Gallstones & Primal Eating
I've got a cholesterol-related question that maybe some of y'all could help me with.
I've been eating primally for about 2 weeks now. So far I'm loving it & I'm having positive results. My only problem (or potential problem) is this: For the last few years I have been suffering from gallstones (for some relevant background info, my diet @ the time the gallbladder attacks first presented consisted of lean meats, lots of veggies, a moderate amount of whole grains, some low-fat dairy, etc. I am a 29 yr old female who's never been over-weight & never been pregnant. Also, for what it's worth, my mother had gallstones @ a young age as well--in her 30s). I've found that the only thing that really bates the painful attacks is drinking plenty of water, especially with meals. According to doctors (yeah, I know...), gallstones are caused by an accumulation of excess cholesterol in the bile which hardens into stones. My question is whether or not, due to my history of gallstones, I should be vigilant about monitoring my dietary cholesterol as I continue to follow a primal eating style, or whether I should forge ahead & challenge the notion that dietary cholesterol is to blame. At this point I've learned to just "grin & bare it" & drink more water than I actually want to prevent attacks--but obviously I'd love for it to just be a non-issue altogether. At it's worst (before the elevated water consumption), I was having gallbladder attacks several times a day, sometimes lasting hours. If it weren't so excrutiating I would be less concerned about it, but I'm very afraid of getting back to that point. Any feedback is hugely appreciated.
I'm not understanding why you don't have your gall bladder removed. I've had attacks, so I know how excruciating they are, but in my case, there were no stones involved and the gall bladder showed up on tests as 'healthy'--i.e., they could find no cause for the attacks. However, in my reading, I learned that if you have stones, you risk all sorts of serious complications, and having surgery as an emergency should definitely be avoided. Every doctor I know recommends removal under the circumstances you describe.
However, back to your initial question about cholesterol. It won't help to monitor your dietary cholesterol because your body regulates the amount of cholesterol it wants--i.e., you eat less, it makes more. And the mechanism which converts cholesterol into gallstones isn't under our control, anyway.
My own attacks were brought on by any high fat eating, and that may be a problem for you.
I'd been having gall bladder pains for the last few years which is generally a burning sensation. Additionally the occassional stabbing in the liver type of pain to go with the chronic indigestion. I knew it was diet related but couldn't pin it down
Anyway, I'm now five weeks into primal and all those pains actually stopped sometime around the end of week 1. I haven't had anything at all for the last four weeks. So I suspect it was related to all the grains I was eating.
I suggest you read this article by Dr. Michael Eades:
Carbohydrates and gallstones
From Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution... he considers that gallstones, and the subsequent removal of the gall bladder to a direct result of intestinal damage due to eating grains, and that these people are quite possibly undiagnosed Celiac's. He believes that eating paleo will potentially cure the problem of gall stones, from what I have read.
Thanks to all of you for your replies.
Xntrik & Katt, thank you both for the interesting info you provided.
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