My cousin was hospitalized yesterday for severe pain due to gallstones, and is scheduled to have her gall bladder removed, but first the docs have put her on a low-fat diet to reduce the inflammation in her gall bladder (because evidently they can't do surgery to remove it until it's no longer inflamed).
So, does eating a relatively high-fat diet like ours predispose us to gallstones?
No. When one has obstructive stones (the kind that give symptoms), the gallbladder can't work effectively to process fats. In that situation, fats will cause more inflammation and pain as the gall bladder struggles to function and can't. That's why the low fat diet is prescribed--to allow the gallbladder to rest and reduce inflammation prior to surgery.
I had a severely inflammed gallbladder once--and all tests were negative in terms of stones or any obstruction. My gastro said that in such situations, they often never find a cause and to try low fat eating to see if that would resolve the problem. It did. I still have my gallbladder and can eat fat fairly freely now. The period of low fat allowed my gallbladder to heal.
But fat in itself does not create the stones. No one knows for sure exactly why people develop gallstones, although the typical patient is usually referred to as "fat, female, and forty," suggesting that the SAD may be the culprit in some ways--i.e., fat but with grains and starches as well--a deadly combination.
Well - when one eats a low fat diet, the bile doesn't move through the gall bladder regularly. So the bile gets gooped up.
Fat stimulates gallbladder contraction, and if you have stones, that may cause the stones to block the cystic duct (leaving the gallbladder), leading to pain and inflammation. It's not that the fat causes gallstones but that it causes gallbladder contraction, encouraging impacted gallstones.
Last edited by avocado; 06-13-2010 at 07:16 PM.
Thanks, these answers clear things up perfectly. I appreciate it. :-) Now, back to my pork chop.