots of the right things, but talk with your doctor about the risks of leaving the polyp – I don’t want you to get into a bad situation that could be preventable! Keep me posted.

  33. Hal

    I have been using some of your recommended products for a couple years as general maintenance for liver sludge.

    I an using Urban Moonshine bitters and a 2000 mg capsule of Milk Thistle by Fresh Nutrition. It’s made in the USA and has a 96% 5 star rating on Amazon.

    Regarding using fiber as a bonding agent, Ortho Molecular Fiber Plus has 9 grams of fiber in 1 serving. I have been regularly eating Quaker Oats new high fiber oatmeal each morning. It contains 10 grams of fiber in 1 serving. Do you see any problem with using the oatmeal in place of the Fiber Plus?

    Thank you.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Hal,
      No problem at all, as long as you work fiber into lots of areas of your diet. The RDA is actually 25 grams and I try to go for 30-50 grams in people who are actively working on detox or liver/gallbladder issues. That is why I suggest the supplement because I’m hoping that people are doing high fiber foods plus some extra. Still, if you can get it all with foods then that’s always the best way. Thanks for the great question!

      1. Hal

        Dr. Amy:

        Thanks for the quick response. I noticed that I wrote liver sludge in my previous message to you. That was an error. I meant gall bladder as that is what I was responding to but you answered what I needed to know. I happen to like oatmeal so I can easily get 30 or more grams of fiber from it.


  34. Jackie V


    I’ve in the past month had at least 1 attack every week but none so severe that I’ve been hospitalized. So I ended up having an ultrasound and the doc found 1 large gallstone. I’m trying to find out the exact size but I was wondering if it’s too late for me to do a cleanse or a dissolving treatment? Based on this article I thought maybe I could focus on just dissolving supplements so to really break up the stone and then maybe after 3-6months I could start taking stuff to move the bile out? I really really don’t want to have my gallbladder taken out so any help/steps you recommend would be wonderful. Thanks so much!!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Jackie,
      I’d start all at once, cautiously. The idea is that while you’re SLOWLY dissolving the stone you’re also allowing bile to wash sludge and whatnot out of the gallbladder so that no more stones form and so that your symptoms can hopefully decrease. It makes the stone-dissolving supplements more effective. With a bigger stone just remember that the gallbladder flushes and cleanses aren’t safe for you. Also, it’s a good idea to follow up with a repeat ultrasound in 3-6 months just to make sure that the stone is actually getting smaller and not continuing to grow. Good luck and keep me posted!

  35. Anjum

    My mother has a stone ~ 1mm in CBD with surrounding tissues. And her GB is partially distended in size ~ 13 mm. She is eating only fiber rich food with absolutely no fat at all. And she is without any pain whatsoever for the last 15 days or so.

    Doctors recommended ERCP which we refused thinking that we should try some other things like controlling our diet etc, and she is without pain till now.

    So, now what we should do ?

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Anjum,
      Great that your mother has been without pain for 15 days – that sounds like positive progress. I would suggest finding someone in your local area with experience dealing with gallstones who you could work with. You can look up naturopathic doctors here. That might be a good starting place. Outside of that, starting one of the supplements that can help to slowly dissolve stones, like chanca piedra, might be the next best step. My only concern is that if the stone is already in the common bile duct and the gallbladder is partially distended then she is more vulnerable to blockage. The stone that is already there could block the flow of bile completely and that can be very traumatic and painful – I don’t want your mother to have to experience that! Working with someone locally would be beneficial to make sure they are monitoring her progress appropriately and taking appropriate precautions. Does that make sense?

      1. James

        Hi Dr. Amy, I greatly appreciate you reading this and for your time helping me understand.
        I recently have had a ultra scan last week showing I only have gallbladder sludge. ONLY sludge.
        During the process of the ultra scan, the scanner employee (not sure if she was a Dr. or just a person that does the scanning) said I would need surgery and take my gallbladder out.
        I was shocked knowing my entire life I could eat whatever and had no issues so to have sludge showing was an intense moment. Now the only reason I had a scan or whatever is because I have had severe adominal pain “attacks”. It occurs after eating I assume within a couple of hours. Since the attacks I have stopped eating eggs, tomato, and caffine such as coffee/mochas and it seemed to have simmered it down. They still occured this month but not every day, sometimes after an attack I would lose my appitite and not eat regular the next few days. I DO NOT feel any nausea or anything else beside the adominal pain. It feels like its bloated and it hurts to bend, twist or even move at times, also causing a hot flash making me sweat as well as feeling like needed to faint, and lastly the urge to use the restroom #2 even though I dont need to. I am not sure if this issue spiked up due to my vehicle accident which made me get surgery on my back and pelvis. I have read that fast weight loss can cause sludge. Well I lost about 40 pounds since the surgery both about a month apart, I weighed about 170 and then wieghed about 136 lbs. I have been home this month after two months recovering in the hospital and trying to gain some wieght back slowly, but having these abdominal attacks are slowing me down. I do NOT want surgery and I want to keep my gallbladder, even though you could “survive” without one, I think God put it there for a reason. So coming accross the web I fould the “Hulda Clark” cleanse which apparently work for so many people after 1-5 flushes. Well I did my first flush just yesterday and coming into today. I feel much better I guess besides not having to eat a regular meal just yet. Also the flush results in according to other people are relatable besides gallbladder stones coming out since I dont have none. I guess I won’t know if it ACTUALLY worked until I have another scan which I will request to show if it did flush out my sludge. I have been through my spinal surgery and pelvis surgery these last two months, I am just trying to avoid another surgery and keep my body part as well. The weird thing is, I had no pain in my right rib cage area even when I had my abdominal attacks. Now that I know I have sludge since last week, I am not sure if it mental or not but I can feel a pinch here and there from that area but it isn’t painful. If I show sludge again in my next scan I request and I have abdominal pain attacks occur again, I guess I have no choice and will go with removing my gallbladder which I don’t want to do. I just want to eat regular once again with no strict diet or pain :/ Dr. thank you for your time again. I would really appreciate it if you can tell me what you recommend upon my situation!

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi James,
          I’m not surprised that you have sludge with such rapid weight loss (sounds like a kind of crappy way to do it too – sorry to hear about the accident and surgeries.) It’s a lot for your body to take all at once, so really you should be proud of how well your body has coped! I think you’re on the right track with the cleanses, and be sure that you’re supporting your liver and gallbladder for a few months. We often underestimate how long recovery really takes. Being human, we want it to all be done with yesterday but our bodies have to do a lot of complex work to heal, change, and remodel and so the recovery from the accident, surgeries, and rapid weight loss will be a process. If you can give your body a year that would be best. Focus on the basics – sleep more than usual, drink lots of water, eat nutritionally dense foods and get good sources of fiber. Just remember that the gallbladder sludge is just one tiny piece of what your body is dealing with, so be gentle with yourself and give your body time. Does that make sense?

  36. Gayle

    Hi Dr. Amy,

    On New Year’s Day I went to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. Turns out I have gallstones. I have also recently been diagnosed with sludge and and EF of 11. I am scheduled to see a surgeon on July 24th. I was wondering if it is too late for natural remedies with all of that? I would just like some “ideas” to pass on to the surgeon before I make a final decision of having my gallbladder removed. Thank you!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Gayle,
      Ugh. Yes – that attacks are awful. I certainly think it’s not too late – especially if the ultrasound showed sludge but not stones. When you talk with the surgeon ask if they see anything immediately threatening (like malformations or masses) and pick a time frame in which to try natural approaches to sludge reduction and then re-test (6 months is usually a good idea). Of course, if you’re having frequent attacks and your quality of life is significantly impacted then it might not be worth it to try the natural route, but as long as there isn’t anything that looks unusual and you aren’t suffering greatly then it isn’t too late.

  37. Ellen

    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.

    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.

  38. 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?

    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!

  39. 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

    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!

  40. 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!

    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.

  41. Shannon Bradshaw

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

    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.

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

  43. 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?

    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!

  44. 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??

  45. Supreet Goni

    Isn’t low fat diet the cause of sludge in the first place ? Fat stimulates gallbladder to empty ?

    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?

      1. Bonnie

        I thought the gall bladder was a storage vessel for the liver bile that empties into the small intestine when extra bile is needed. So, what’s confusing me is how does food with fat content end up in the gall bladder? The answer to Supreet sounds like somehow the fat goes INTO the gall bladder and then if there aren’t enough bile salts it builds up… Are you saying that food goes into the gall bladder? Somehow, I’m missing something because it’s not making any sense to me at all.

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Bonnie,
          Great question! It can be really confusing. In general, fat from your foods isn’t supposed to get into the gallbladder, but occasionally people will have trouble with that if the gallbladder is really sluggish. Typically though, the fat that gets into the gallbladder is actually fat or fat-like compounds that are being detoxified through the liver. Blood cholesterol that is being eliminated, sex hormones, and many other compounds that are eliminated through the liver are actually fatty in nature, and so they pass through the gallbladder on their way to the small intestine to be either reabsorbed back into the body or eliminated with waste. In most cases it is this fat that causes issues – hence the higher likelihood of gallbladder trouble with rapid weight loss or in times of large hormone shifts (pregnancy, menopause, etc…). Does that make more sense?

  46. 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?

      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.

    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!

  47. Alysha

    Can you suggest a good B complex, fish oil and curcumin as there are so many on the market. Thanks again. Blessed

    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!

    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.

  48. 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

    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!

  49. 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).

    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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

    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!

  52. 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?

    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?

      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.

    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!

      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.

  53. 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!

    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!


    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.

    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!

  55. 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

    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!

  56. 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!!!!

    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! 🙂

  57. 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)

    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!

      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?

        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.

  58. 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!


    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!

      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!


        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!)

          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.

  59. 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!

    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!

  60. 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

    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!

  61. 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,

    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!

  62. 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??

    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!

  63. 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?

  64. 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.

    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!

  65. 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.

    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.

  66. 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!

    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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

    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.

      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.

  70. 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.

    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.

      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.

        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.

          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

  71. 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.

    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. 🙂

    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!

      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.


  72. 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!

    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!

  73. 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.

    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!

  74. 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.

    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.

    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!

      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!

  75. 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 ♡

    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!

  76. 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.

    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.

    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!

      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.

        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!

  77. 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.

    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.

    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!

      1. jane

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

        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!

  78. 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.


    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.

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

  80. 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!

    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!)

  81. 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.

    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!

    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.

      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.

    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.

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

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  84. 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.

    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!

  85. 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.

    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.

      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.

        1. Lisa


          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.

  86. 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

    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!

  87. 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.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      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!

  88. 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.

    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!

  89. 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!

    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!

      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.

        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!

  90. 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.

  91. 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.


    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.

  92. 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?

    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!

  93. 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?

  94. 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

    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.

  95. 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.

    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!

  96. angelina

    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!!!!

    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!

  97. 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.


    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!

  98. 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.

    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!

  99. 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

    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!

  100. 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 🙂

  101. 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.

    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.

  102. 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

  103. 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.

    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!

      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?

        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!

    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!

      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!

    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.

      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.

        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

  104. 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

    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!

    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.

  105. 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♡

    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.

  106. 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!

    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!

  107. 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

    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.

  108. kathleen

    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!

    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!

    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.

  109. 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.

    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!

      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.

        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. 🙂

          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!

  110. 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.

  111. 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.

    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.

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

    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.

      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!

        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.

          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!

  115. 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?

    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!

  116. 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.

    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!

      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!

        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!

    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!

    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.

  117. 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?

    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!

  118. 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?

    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!

      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!

      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.

        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!

  119. 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!

    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!

  120. 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!

    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!

  121. 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 ;(

    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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

    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.

  124. 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?

    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.

  125. 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.

    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!

  126. 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.

    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!

  127. 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.

    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!

  128. 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

    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.

  129. 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.

    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.

      1. Julie

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

  130. Sara D Pena

    I need help in knowing of how to flush out sludge from my gal bladder..can someone help me..

  131. 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?

    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!

  132. 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.

    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.

  133. Buli

    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,

    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.

  134. meliody

    Please can you get back to me I have been working on this natural y for a wile need some more help

    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.

  135. John

    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.

    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!

  136. 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

    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!

  137. 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

    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!

    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)

  138. 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.

    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.

  139. 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

    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!

  140. 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

    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!

  141. 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?

    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!

  142. 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.

  143. 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.

    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!

      1. Marina Melchor-Speed

        Hello I was diagnosed with shadowing gallstones and I have no pain just nauseous but I’m very been like that for a long time due to sever anxiety. Wouldn’t I have other symptoms not just nausea. And my ultrasound shows no swelling and no sludge and thickening of the wall. And no bile duct blocked 4mm which is normal. Can the nausea just be anxiety?!

        1. amyneuzil Post author

          Hi Marina,
          Wow – great question! This is a tough one, because nausea CAN be just anxiety or it CAN be gallbladder issues. Sometimes we can tell them apart and sometimes we can’t. It’s typically gallbladder if it gets worse after eating, it’s much worse with fatty foods, or certain foods seem to trigger it. It’s typically anxiety if it’s worse before big events (like sunday night before work monday morning), worse around certain people, or worse in particular situations that have nothing to do with food. Of course it’s still really ambiguous so honestly for you it really could be anxiety, gallbladder or a combination of both.

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