Ways to prevent Gallstones

By  , Expert Content
Jan 15, 2013

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Gallstone is common medical problem which affects men and women over the age of 50. Anyone can develop gallstones but the risk is higher in some people.

Risk factors for gallstones

Some factors which increase the risk of developing gallstones include:

  • sex—women (especially during pregnancy, on hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills)
  • age over age 60
  • race: American Indians, Mexican Americans
  • being overweight or obese (both in men and women)
  • rapid loss of weight
  • prolonged or recurrent fasting
  • family history of gallstones
  • diabetes
  • certain medications such as cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Ways to prevent gallstone

There is no one way to prevent gallstones in everyone and risk factors such as sex, age and race cannot be prevented. But some changes which can decrease your risk of developing gallstones include:

  • changes in diet
  • losing weight (if you are obese).


Diet high in cholesterol probably has a role in formation of gallstones. Hence foods high in cholesterol should be avoided. Some foods that are high in cholesterol include:

  • fried and processed food such as meat pies, sausages
  • butter and lard
  • cakes and biscuits.

Besides this, foods high in fat can precipitate the onset of symptoms.

Experts say that people with gallbladder stones should eat food low in fat, and high in fibre. A healthy diet includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day), whole grains, and low fat dairy products. Some research suggests that eating nuts, such as peanuts or cashew nuts regularly reduces the risk of developing gallstones.

Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. Men should limit alcohol intake to no more than 3-4 units a day and women no more than 2-3 units in a day.

Maintain healthy body weight

Being overweight, and particularly being obese, increases the risk of many diseases including gallstones. Try to maintain healthy body weight by eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise. If you are obese or overweight consult a doctor or certified dietitian to make a diet plan for you. Do any physical activity for about 30 minutes on most days of a week. Avoid rapid weight loss as it can lead to formation of gallstones and precipitate symptoms. Rapid weight-loss diets can cause imbalance in the bile chemistry and thereby increase the risk of developing gallstones. A gradual and well planned weight-loss plan should be adopted. Aim to lose about 0.5 to 1 kilogram in a week

Avoid skipping meals

Eat your meals at regular time each day. Skipping meals or fasting has been observed to increase the risk of gallstones.



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