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Gallstones and Weight Loss

Gallstones occur when solid material (mostly cholesterol) builds up in the gall bladder and forms a hard lump (a stone). Gallstones often cause severe abdominal and lower back pain.

The symptoms of Gallstones

Some of the more commons symptoms of Gallstones include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • indigestion (especially after eating fatty or creamy foods)
  • pain in the right shoulder area
  • severe pain in the upper abdomen

The link between obesity and Gallstones

Studies have found that if you are obese you are more likely to develop gallstones - the more overweight the higher the risk (particularly in women). Fat that is carried around the midsection or abdomen is worse than that carried around hips and thighs.

Those who are obese generally produce more cholesterol than those at a healthy weight. There is more cholesterol than what the Gallbladder can dissolve, and gallstones are formed. Sometimes the Gallbladder does not empty properly and can lead to a build up of cholesterol.

The Gallbladder is responsible for storing and releasing bile that is used by the liver to aid in digestion.

The Risks of Fast Weight Loss

Studies have shown that those who embark on a program of rapid weight loss - such as a very low calorie diet - run a much higher risk of getting Gallstones. Fast weight loss could be construed as anything more than 3 pounds per week.

Gallstone Treatments

Typical treatment is to remove the Gallbladder via surgery (cholecystectomy). Sometimes drugs have been used to help dissolve the Gallstones.

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