Gallstone Pancreatitis

gallstone-pancreatitisThe leading cause of acute pancreatitis is a gallstone (or stones) that creates an obstruction. Thus the name gallstone pancreatitis. Obstruction occurs when gallstones travel down the common bile duct and get stuck in the Ampulla of Vater creating a blockage in the outflow of pancreatic juices from the pancreas into the duodenum. The backflow of these digestive juices causes lysis (dissolving) of pancreatic cells and subsequent pancreatitis.

The victim goes from unpleasant pain, nausea and possible vomiting due to gallbladder disease to a potentially life threatening situation called acute pancreatitis.

Gallstone Pancreatitis Video

Here’s a short (less than a minute) gallstone pancreatitis video that will show you what happens to cause gallstone pancreatitis. Even though it’s short you’ll quickly get the picture. No pun intended.

This is why, if you are diagnosed with gallstones, it is a good idea to get rid of them but before we get into how to remove gallstones let’s learn about gallstones, what they are and how they form.

What Are Gallstones?

gallstonesGallstones are hard stone-like particles that range in size from a grain of sand to golf balls! They come in two types. The most common are cholesterol stones which are yellowish green in color and consist primarily of cholesterol. Approximately 80% of the stones seen in the U.S. are cholesterol stones. Pigment stones are dark and made of bilirubin.

Gallstone Causes

Gallstone PancreatitisWHAT causes gallstones anyway? Why do they form? Bile imbalances. If your bile substances are out of whack  you could soon have a gallstone or two hanging out in your gall bladder. Scientists do not fully understand why these imbalances occur but gallstones may form if bile contains too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin, or not enough bile salts. Gallstones may also form if the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough. If you are white, female, fat and over 40 your chances of having gallstones increases dramatically.

Gallstone Symptoms VS Gallstone Pancreatitis

pancreatitisThe symptoms of gallstones can vary depending upon circumstances. Many people who have gallstones present with no symptoms. Often these people with asymptomatic gallstones are found to have gallstones due to having abdominal scans such as CT scans or ultrasound for other reasons.

Those who present with symptoms often have upper right quadrant pain, nausea, vomiting or fever. Some have jaundice.  Symptoms arise when a gallstone blocks the flow of bile out of the gallbladder or through the bile ducts. A gallstone in the common bile duct is called choledocholithiasis and may cause intermittent or constant discomfort. The pain of choledocholithiasis is usually localized in the upper abdomen, and can radiate (be felt in another location) in the right shoulder, may last from 30 minutes to hours, and be associated with sweating, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of skin and or eyes). Gallstone attacks can produce chest pain that may feel like a heart attack. If a pain is new and different than other pains the symptoms should be discussed with a physician.

An inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis), infected material trapped within the common bile duct (cholangitis), or a stone blocking outflow of pancreatic juice (gallstone pancreatitis) can result in fever, chills, severe abdominal pain or jaundice. Individuals with these complaints should have an urgent evaluation by a physician.

Symptoms of gallstone disease can, especially if infection is present (cholecystitis), closely resemble gallstone pancreatitis. Cholecystitis can become life threatening due to complications. Like pancreatitis it isn’t something to take lightly. There are subtle differences in symptoms between the two. For example moderate to severe right upper quadrant pain that can be felt in the right shoulder versus gallstone pancreatitis which usually presents with a quick onset of moderate to most often severe, constant abdominal pain located dead center under the rib cage or in the left upper quadrant when the tail of the pancreas is involved. Acute pancreatitis can also present with upper right quadrant pain when the head of the pancreas is damaged. The pain often penetrates to the back, gets worse with laying down and can last for days. Read what patients say about pancreatitis symptoms and experience.

45% Of Severe Acute Pancreatitis Is Caused By Gallstones

Gallstone pancreatitis can manifest as either mild or severe. Mild gallstone pancreatits is no picinic however severe acute pancreatitis can kill you and encompasses about 25 % of acute pancreatitis cases. The most common cause of severe acute pancreatitis is gallstone pancreatitis (pancreatitis caused by gallstones). In one study of 204 patients with sever acute necrotizing pancreatitis 45% of those with NP (necrotizing pancreatitis) had gallstone pancreatitis. Learn more here.

For those interested in learning about severe acute pancreatitis this video expalins SAP.

Gallstone Remedies?

There are only a few of ways to remove gallstones. One way is surgically (open, laparoscopic, endoscopic). The other ways are what might be termed as gallstone natural remedies. I know the invasive forms (surgical) seem to work. The efficacy of natural remedies for removing gallstones seems to be a crap shoot.

Endoscopic Treatment

Endoscopic therapy has emerged as an alternative to surgery for the subset of patients with acute recurrent pancreatitis whose disease is due to gallstones or other mechanical processes that obstruct the outflow of the pancreas. Endoscopic procedures can cause anxiety, carry a risk of bleeding, perforation, and pancreatitis. The risks, benefits, and other treatment options need to be considered.

Cholecystectomy

gallbladder-surgeryOne way is to surgically remove the gallbladder. All surgeries (open, laparoscopic) carry risk and of course unpleasant side effects, from the surgery itself or the anesthesia. The mortality rate for cholecystectomy is usually low (2% or less) but can be as high as 19%  in ill elderly patients.

My own father died on the table during a cholecystectomy (gallbladder surgery). Granted there were some complications which increase the risk of death from cholecystectomy. He had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and his system was already compromised due to previous treatments (surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation etc).  They resuscitated my father but he suffered brain damage that he never quite recovered from before he died about one year later.

Gallbladder Flush

gallbladder-flushAnother way, supposedly, to rid the gallbladder of stones is via a flush. I personally know little about liver, kidney or gallbladder flushes except that they sound unpleasant at best and potentially dangerous at worst, especially for someone already diagnosed with Pancreatitis.

Promoters of flushes say that flushing gallstones isn’t like passing them normally and supposedly doesn’t carry the risk of obstructing the common bile duct thereby causing gall stone pancreatitis but I personally don’t have their confidence.

I have read where chemists have indicated that the passing of gallstones, using a flush, may not be actual stones but instead are small lumps of what is basically soap? From what I understand the combination of oil, lemon juice and epsom salts produces a soap like formation that may look like someone is passing a soft stone but is actually passing a lump of soap. Just so you don’t think I’m a complete idiot here is what The Lancet has to say on the subject.

If anyone reading this blog has concrete evidence, such as actually smashing the so-called stone with a fork (for example) to in fact determine its consistency and can actually testify as to the efficacy and safety of doing a gallbladder flush I’d like to hear it in the comment section.

Chanca Piedra (chancapiedra)

Supposedly chanca piedra or chancapiedra is another wonder of the Amazon and remedies conditions from tumors to the common hangnail. It supposedly breaks up gallstones and kidney stones and is known as “stonebreaker.” However I can find NOTHING scientific that remotely suggests that chanca piedra works on gallstones or kidney stones or much of anything. Some actual scientific evidence would be helpful.

I’d like to know if there is any truth behind the usage of chanca piedra in order to dissolve gallstones. I have found some intriguing testimony for chanca piedra from those who sell it but I am always looking for more from those who use it. Here are some Chanca Piedra Reviews From Verified Purchasers

I have done some research and have found some interesting information in regards to both but since I have no reason to actually do a flush or try chanca piedra it could prove valuable, to those with gallstones, to hear from those who have successfully used either remedy.

This article has 24 Comments

  1. Hi.Here are the latest news from me.I was in 7 hospitals with AP until in last one the doctor understood that my pancreatitis was caused by gallstones.He made ERCP and cut the sphincter of ODDI.I was pain free for two months but now I have severe pains in my abdominal.I made medical exams and everthing is normal including my amylase. The CT scan shows no problems with pancreas.But I still have a lot of pain in my abdominal.Doctor said that pain is from my gallbladder and he will remove it next week.But I am still afraid that pain is from pancreas.What do you think-is it possible CT scan to show no damage and my medical exams to be fine but the pain to come from pancreas? Unfortunately when I take GSE I cant tolerate it-I have awful nausea and vomoting and my blood pressure is very low.But GSE helps me excellent with pain.I cant take curcumin as well because of problems with SOD and gallstones.I am so desperate-the cure GSE is so close but I cant use it.What is your advice-what shall I do?

    1. Miroslav I can’t tell you what to do. Yes, your pancreas could be inflamed, especially since you have SOD. The grape seed extract causes you to have nausea, vomiting and low blood pressure? I’ve heard of some folks having problems that’s why I warn people of the “cleansing effect” and to start out slowly with 100 mgs daily and working up to higher doses that work for them but if you are one of the folks who just can’t take it or curcumin because of SOD you might want to try grapefruit juice – IF – you aren’t taking medications that could interact with it. So be sure to check with your doc AND pharmacist BEFORE you use grapefruit juice or grapefruit seed extract.

      Ibuprofen, 800 mgs usually knocks out pancreas inflammation. If it’s your gallbladder that is inflamed it will probably help that too. If it were me I’d be taking the Ibuprofen and when the inflammation subsided start drinking a lot of grapefruit juice. If I couldn’t take those I’d be doing some research to find something else to eliminate the inflammation. Good luck 🙂

  2. Hi Paul:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to make this website and to share your story. I wanted your advice. I have been through hell and back since March 2014 in which I had a horrible attack in the middle of the night. I was sweating, had a fever, vomiting, had excruciating pain in my chest that felt like a heart attack. I have had my gallbladder removed about 4 years ago. This pain sent me to hospital by ambulance. Tests were done and showed my liver was enlarged and my enyzemes were through the roof. I also had a white blood cell count of 19000. They gave my heavy duty antibiotics along with morphine, told me I had some type of infection, kept me 2 days and sent me home. Not a damn answer WTF happened to me. I have had numerous blood test, MRCP, CT scan, HIDA scan, and as of yesterday an Endoscopic ultrasound. Said i could have retained stones from my gallbladder, or maybe i passed one back in March. Every test comes back empty. I have pain every single day, right in the same spot on my right side into my back, now it radiates under my rib cage to my left side. I cant even sleep on my right side. I have been reading about the pancreas and how difficult diagnosis can be. The damn doctor yesterday said to me he cant explain my pain but wants to put me on meds for pain and pain management clinic. WTF, shouldn’t they find out what is wrong before doing that. He said my pancreas looked like out of a text book!?! I am worried that the pain I feel is from my pancreas, since I read that some of my symptoms back in March sounds like a pancreatic attack. I think I have been misdiagnosed and could use your opinion. God bless you and hope you are in good health.

    Take care,

    Lora

    1. Hi Lora sorry to hear you are feeling poorly. I know it sucks. Your liver was enlarged and enzymes through the roof, which enzymes? Liver or pancreatic? Has anyone checked to see if you might have scar tissue buildup in your Sphincter of Oddi which may be causing SOD. It’s just a thought because most of your pain seems to be right sided, like you can’t sleep on it and SOD seems to be more common in those who have had gallstones and/or have had their gallbladder removed. If it is a class 1 or 11 the endoscopic ultrasound should have shown some indication but if class 111, not so much. SOD can and does cause acute pancreatitis.

      1. hi Paul

        thanks so much for getting back to me. They told me prior to my test past Monday that they would look for sod but the doc said he can’t see any reason for my pain. As far as class goes I don’t know. this doc looked happy to pass me along. it was my liver enzymes that were high. I am trying to contact my surgeon who removed my gb. I have nowhere else to turn but wait to end up back in the er. Sometimes feel like they think I am making up all this crap. Thanks for your time in answering me.

        1. You are welcome Lora. Sorry I’m not more help. It surely can be frustrating at time. Liver enzymes can be elevated for quite a number of reasons, including GB disease, pancreatitis and a host of others. Hang in there and good luck 🙂

  3. The Chanca Piedra works.
    Here is a link with some data that has been gathered on it: http://www.rain-tree.com/chanca-techreport.pdf

    I have gallstones. I received 100ml Chanca Piedra tincture (1:1, glycerin) yesterday. I began taking 2ml per dose (5 times yesterday and again, 5 doses today) – followed by a glass of room temp, filtered water.

    Tonight, I passed one walnut sized stone (greenish yellow) – and one very large – flattish but about 2.5+cm thick – circumference about the size of an orange; it was the shape of part of the gallbladder). I was astounded when I saw it!

    Immediate relief, though I can still feel more stones, so will continue taking it until the gallbladder is clear and I’m symptom free.

    I have done liver flushes over the years, but I have learned by experience, that one flush doesn’t completely clear all stones. Mine have been cumulative and never before have I experienced passing such a large one as described above. Generally, I’ve passed soap stones in the past – but these today were starting to crystalize and harden into actual stones. I’m glad I took the decision to try the Chanca Piedra and am extremely optimistic that the rest of the stones will break up and pass in due course.

    You may have your doubts about the effectiveness of Chanca Piedra – but I have satisfied my own clinical curiosity by virtue of having gallstones and opting to treat myself with it. In short; it works! (I’m a qualified Homeopath, incidentally).

    1. Incidentally, I had an episode 3 weeks ago (following a liver flush) of pancreatitis. The central duct became blocked by a stone I had passed during the flush (a first for me). Needless to say it was incredibly painful – and dangerous. I knew what to do to deal with it – and I knew what signs to watch for carefully should I have needed to go to ER. Thankfully, the measures I took that night enabled the stone to pass, unblocking the duct. But frankly, in future, because of my experience with the Chanca Piedra – I feel it’s much safer that the stones start to break up, enabling them to pass without much risk. (Chanca Piedra also seems to work much like Mag. in that it relaxes).

      1. Yep Lisa – I had bad feelings about flushes especially for those who had already suffered damage from AP because that much olive oil could kill us and there is always the risk of a stone becoming stuck – you are proof! By the way …

        What did you use to dislodge the Gstone?

        1. Generally, if one prepares for a few weeks, by eating a specific diet, the gallstones (and soap stones) will start to soften and break up. THEN a liver flush is safer to do. I always always use epsom salts. However, most people just dive straight into the liver flush -without preparing (impatience!) and this can create a dangerous situation.

          To dislodge the gallstone here is what I did. However, keep in mind – I had it in my mind that I might have to go to ER. This worked for me – but it is in NO WAY advice for anyone else (as each case is unique):

          I felt a gradually building, burning type of pain in my pancreas. My abdomen was grossly distended quite suddenly. Immediately, I knew why the pain had shifted to the left – and was so intense. I did some pranayama (yoga breathing), which helped a bit. Then I massaged beginning by sort of digging my fingers up under the right rib cage, moving in short, gentle circles across to just under my sternum — then pressed in rather firm strokes straight down (which would be over the central duct – where the pain was) from beneath the sternum down to the navel. I repeated this many times times. It was tender and painful – but i knew it had to be done. I felt a sharp, distinct pain on one of the downward ‘strokes’.

          Within another minute or so, I then took about 3 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar, followed by some water. A few minutes later, I took 1 tsp of Epsom salts in water – followed by another 4oz or so of water. I continued the pranayama (breathing in and out rhythmically thru my nostrils only), and noticed the burning pain was lessening, but not gone. Then I laid down and continued the breathing and massage. The pain passed away from the pancreas in about half an hour and all was well.

          I remember feeling a sort of ‘pop’ at one point (while in bed, continuing the massage and breathing), and I wondered if that was the stone dislodging (I think it was!).

          I passed a few stones after a coffee enema a couple of days later. Several were almond sized along with some ‘gravel’…

          Realising my gallbladder was full of stones…and of course, because I had been eating in a way to facilitate breaking up the stones – I knew more were trying to come out. So, I continued drinking apple cider vinegar daily – and my diet consisted mostly of lentil soup – and greens smoothies.

          Then a few days ago, I ordered the Chanca Piedra….realising my gallbladder was full.

          1. Lisa – cool thank you – that should give readers with Gstones at least an idea what can be done to dislodge a stone because I KNW the ER wouldn’t do anything they’d just watch you get worse. I had read where apple juice, apples etc help soften stones so they can pass easier. Epson salts can become poisonous in high does like are used for flushes so that bothered me about flushes plus like I said people with pancreatitis damage could have a bad AP attack due to the olive oil anyway … good info, thank you 🙂

          2. I have never had a problem (nor any of my patients) with the small amounts of magnesium used during liver flushes. I would never recommend a liver flush without the magnesium (and most people are deficient in magnesium to boot!).

            I’ve never had a problem with the olive oil either (myself, or patients).

            Liver flushing is goo, however, preparation is key along with following careful instructions. Unfortunately, a lot of people take shortcuts because they are impatient.

    2. Hi Lisa – hey THANK YOU! THAT is the most and best quality info I’ve seen on the “stone breaker” Chanca Piedra. AWESOME! And you have used it with great results, even better. The ONLY doubts I had came from so little info that wasn’t hooked up with someone trying to sell a case of $50 bottles. Thanks again cuz I think I had asked for info from anyone who had used the stuff. GOOD info for those who have gallstones and don’t want them. The ONLY thing now that concerns me is the chance of AP due to a stone passing, even sludge can cause AP. But since you have used the stuff and are a qualified homeopath, please keep us posted about your results. I’m serious. I am ALWAYS interested in remedies that don’t involve surgery. I imagine those who actually have gallstones may be as well. 🙂

      1. I’m still in the process of moving stones out of my gallbladder. Today is day 4 of taking Chanca Piedra (as described in my initial post above). Day 3 was good; I felt energy – and no pain. I even felt true hunger (appetite returning). My tongue was clear and my bowels moved normally (previously sluggish). All good signs.

        However, last night (end of Day 3), after a meal I had eaten about 2 or 3 hours before, I could feel yet another large stone trying to move out of the gallbladder. This was accompanied by the typical distinct pain (in back/under shoulder blade) and tenderness in the abdomen. When I palpated – there was a sharpish pain around the neck of the gallbladder – and along the central duct.

        I suspect I have actual stones that are now softening and breaking loose from each other – as well as from the wall of the gallbladder. I massaged as described above – took another dose of Chanca Piedra. I also applied the hot pack to my abdomen and did the pranayama breathing. It wasn’t an easy night, but the Chanca and the heat pack helped ease the pain.

        I did finally sleep some. I feel tired today – but am in no pain.
        Today I will continue dosing with Chanca Piedra – drinking plenty of water, AND follow up with another coffee enema – as I don’t want the stones sitting in my bowel for too long. (I will post follow ups in case it’s helpful to anyone).

        Keep in mind, I am experimenting on myself – and so far, I’m very impressed with the Chanca Piedra. I was surprised by the pain I had last night. However, I’m 51 years old – and like I said above, I suspect being my age, I had more stones tightly packed in the gallbladder than I perhaps anticipated initially. So it’s interesting to observe the whole process.

        For anyone interested – I’m taking the same dose previously mentioned in my initial post.

        1. p.s. apologies – I meant to include, that I felt another 2 ‘pops’ when massaging last night……
          I felt a ‘pop’ at the neck of the gallbladder and instantly the pain subsided there. I suspect that was a stone passing through the neck of the gallbladder.
          A short while later, while continuing massage down the central duct area, I felt another pop. I suspect that’s when it spilled into the bowel because that’s when the pain eased off in my whole abdomen, allowing me to finally sleep.

          Mind you, I was acutely focused, paying attention to the pain and sensations.

          Still have tenderness on palpation – but no pain today.

          1. Thanks again Lisa – say would you mind IF I copied and pasted your whole ordeal and what you did into a regular blog post? I may like to do that so that people with Gstones have the info if they want it. It’s your story so I’m asking for that reason.

          2. I don’t mind, but I prefer to wait until I’ve finished dosing with the Chanca Piedra. I want to see how my case continues to unfold and resolve. Also, it’s better to present a case from start to finish – wouldn’t you agree?

            (Btw, one gallstone about the size of an almond was passed today after doing a coffee enema. I suspect what I felt last night will be a larger stone or a mass of sludge and it hasn’t come through yet. Will do another coffee enema tomorrow.)

            I will keep notes, and provide it all to you once my case is reaching the finish line. You have my email – so feel free to email me if you want. 🙂

  4. Hi HG,

    Well I had my Hida scan last Wednesday (in a machine for 2.5 hours whilst pictures were taken) the Nurse and technician performing the test said my gall bladder is inflamed and I have sludge. I did have the bacon and eggs for breakfast plus 3 glasses of full cream milk midway test to get my gall bladder doing its thing so they could take photographs of it. Very risky I know but I figured I needed to know if it’s my pancreas or gallbladder that is the problem. Keeping in mind my pancreas scans are normal and my amylase & lipase levels etc are always normal.

    This has been going on since February & I need a diagnosis. So basically what I know is the fat makes me nauseas and sore but not extremely ill like the first few attacks. So maybe now my specialist can pinpoint my gall bladder and I can have it out and problem is solved.

    Wish me luck. I need it to convince these bloody Drs I’m not okay and I can’t continue living like this. Now only 108 pounds. If I get really sick again I hate to think what will happen.

  5. I have multiple mobile gallstones, diagnosed via ultrasound. Have used chanca piedra tea for a month, had to go to emergency due to increasing pain and NO difference in size or amount. My symptoms increase despite all the herbal remedies and things I have tried. So hasnt worked for me. All I have read on the flush, it appears fake and dangerous, so thats the only thing I am not prepared to do with large stones, so surgery is looking likely for me.

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