Gallstones affect more women than men every year.
A gallstone attack is no laughing matter. Gallstone attacks are twice as likely to affect men as women, and factors that can increase the likelihood of an attack are excess weight, pregnancy, birth control pills, diabetes, or hormone replacement therapy, which are all things that often affect women. So if you are a woman reading this, you should probably keep reading and educate yourself to prevent a potentially painful surgery, or other complications.
Gallstones happen when the bile in your liver, the organ which stores bile to be used later in digestion, crystallizes and hardens. This creates gallstones, which can come in a variety of sizes, and block the exit to the gallbladder causing inflammation and spasm. This can lead to an infection of the gallbladder and surgery, so its something to be wary of.
It isn’t uncommon for a woman to have gallstones, and most of them will pass naturally on their own, or cause very minor problems. When the stones disrupt the flow of bile, inflammation nausea, vomiting, sweating, and pain on the rise side of the body below the ribs can occur. More serious symptoms of a larger infection can include fever and chills, or jaundice. Gallstones are thought to be caused by cholesterol, so fatty foods or full-dairy can sometimes bring on an attack. If you suspect you may have gallstones, your doctor can order a CT scan or abdominal ultrasound to test for the problem.
READ MORE: Five Superfoods For Better Heart Health
The best way to avoid gallstone surgery however, is to never have a gallbladder attack in the first place. Besides eating low-fat, low-cholesterol, heart-healthy, and fiber-filled foods (which is a given anyway), here are a few ways you avoid the development of gallstones.
Take a vitamin C supplement, as a study in 2009 found that regular vitamin C could help deter gallstone formation.
Eat more nuts, because a 2004 study reported that a single handful of nuts during a meal could decrease your risk of gallstones.
Drink more coffee, because a study conducted in 2000 found that coffee had a positive impact on women who previously had gallbladder issues.
Take a magnesium supplement, or eat lots of fruits and veggies, as a magnesium deficiency can increase your risk of gallstones.
Also, exercise every day, obviously.