The gallbladder is a small organ that measures about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. It sits under the right side of the liver and stores bile until it’s needed. When you eat something high in fat, the gallbladder contracts, sending bile through the bile ducts to start breaking down fats. However, some people experience problems with their gallbladder and its functionality. If you feel unsure of how your gallbladder functions or if you know there are issues, this article will help you understand more about it. Keep reading to learn more about improving your gallbladder function as well as some natural remedies for a healthy and happy gallbladder.
What Can Cause Problems With the Gallbladder?
There are a few reasons that you could experience problems with your gallbladder. There are problems that are caused by poor diet, and there are also some genetic disorders that can cause issues as well. Here are a few of the most common causes of gallbladder issues. –
- Obesity – The more body fat you have, the more cholesterol you have in your body. Cholesterol is partially responsible for the formation of gallstones, so the more you have in your blood, the more likely you are to develop gallstones.
- Age – As you age, your gallbladder muscle naturally starts to become less effective, leaving you more likely to develop gallstones as well as feel pain from existing gallstones. This also means that if you have never experienced any problems with your gallbladder, you are likely to develop issues as you age.
- Diet – Eating a diet that is high in fat and cholesterol can increase your risk of developing gallstones. – Hormonal changes – During pregnancy, and especially during the postpartum period, women become more likely to develop gallstones. This is largely because of the dramatic hormonal changes that occur during this time.
How to Recognize Problematic Gallbladder Function
There are certain symptoms that you can look for if you think something is wrong with your gallbladder. If you regularly experience some of these issues, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor and make sure you aren’t dealing with an inflamed gallbladder or other issues.
- Abdominal pain – This is one of the most common things people experience when there’s a problem with their gallbladder. Typically, it’s felt in the upper right abdominal area where the gallbladder is located. This pain can be sharp and sudden, but it can also be mild.
- Feeling nauseous – This is another symptom that has to do with the bile that is released when fat is broken down. If your gallbladder is not breaking down bile properly, you may feel nauseous after eating.
- Feeling Full Quickly – If your gallbladder is inflamed, it may not be able to process as much bile as it normally would. This may also cause your gallbladder to become overactive and secrete more bile than it should. This can cause you to feel very full after eating a small meal.
- Bitter taste in the mouth – This is another sign that your gallbladder may be secreting bile when it shouldn’t be. This can be a sign that there are already some stones in the gallbladder or that stones are starting to form.
The Importance of a Healthy Gallbladder
The gallbladder’s role in the body is pretty important. It stores bile and releases it when fats are broken down in the body. It’s also responsible for breaking down cholesterol, so if your gallbladder isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to serious health problems.
- Digestive issues – In the event that your gallbladder is inflamed, it can stop breaking down bile properly, which can lead to digestive issues like cramping, diarrhea, or constipation.
- Increased risk of diabetes – When you have a gallbladder that isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to problems with your blood sugar.
- Increased risk of heart disease – One of the biggest problems that can come from an inflamed gallbladder (or one with actual stones), is that it can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your bloodstream. This can then lead to problems with your heart.
- Increased risk of strokes – Another serious problem that can come from an inflamed gallbladder or one with actual stones is a buildup of blood in the brain.
How to Improve Your Gallbladder Function
If your gallbladder isn’t functioning properly, there are a few things you can do to try to improve its operation.
- Eat a Healthy Diet – Eating a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol can help keep your gallbladder from becoming inflamed or forming stones. Keep in mind that fat isn’t necessarily bad for you. Reducing overall fat intake can help with the formation of gallstones, but it’s also important to eat fats that can be broken down by the gallbladder.
- Limit your intake of caffeine – Caffeine can cause your gallbladder to contract, which is why many people feel cramps after drinking coffee.
- Stay hydrated – Because your gallbladder is responsible for helping break down cholesterol, staying hydrated can help keep cholesterol levels in your blood down.
Foods for a Healthy Gallbladder
Certain foods are known to be beneficial to an otherwise healthy gallbladder. These foods can help to prevent issues like inflammation and the formation of cholesterol stones.
- Citrus Fruits – Citrus fruits like lemons and grapefruits are known for being high in flavonoids. Flavonoids help to cleanse your liver and can help keep your gallbladder healthy by reducing your likelihood of developing stones.
- Leafy Greens – Leafy greens are high in fiber and able to help you feel fuller for longer. They also happen to be great for your gallbladder.
- Nutritional Yeast – Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins. These are important for keeping your liver and gallbladder healthy.
- Beans and Legumes – Beans and legumes are a great source of fibre. Just like with leafy greens, this can help you feel fuller for longer and can also help with cholesterol.
Your gallbladder is a small but essential organ that is responsible for keeping your cholesterol levels in check and breaking down fat. However, it’s not uncommon for people to experience issues with their gallbladders. If you experience any of the symptoms above, you may want to try eating a healthier diet to see if that helps, or talk to your doctor to see if there are any other remedies for a healthy gallbladder. If you want to improve your gallbladder function and keep your cholesterol levels in check, make sure to incorporate these foods into your diet. Doing so will result in a significant improvement in your over-all health.