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Gallstones - Prevention

There is no sure way to prevent gallstones. But you can reduce your risk of forming gallstones that can cause symptoms.

Maintain a healthy weight

Stay close to a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, do so slowly and sensibly. When you lose weight by dieting and then you gain weight back again, you increase your risk for gallstones, especially if you are a woman. If you diet, aim for a weight loss of only 1 lb (0.5 kg) to 1.5 lb (0.7 kg) a week. For more information, see the topic Weight Management.

Eat regular, balanced meals

Try not to skip meals. Eat on a regular schedule. And eat meals that contain some fat (which causes the gallbladder to empty). This can help prevent gallstones. Eat plenty of whole grains and fiber. And be sure to often have servings of foods that contain calcium (milk products and green, leafy vegetables). Limit saturated (animal) fat and foods high in cholesterol.

Exercise regularly

If you exercise more, you may be able to reduce your risk for gallstones. Along with eating a low-fat diet, exercise is also an effective way to help you stay close to a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Deciding whether to take estrogen

Some evidence shows that taking hormones such as estrogen after menopause or taking high-dose birth control pills may increase a woman's risk of gallstones that cause symptoms. If you are taking such hormones, talk with your doctor.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 15, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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