Gall Stones (Cholelithiasis)
Disorders of gall bladder and biliary tract affects significant portion of worlds population. 95% of biliary tract diseases are due to Cholelithiasis. Bile is secreted by liver and stored in the gall bladder. Cholelithiasis is the formation of stones ( calculi) within the gallbladder and biliary duct system. Gall stones form due to abnormal bile composition, biliary stasis and inflammation of gallbladder.
Manifestation of Cholelithiasis
- Many are asymptomatic
- Early symptoms are epigastric fullness after meals or mild distress after eating a fatty meal.
- Biliary colic ( if stone is blocking cystic or common bile duct). Steady pain in epigastric or RUQ of abdomen lasting up to 5 hours with nausea and vomiting.
- Jaundice may occur if there is obstruction of common bile duct.
Types of gall stones
- Cholesterol stones (90%)
- Pigmented stones/calcified gallstones
Prevalence increases with age, metabolic syndrome, obesity. More common in women. Hereditary, estrogenic influence ( OCP and pregnancy) , gall bladder stasis, reduced gall bladder motility, rapid weight loss also increase biliary cholesterol secretion .
- Inflammation of gallbladder (cholecystitis)
- Inflammation of biliary tree(cholangitis)
- Obstructive cholestasis
- Intestinal obstruction
Treatment of choice is laparoscopic cholecystectomy. If surgery is inappropriate, may attempt to dissolve the gall stones with medications.
Ayurvedic treatment for gall stones revolves around the idea of root cause diagnosis which is established by cleansing the liver and gallbladder to restore their normal function. Ayurvedic gall stone treatment methods involve the use of very effective herbs and herbal formulations that involves stone dissolving and also helps in the prevention of further stone formation chances.
Except for life threatening conditions of Cholelithiasis ( which requires surgical management) it can be managed with ayurvedic medicines and can avoid complications of Cholelithiasis. Ayurvedic medications that are used to treat gallstones are patolakaturohinyadi kashaya, arogya vardhini vati , vasaguluchyadi kashaya , Dashamoola harithaki leham , avipathi choornam , dadimadi ghritham etc . They have hepatoprotective , gall bladder cleansing properties and helps in dissolving the gall stones. The medications are prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners after complete assessment of the condition of the patients.
Balanced diet , life style modifications and physical exercise are important to stay fit and healthy. Diet should include lots of fiber , water , fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated fats and junk foods. Exercising and keeping a check in weight improves metabolism.