Most malfunctions of the gall bladder are due to gall stones (or “sand” or just plain sludge) either blocking the release of bile into the digestive tract, or filling the it to capacity with no room for bile storage.
Because you use bile to digest fats, gall stones will cause digestive problems in almost everyone, except those on a totally vegan (no animal products) diet– dairy products seem to be a big issue.
When a gall bladder gets really full of gall stones, it becomes inflamed, and eventually infection sets in. This is when most people realize there is a problem – because it hurts really BAD – and finally go to the doctor. In most instances, the doctor will want to remove the misbehaving gall bladder to solve the pain problem.
In severe cases, the infected gall bladder may have burst, and removal is probably your only alternative to avoid further abdominal infection. But if it is possible to keep your gall bladder, please do. Your body really needs it. In fact, without a gall bladder, you will always have gall bladder trouble (bet they didn’t tell you that at the doctor’s office).
Your liver produces bile, and most of it drip, drip, drips into the gall bladder, to be used when needed (like digesting a high-fat meal). So without your nifty bile storage container, you only get the “drips” of bile as it is manufactured by the liver. Undigested or improperly digested food means bloating, gas, possible heartburn, constipation, poor assimilation of nutrients… the list is NOT good.
Or sometimes, the liver is producing plenty of bile, and gallstones or some other obstruction cause the bile to “back up.” This is no fun either. Besides giving your skin a yellow appearance, jaundice is a very serious condition.
Foods that increase bile production (very helpful if your gall bladder is gone) or “thin” the bile include aloe, apples, artichokes, ginger root, horseradish, lemon juice, oregano, pumpkin seeds, and radishes.
If gall bladder problems run in your family, consider taking a full-spectrum digestive enzyme (that includes organic ox bile as an ingredient) before eating meat or dairy products. Prevention saves grief later.
Avoid fried foods (they aren’t good for anybody anyway), coffee, and sugar. If you have Crohn’s disease (associated with a congested gall bladder and liver), avoid wheat and gluten.
Once you get your digestive tract calmed down, you may want to do a Gall Bladder Flush or Gall Bladder Cleanse to allow your body to release gall stones.