Some people think of their gallbladder as being “expendable”. Don’t get me wrong, as I don’t think anybody wants any of their organs to be removed. But since many people live a seemingly normal life after getting their gallbladder removed, many people don’t think their gallbadder plays an important role in their overall health. After all, how important can your gallbladder be if you can do just fine after it’s surgically removed?
The gallbladder actually plays a very important role in your body. And while many people do seem to live a normal life without it, many others have health issues that are due to their gallbladder being removed. But most people aren’t aware that their health issues are related to this.
To better understand this, let’s take a look at the function of the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile, which is necessary for the emulsification of fats. In other words, it helps to break down the fats you eat. If have your gallbladder removed, then this will affect the bile, and your body will have problems breaking down fats, which will also interfere with the digestion of fats. This is why people who have received gallbladder surgery usually experience digestive symptoms (bloating, gas, indigestion, etc.) when eating a lot of fatty foods.
So why is this a big deal? Well, the fats and oils you consume are part of the building blocks of many of the hormones in your body. And so if you don’t have a gallbladder, then your ability to make and metabolize hormones will be impaired. This of course is also the case if you still have your gallbladder, but if it’s not functioning correctly, which is the case with many people. So if you have a malfunctioning gallbladder then you can expect to have problems with hormone metabolism. Once again, someone who has a malfunctioning gallbladder will have some of the same symptoms I listed above (bloating, belching, indigesting, pain between the shoulder blades, etc.). So when someone follows a natural treatment protocol, this is one of the primary things I will look for, as if they have an impaired ability to make hormones, then this of course will affect their recovery.
The Relationship Between Estrogen Dominance And Gallbladder Issues
If you’ve been reading these posts and articles for awhile, then you know that from time to time I’ll speak about estrogen dominance, which is a condition involving a hormone imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. This condition causes bile to become thick and sluggish, which will cause problems with the emulsification of fats, and therefore can impair hormone metabolism as well. In other words, it’s very common for someone who is in a state of estrogen dominance to have gallbladder issues. And while someone with the above symptoms might try to do a gallbladder flush to help, they need to get to the root cause of the problem, which is to correct the estrogen dominance issue. So for anyone who is looking to achieve optimal health, if the person is in a state of estrogen dominance this needs to be corrected. Once this is corrected the person will sometimes still require a gallbladder flush, although not always.
What can you do if you have already had your gallbladder removed? Obviously there is nothing that can be done to permanently fix this problem. However, there are certain supplements people can take to help emulsify the fats. Most people of course don’t do this, as they try to minimize the fats they eat, which can also cause problems. We’ve been taught to avoid fats, and while you don’t want to eat an excess amount of fats, you also don’t want to substitute eating carbohydrates for them. You need to eat a balanced diet consisting of protein, quality fats, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates. But in order to break down the healthy fats you eat, you either need a properly functioning gallbladder, or if your gallbladder has been removed, then you will need to take certain supplements which helps prevent the bile from becoming thick and sluggish.
In summary, even though people can live without a gallbladder, this doesn’t mean this organ isn’t important to our health. Without a properly functioning gallbladder, not only will this affect the ability to break down fats, but it will also affect the formation and metabolism of hormones. So if you’re looking to follow a natural treatment protocol, it is essential to have a properly functioning gallbladder. And if you have had your gallbladder removed, you then need to receive the necessary nutritional support.
Jean Stanley says
I am a 45yr old woman, have been dealing with Estrogen dominance for 3+ years but came to a head 2yrs ago, coincidentally (not really) the same time as i was having massive digestion issues, which then turned into gallbladder testing which showed only 11% functioning. They wanted to do surgery asap. I’m a alternative/natural type person so before going under the knife, I researched for 3 solid months, did a cleanse and all symptoms disappeared. I was on bioidentical Progesterin & Testosterone cream but last saliva test showed too high testosterone levels. About 3 months ago I went off the creams as I am seeing a new alternative MD. Now my gallgladder is again acting up, pain under right ribs, digestion problems. Billirubin is elevated so more liver tests, xrays etc. I advised them that i know this is my gallbladder but my Western doc is not listening. I started detoxing 3 days ago. All natural whole organic foods only, plenty of real apple juice, tumeric, no sugar-wheat-dairy-eggs-caffeine-alcohol. I have Progesterone cream left so I will go back on that. Is is too late for me? Can I mend my Gallbladder as I don’t want it removed. 3 of my friends have had the surgery but I’m not that easy. I try all alternatives and I don’t like bandaiding my issues. I have come this far and don’t want to give up. I can’t get any straight answers from the medical field. I have researched and solved on my own. I DO NOT have the “typical symptoms”–chalky stool, bright urine, etc.
Dr. Eric says
In most cases it is possible to preserve the gallbladder and not receive surgery. Of course this isn’t always the case, but it sounds like you’re doing all of the right things, and I know if I were in your situation I would also try to do everything I can to avoid gallbladder surgery.
Angela Baxter says
Mine was full of stones, projectile vomiting. I was 20 and not over weight.
How did someone determine estrogen dominance?
monica towers says
My gallbladder was removed after I had my first child at age 36. I was still having lots of heartburn even after she was born. They ran some ultra sounds and told me I had multiple gallstones. I was not having any pain, but they told me I had to have my gallbladder removed 3 months after my C-section. They took my gallbladder out, gave me a bottle full of greenish looking gallstones that looked like buckshot. So, I still have my bottle of gallstones and heartburn, but no gallbladder! I was on acid blockers for more than 10 years which I believe have caused me many health problems. I now have Graves Disease, joint issues and candida to name a few. I have over the past year started taking Digestive Enzymes and Ox Bile which have almost eliminated my heartburn and stomach distress. I take Probiotics 2-3 times a day and Luguols Iodine/Iodide daily and Soloray Adrenal Caps. My diet is much improved, I try to eat at least 3 servings a day fresh raw fruit and veggies like raddish, carotts, kale, apples etc. My breakfast is mostly Ezekiel Toast with Coconut Oil and Himalayan Crystal Salt and Truvia, with an Egglands Best hard boiled egg and raw carrot, raddish and or apple. I drink lots of water and use Cell Food too. It seems since I added Luguols Iodine that my hair started growing back quite a bit. I am 1 year into menopause and stopped my Estrogen/Progesterone, however, my hot flashes have returned, but not as bad as they were prior to using HRT. My diet is not perfect, but compared to my past it’s a drastic change. I would like to deal with my hormonal issue, but I cannot afford bioidentical hormones so I’d like to know if you could write an issue for women that can help guide us. I’ve been wondering about the natural creams, but I get confused.
Thank you for time.
Sincerely, Monica Towers
Dr. Eric says
I’ve written a few articles on my website about estrogen dominance, and I have discussed how I don’t use bioidentical hormones as a first line of treatment for most women. If someone had a complete hysterectomy then it might be a different story, but there are supplements and herbs that can help regulate the HP Axis and increase progesterone output. One of the best herbs for increasing progesterone production is Chaste tree, and there are other supplements and herbs that can help balance the hormones. With that being said, I don’t randomly recommend these, as I would advise any woman to first obtain a hormone panel to see the actual levels.
My gallbladder was removed 7 years ago and I have all the digestive problems doctor Eric mentioned above. Now, as I think of the supplements, what kind of supplements do I need and how often do I have to take it? Thanks!
Dr. Eric says
When someone has had their gallbladder removed I typically will recommend supplements to help break down the fats and thin the bile. I personally use Standard Process products such as Betafood and Cholacol, but I would advise you to consult with a local naturopath or chiropractor so they can put you on a specific protocol to help with digestion.
Hello, I am a 67 year old female, and have had hyperthyroidism for 22 years. I take one Tapazole daily which controls my thyroid. I had an X-ray 5 months ago which showed that I am FULL of gallstones. I did 2 flushes so far with olive oil,with very little success, and within 2 hours, the gallbladder pain returned. A friend of mine had the laser treatment to smash the gallstones and is doing ok, and my sister had her gallbladder out. I don’t know what to do about my gallstone problem. I have been avoiding eggs and fatty foods, and I often eat BEETS. I weigh 98 lbs, and otherwise am in good health, my Blood pressure last week was 109/60 and my glucose is 4.5. Maybe my problem is ESTROGEN DOMINANCE, so how do I correct it???? I am unfamiliar with this problem. My regular doctor is just out of med school, very nice but lacks experience. It’s hard to find a doctor in my area, so I am fortunate to have any doctor at all, –With lots of people their only choice is to go to emergency, if they don’t have a doctor. So how do I correct ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?
Dr. Eric says
Before correcting estrogen dominance, you first need to confirm that you have this condition. And so I would get your hormones tested, specifically estrogen and progesterone, but also would recommend getting the pituitary hormones estrogen and progesterone. I have written some articles on my website that goes into more detail about estrogen dominance, but if this is what you have then I of course would recommend consulting with a holistic doctor to give you the guidance you need.
Christy C says
Hi there, I am a 30 year old athletic and normally healthy female. I have been so stressed the past week or so because I had a gallbladder attack a few days before my period this month as well as some off and on digestive issues and headaches. For 2-3 months this similar stomach issues occurred about a week or two prior to my period.
I got a CT scan and they saw “multiple bilateral ovarian cyst”. I asked the gastrologist if it was cancer and he said NO. But he told me to get an ultrasound anyway, and I will be doing so next week.
I am so scared. I was told they were small in size but I am just worried. Last year I took the morning after pill twice really close together and immediately got an ovarian cyst which ruptured and caused infected fluid to enter into my abdomen. After I was treated with antibiotics everything seemed to be fine. I think my hormones are off but I don’t know yet. I just don’t want the so called “cyst” to be cancer and I am really really freaking out.
Dr. Eric says
Many women have ovarian cysts, and although there is always the risk of cancer, it’s not too common. If you have multiple cysts then there is a chance you have PCOS. Here is an article I’ve written on this:
Thanks so much for the invaluable information.
I have had some issues since a year and a half ago but hasn’t been diagnosed yet.
I realized my body function was deteriorating. I had a lot of symptoms… which couldn’t be tied together by my GP. At the beginning it was more like extreme fatigue, feeling sick, dizziness. I have to point out that I had some pain like heart attack which I didn’t take seriously.
I could feel there were some hormone imbalances in my body as I started to have irregular periods, acne, swollen painful breasts and face hair.
My blood tests showed high prolactin twice (1500 and 850) and the third time completely normal. Other hormones were checked once which were all normal.
I should mention that I started having bone aches and brittle nails in the past 6 months. Plus a lot of other symptoms that could indicate me there is something wrong with my hormones.
I am supposed to have an US scan in a week to check for gallbladder stones.
Do you think one could caused the other? Hormone imbalance and gallbladder stone?
Dr. Eric says
It is possible that hormone imbalances (i.e. estrogen dominance) can lead to bile that is thick and sluggish, and thus increase the chances of someone developing a gallbladder condition. I’m not sure if you have read the following post:
hi have pcos and am very overweight i believeInsulin resistance so ive been on a low carb diet for about 8/9 weeks and have lost 15 kgs, im also on antiandrogens and a few weeks ago i started taking a hormonce balancing supplement all of a sudden i sstarted getting pains in the abdomen so i stopped taking them shortly after then a few days later i ate a meal with quite a bit of fat in it i went to the hospital and was advised i probably have gallstones – im just wondering if u might think that it had anything to do with adding the hormane supplements which were black cosh ( i think , something that mimics estrogen anyways) may have had anything to do with this. and if you think my bad gallbladder health may have lead to pcos – also what would you recommend i do to balance my bile or try to normalize my gallbladder function? i really dont wana have it removed because my hormones are already havoc and i dont wana make this worst , i have heard of having a gallstone flush but also read that you need to address underlying issues otherwise they will come back , i just dont know what the underlying issues are – i must add that my diet in the last 2 months has been extremely healthier compared to the last couple years – i was thinking that maybe my body might be detoxifying itself? i really just dont know
Dr. Eric says
It’s highly unlikely that taking the black cohosh caused the formation of your gallstones, although since there is a relationship between bile metabolism and estrogen it is possible that this in turn is related to your PCOS, which is typically an estrogen dominant condition. If you haven’t done so already I would read the following articles I’ve written:
Hello Dr. Eric,
I wanted to ask you for advice with this since I cannot seem to find any answers anywhere: I am a 31 year old female and have suffered with major digestive issues, mood swings, bloating and pain with my monthly cycle since I was a teenager. I also started taking the pill very early and was on it for 12 years straight, so this may be a factor.
In Spring of 2011, I stopped taking the pill since symptoms were actively getting worse. Shortly after, my immune system plummeted and a year after having gone to every doctor’s office I could find, I was diagnosed with a servere case of candida. I fought it off with supplements and diet, but never found the cause for it. I did, however, continue to have strange issues, including recurring skin, sinus, and urinary tract infections, as well as bloating and pain, every month from ovulation onwards.
A few months ago, I started having a stabbing pain that came and went in my lower right ribcage on top of everything else and was diagnosed with a dyskinetic gallbladder (ejection fraction 17%). I did a lot of my own research and found a connection between low bile flow and candida. So I started self-medicating, using beetroot extract, choline, and taurine, as well as vitamins and minerals. The issues have since gotten better, but they still persist and keep returning.
Now, recently, as I did more research into the causes of my gallbladder dyskinesia, I came across hormones as a culprit and with my symptoms and the pain getting worse once a month with my cycle, it made sense. I did a hormone saliva test with a doctor and a lab in Germany, where my family lives. The lab results showed everything as normal, but the Progesterone levels, which I had expected to be low, were off the charts high, measured at 2140 pg/ml in the luteal phase (one day before ovulation). The normal range during that phase according to the paperwork is 127 to 446 pg/ml. I have not taken any progesterone as a supplement and have no idea how it could have gotten so high. Now, my doctor, not knowing what the cause could be or how to remedy it, has suggested abandoning all of my supplements for the gallbladder and changing my entire diet to reduce the intake of phyto-progesterones and all manner of foods which would elevate progesterone levels. From what I found out so far, that is basically every healthy food out there.
Do you have an idea what may have caused my progesterone levels to be this elevated, and what I can do to bring them back down? Also, what do you think I should do about my gallbladder?
Thank you very much in advance! I greatly appreciate your help!
I have ovarian cyst in right ovary from last 5 years (size 51*46mm). Last year also diagnosed with gallstones (now size 10*12mm). I have been initially taking olive with lemon juice. Later started with apple juice with acv with little irregularities. But there is no change in size of gall stone and they are giving lot of pain and discomfort from last. Acv+apply juice help for some time only.
Please advise if I should look for surgery now or can I still look for natural remedies?
I hope to receive your reply asap.
krishna patel says
I am 33 yrs old and my gallbladder was removed 5 yrs ago and from that time I have digestion issues and mainly feeling of something stuck in my throat. So dr. Put me on PPI. I don’t want to take this PPI forever bcz I kniw its longtem sideeffects.. every month a week before my period starts, I get sweating in night basically on my chest area.. in 2014 dr. Said I have hypo thyroid and they put me on very low dose.. after my 2nd child born in 2016, my thyroid results were normal and dr. Said I need not take any medication.. I am 94lbs only with 5.7 height.. my main issues are reflux and lost weight.. I gets hungry most of the time.. so I don’t understand whats going on.. I have constipation altering diarrea kind of stool too sometime mainly close to my period and during.also, after a week of my period ends, again I get spotting.
Is it related to hormonal issue? Which supplement woukd you recommend?
Dr. Eric says
Krishna, I would highly recommend consulting with a natural healthcare practitioner, as they will do the necessary testing to try to find out the cause of the problem. Obviously your gallbladder can’t be replaced, but the good news is that there are things you can do to support bile metabolism, and there might be other imbalances you have that are contributing to your symptoms.
I got my gallbladder removed 2/08/2018 and in January of that year a month before my gallbladder got removed I started to get vaginal dryness and my estrogen totals were 42 when they were supposed to be 60 minimum for what phase of my cycle it was. My estrogen/dryness problem has only gotten worse, I thought it was the Nexplanon, even after removing it in March 2018 the dryness didn’t resolve. It might be my lack of a gallbladder screwing up my estrogen levels and making them lower then normal. What could I do about this other then eat estrogen mimicking foods (they don’t help any)? Even with my thyroid normal my estrogen is still an annoying problem.