AARC Health, Jagriti Vihar, Meerut - 250004
Gallstone formation is the most common disorder of the biliary tract. The process of formation of gallstones is called cholelithiasis in modern medicine. Though men and women both suffer from gallstones, their prevalence is much more in middle aged women. Also the people with obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes or genetic predisposition are more prone to suffer from gallstones. Gallstones usually occur in conjunction with cholecystitis which means inflammation of the wall of the gall bladder. Ayurveda refers to gallstones as pittashmari and has offered effective remedial measures against them.
Modern medicine has classified gallstones into three types viz. cholesterol stones, bile pigment stones and mixed stones. Their sizes can vary from few millimeters (like sand granules) to several centimeters (like a golf ball).
Formation of gallstones is caused mainly by congestion and obstruction in the flow of bile. Many factors like food habits, body weight and genetic predisposition undoubtedly play a role in formation of gallstones. Obesity and diabetes often increase cholesterol which in turn leads to cholesterol stone formation. Liver disorders such as fatty liver, cirrhosis and blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia are many times responsible for bile pigment stone formation.
Genetic predisposition and food habits can form stones of any of the three types. Fatty, sweet and non-vegetarian foods are chiefly responsible for causing cholesterol stones, while spicy and fried items can mainly cause bile pigment stones. Combination of these food items can result in the formation of mixed type of stones. Estrogen hormone found in women’s body can increase cholesterol level. It can also decrease the motility of gallbladder causing stagnation of bile leading to stone formation. Hence, hormonal imbalance occurring during or after pregnancy and during or after menopause provides an ideal environment for the formation of gallstones.
According to Ayurveda, all three doshas viz. vata, pitta and kapha play a role in formation of gallstones. Excessive increase of pitta (caused by hot, spicy food, alcohol etc.) creates the basis for stone formation. Kapha increased by fatty, heavy foods mixes with pitta and produces a highly sticky mixture. Vata dries this mixture and moulds it into shape of a stone.
Ayurvedic treatment eliminates the need for surgery by assisting the body to expel the stones naturally. Treatment involves the use of highly effective stone dissolving (lithotriptic) herbal formulae along with herbs to cleanse the liver and restore its function.
Since dietary factors often play a significant role in gallstone formation, following appropriate dietary regimen and lifestyle is of utmost importance. So following rules should be obeyed meticulously to prevent formation of gallstones and also to cure them: