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Cholesterol deposits in gall bladder. Are gall bladder flushes necessary and safe? Is it advisable to take probiotics?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 436 Questions
My mother had this diagnosis about 4 years ago when the docs said she had mild cholesterol deposits in her gallbladder, but they said surgery was not needed if she stayed on medication.
Now she was on regular medication for almost upto an year but then she stopped taking them - claiming she's feeling better and doesnt need them anymore.

However she has since faced frequent issues with digestion and mild or sometimes chronic gas pains, 1 - 3 times a month and sometimes no problem for months at a stretch.

Now I was doing some research on this and found many people 'online' claiming that Taking *OLIVE OIL, AND EPSUM SALT AND SOME FRUIT JUICE* ACTUALLY HELP in relaxing the gall bladder muscles and help flush out the stones with stools.

I have also came to know that during such 'flushes' all the essential bacteria in the body are also wiped out, so now my questions are
"ARE Gall Bladder flushes necessary for my mother (she's 37), and are these 'flushes' safe ??"
"Since the essential bacteria is removed is it advisable to take in VSL#3 probiotic?"

I have also heard that taking Ursodiol helps "melt" and "dissolve" these so called cholesterol deposits, is it really effective ?

She is having these mild pain attacks almost 1-3 times each month.. which subsides when she takes "Rentac 300" tablets and sometimes gets a drink of ENO.

I STAY in west bengal Kolkata please suggest some medications which are available here or on any online store.
Posted Sun, 15 Apr 2012 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by Dr. Radhika 1 hour later
Thanks for the query.
Gall bladder flushes have not been validated in scientific trials and I would suggest that you do not use them for your mother. Their effectiveness and safety is not known and they are never used as a part of the management of gall stones.
It is true that ursodiol actually helps dissolve small cholesterol stones. Treatment may last for 2 years and it may be more effective when combined with a low cholesterol diet. Please ask her to stay away from oily food, fried items and sweets.
Please speak to your treating physician about ursodiol as the decision to start treatment will depend on size of deposits.
She should try and continue with the prescribed medication.
VSL#3 is a probiotic protects the inner layer of the gut from bad bacteria and other toxic substances that can cause inflammation. These are generally good for health and cause no harm. She can take this.
Regarding the intake of olive oil, Epsum salt and certain fruit juices these are still under research to check the claims about its authenticity. I would suggest that she stays away from all such potions. Certain people do take XXXXXXX juice and lemon juice to flush out the toxins. There is no harm in taking XXXXXXX or lemon juice but I cannot guarantee you it will reduce in this.
Hope I have answered your query. If you do not have any follow up queries, please accept my answer.
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