The gall-bladder is a thin-walled pouch situated on the under-surface of the liver. The liver secretes bile, which is concentrated and stored in the gall-bladder, when not required for digestion. Gallstone is the commonest disease of the gall-bladder. The incidence of gallstones is higher in women, being present in at least 20 percent of women over the age of 40 years.
Gallstones associated with attacks of severe pain or jaundice are to be treated by surgery. The mere presence of asymptomatic gallstones in the elderly, however, is not an indication for surgery. Dietetic management is necessary to prevent gallstone formation.
It is noticed that gallstones are prevalent among those communities consuming significantly more calories (gallstones being one of the many complications of obesity). The minimum number of calories to maintain normal body weight is therefore advised. Since carbohydrates contribute to excess calories, a high-carbohydrate diet should be avoided. Higher protein intake also increases biliary cholesterol concentration. A moderate protein intake is recommended. An effort should be made to maintain an ideal body weight according to the height and age.
Symptoms of bloating (gas), belching and indigestion usually ascribed to gallstones are normally due to the intolerance of fatty foods. For people in whom fats do not produce symptoms, refined vegetable oils are advised. Fried foods are to be excluded, as they would always produce discomfort.