The Epidemic of Gall Bladder Disease

Lets just jump to the main recommendation: reduce your estrogen dominance and eat more fiber.  As a pharmacist I see the problem of gall bladder issues A LOT.  Every day it seems there is someone out there waiting for an appointment with the specialist to further evaluate the problem.  The symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness under the rib cage on the right side
  • Pain between shoulder blades
  • Stools light or chalky colored
  • Fatty stools
  • Indigestion after eating, especially fatty or greasy foods
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Burping or belching
  • Feeling of fullness or food not digesting
  • Diarrhea (or alternating from soft to watery)
  • Constipation or frequent use of laxatives
  • Headache over eyes, especially right
  • Bitter fluid comes up after eating
  • Constipation or frequent use of laxatives

Unfortunately the stress of experiencing gall bladder issues is intensified when the patient thinks they are having a heart attack.  Of course it is important to determine that this is not happening so close investigation of the symptoms and pattern are important as is followup with your doctor.

So why reduction of estrogen dominance so key in dealing with your gall bladder and what is estrogen dominance anyway.  While we’re at it, what is the gall bladder for in the first place?  The gall bladder is a small thumb sized hollow organ located under the liver.  It’s main job is the storage of bile or gall which is produced in the liver.  In response to a fat containing meal, the gall bladder releases bile into the intestines and with the help of pancreatic enzymes, emulsifies the fat for absorption into the bloodstream.  This is quite a simplified description but basically this is what this organ does.

It takes just a simple understanding of plumbing to understand what causes a gall bladder to act up: constricted flow and thickened secretion.  What causes the flow to constrict?  Well it turns out that estrogen dominance, a common topic of discussion with me results in a constriction of the Sphincter of Oddi, which controls the flow of bile out of the gall bladder.  Estrogen dominance is an imbalance between the amount of estrogen compared to progesterone in your body, and just in case you’re a guy and think this doesn’t apply to you, the truth is you most likely have estrogen dominance as well.  How do you know if you have it?  Well for men,

  • Prostate enlargement – benign prostate hyperplasia / hypertrophy (BPH) and the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Urination – difficulty, increased frequency. Constricted urethra.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Low libido.
  • Fatigue.
  • Depression.
  • Adiposity (fat build-up) and the redistribution of fat. Estrogen stimulates the production of fat cells. However, fat cells also make a small amount of estrogen, causing a vicious cycle.
  • Muscle development reduced.
  • Body hair reduced.
  • Veins become less prominent.
  • Balding.
  • Breast growth (man boobs).
  • Sweat and body odour changes.
  • Skin thinning.

Estrogen dominance in women,

  • Mood swings, depression, irritability, anger, forgetfulness, inability to focus thoughts, panic attacks.
  • Aches and pains, sore bones.
  • Disrupted periods. Early, late, high/low blood flow.
  • Low energy.
  • Weight gain. Fat tends to deposit around the hips, abdomen, and thighs. Estrogen stimulates the production of fat cells. However, fat cells also make estrogen and so a vicious cycle starts.
  • Low libido.
  • Malaise.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Decreased thyroid function (low body temperature and sometimes thinning hair).
  • Fluid / salt retention, bloating (oedema) or weight gain due to fluid retention.
  • Weak bladder control.
  • Bruising.
  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fibromas (fibroid tumours).
  • Heart palpitations, chest pains.
  • Food cravings.
  • Insulin resistance / poor blood sugar control / hypoglycaemia.
  • Insomnia.
  • Blood clotting, reduced blood vessel tone.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Breasts. Cyclical breast tenderness – tender or painful, feeling fuller or swollen, particularly in the pre-menstrual week. Use of progesterone cream on days 12 -26 of the menstrual cycle will balance the estrogen dominance. It usually takes three months of use to cure this problem.
  • Cancer – increased risk of endometrial or breast cancer.
  • Fibrocystic breast disease. Non-cancerous changes and lumps in the breast tissue. They can cause discomfort, varying in relation to hormonal influences from the menstrual cycle. Fibrocystic breast disease affects 30-60% of women.

These are pretty typical symptoms but they often go hand in hand with gall bladder inflammation.  So how to you treat this estrogen dominance and allow your progesterone to relax the sphincter that may be causing the gall bladder associated pain?  Well it turns out progesterone cream is perfect for both men and women. Also effective is zinc which blocks the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in both men and women.  Lowering the fat content in your body will help also as this is the main source for this conversion.  Other things can help like avoiding external sources of estrogen, or xenoestrogens in the environment that act like estrogen when introduced to your body.  These include herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, plastic drinking bottles,  and heavy metals.  Eating organic food and using organic products in the home can help with the avoidance of such ingredients.  Supplements like Calcium-d-Glucarate, DIM and I3C also help to lower estrogen dominance symptoms as does exercise.  Another great way to lower estrogen dominance is through the use of fiber.  Fiber not only helps with gall bladder discomfort by decreasing estrogen and therefore estrogen dominance, it also helps to prevent the recirculation of cholesterol that is used in bile production.

A big problem with ongoing bile problems is the production of biliary sludge, a noticeable thickening of the bile with crystals of cholesterol monohydrate crystals and calcium bilirubinate granules.  These can come together to form gallstones but even without that action the thickened bile makes for restricted flow of the bile through the bile duct.  This is reminiscent of what happens in a sinus infection, thickening secretions obstruct flow and increased bacteria (in the case of the gall bladder, E.Coli, Klebsiella and enterococcus) result causing inflammation.  There is a close relationship between the gall bladder and the bacteria in the intestines and these bacteria can work there way backward to the gall bladder when the Sphincter of Oddi is relaxed, but the “precipitating” factor is the sludge production.

Try reducing estrogen dominance and above all increase your fiber.  These will help with many more issues than just gall bladder.  Food sensitivities also can increase the incidence of gall bladder attacks so finding the offending agent with the appropriate test can help tremendously.





32 responses to “The Epidemic of Gall Bladder Disease”

  1. martha hart Avatar
    martha hart

    A very well written article.Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Lisa Bradley Avatar
    Lisa Bradley

    You nailed it Mr. MacKenzie! I have every single symptom of estrogen dominance. I had a gyn put me on estrogen and as soon as I go off of it during my cycle the gall bladder discomfort starts. I guess I will just suffer through two weeks of every month, but at least now I understand what’s going on.
    Lisa Bradley

  3. Lisa Bradley Avatar
    Lisa Bradley

    *progesterone not estrogen. Thanks to autocorrect.

  4. Kamran Yousaf Avatar
    Kamran Yousaf

    I am almost having all of these symptoms, how to test and possible treatments?
    Thanks and regards,
    Kamran Yousaf

  5. Nina Banks Avatar
    Nina Banks

    I have some of these symptoms and a dyskinetic gallbladder (contracts only at 17%), but I just came back from the doctor’s office with a diagnosis of way too much progesterone. Measured in the luteal phase, estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA were normal, cortisol was high but still within range, but progesterone was measured at 2140pg/ml (with normal range being between 127 and 446pg/ml). I have never supplemented with progesterone, so I have no idea where this comes from. I was wondering what your opinion would be on this and what you think I should do. My doctor has no idea other than to cut out phyto-progesterones and foods containing large amounts of it, which basically covers most healthy, whole foods for me.
    Thank you very much in advance for your help!

    1. Graham MacKenzie Avatar

      Hey Nina, perhaps give me a call at the pharmacy and we can go over this.

  6. Steve Avatar

    I had four attacks in two months. This Thursday, it’s scheduled to come out. So many of the symptoms listed, I have. It’s amazing because I’ve been dealing with some of this for close to 4 years. It’s a relief to read and find out about. Basically we are poisoning our bodies because of it. I had some othe complications I’ll tell you about after my surgery. Hopefully, it’s all related and not what the blood work had suggested it was. My surgeon is 95 percent sure, but I’ll wait till he gives me the good news ?

  7. Gitika Masand Avatar
    Gitika Masand

    I am so glad to find this blog. I think I am going through gall bladder issues coz I could relate to every symptom.

  8. Trisha Avatar

    If only my GP was as good as you. I had all the systems above, esp thining hair my doc told me to lose weight.. so I did and ended up in A&E one after with a stone stuck in my bile duct. Blog is great. I will be getting my gallbladder out in 3wks

  9. Jonathon Avatar

    will the symptoms usually go away after the gallbladder is removed. I have had the pain and some of the symptoms (not the low libido or sex drive) but I am supposed to be having my gallbladder removed at the end of the month. I hope it gives relief.

  10. Syanga Mushi Avatar
    Syanga Mushi

    I am experiencing all the mentioned symptoms and suffered for so many years now treatment please advise

  11. Debi Avatar

    My daughter has been experiencing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea for 2 weeks. She was seen in ER and ultrasound showed Gallstones. She is 18 and normal weight. She has been on Nexplanon for 2 years. Do you think this could contribute to the forming of the stones?

  12. Adele Potter Avatar
    Adele Potter

    This has been very insightful. I had no idea about estrogene dominance .
    I had my gallbladder removed 18 months ago.

  13. Lee Stevenson Avatar

    Great article, very good information. What you described also describes the symptoms of high glyphosate or glufosinate levels. Eating organic may prevent this. Those are not used on organic foods.

  14. Kat Avatar

    I have problems only days 12-26 of my cycle to the exact time this suggests but any progesterone supplement, yes, progesterone makes it 10x worse. The pain is so debilitating I can’t move or stand already and with progesterone supplements I become bes ridden. Any suggestions? I’m pretty sure the gallbladder bile balance and possibly a stone is causing constipation… I have very few symptoms of estrogen dominance. However days 12-26 is typically when progesterone peaks, so I’m confused at the timeline given for the female cycle here.

    1. Kat Avatar

      *also, constipation is far from the only issue. My pains start without that.

      And yes, I do eat a high fiber low fat diet. I’m a vegetarian, eat mostly fiber on purpose. It has never helped or changed anything…

      1. Kat Avatar

        Hi Kat – I’m having the same problem with increased progesterone from a natural supplement I’ve been taking 🙁 They can’t find stones or anything but I’m 100% convinced the progesterone effects the gallbladder motility! I’ve stopped taking anything that will effect my progesterone levels now and hoping so much that when the progesterone drops back down to normal level – things will get better ! .. how are you feeling and what do you think??

  15. Gallbladder Stones Avatar

    I like this idea “Lets just jump to the main recommendation: reduce your estrogen dominance and eat more fiber. “

  16. Alan Avatar

    Great reading. I’m over it all, sick to death of life without a gallbladder. I had urgent surgery two years ago in Bangkok to remove a very dangerously infected gallbladder. I have a huge tolerance for pain having to live with a body that is very secondhand due to sports injuries. I also have strong medication for this pain so when my gallbladder packed up I just kept increasing my meds until finally infection was setting in and it was either hospital or I knew I was going to die. I never had a chance to ask if we could attempt antibiotics first or ask what side effects would result from the operation. I’m reading through here and thinking you all gals, where are the guys, ok there is the odd one. Now I’m a 60 year old male who has a beautiful wife 20 years my junior. Surgery went well but immediately after my sex drive which was probably above normal before had gone. I can still get and keep erection and have good sex but I haven’t the libido, I do it for my wife. I use Viagra not because I need to but with no sex drive it just makes it easier. I’m in no doubt the gallbladder is connected somehow with release of hormones (obviously a different hormone to you ladies for me) but I can 100% guarantee it was nothing to do with oviaries in my case as I have seen a few of you point the finger at. Other issues I’ve had are I put pn about 10kg over two years. Now I understand the diet I need a little better and added a little more exercise to my routine (had to as sexercise has greatly decreased) I seem to have my weight under control and lost about 6kg of the 10kg I had put on. I still need to play with my diet as I don’t think I’m getting the full intake of vitamins I need. I think I will add ox blood capsules to my diet and have been looking at pancrelipase but hoping I don’t need something that extreme. I’m tired, I’m grumpy and totally over it. I’m so greatful for medical weed, it doesn’t fix the problem but it sure helps me relax. A major issue is my doctor. Love him to bits and would never change but when I told him I had lost my libido after my gallbladder removal he assured me the gallbladder had nothing to do with it. Another time I asked if I could get my testosterone levels checked and he just brushed around this. I will be asking again on my next visit if I can see a specialist as I’m in no doubt I need a tune-up to correct issues caused by this surgery. I’m worried about putting a strain on other organs also. Is my liver doing more work? Is my pancreas working harder? If so how can I help them. I gave alcohol up totally for 9 months up until April when I traveled to Thailand. Felt great and even though I’ve noticed no ill effects from drinking I am going to stop drinking beer which is daily at present. I will still have a red wine with my evening meal and if I want to drink socially will stick to one or two fat and sugar free Jameson’s and ice. Probably should give drinking booze up totally but even though I found stopping for 9 months not hard a lifetime would be different. In New Zealand so many of the community events, no nearly all the community events have alcohol. I don’t think a quarter of the people would turn up otherwise. Also I spend 3 months a year in Thailand with my wifes family and I thought Kiwis could drink. What I haven’t been able to find is any information regarding cannabis effects after surgery. THC and CBD store in fat cells, how is this effected when the fat getting broken down and fat being stored on the body increases because of a lack of vitamin retention due to low amounts if any of concentrated bile. I read the body retains fat to try to store what it needs caused by this vitamin deficiancy. Love to see more study, more answers.

    1. Ryan Gaylord Avatar
      Ryan Gaylord

      You can order a saliva hormone off of amazon. It’s more reliable than blood I’ve been told. You can also order Natpro progesterone cream online to see if it helps you. I use it and won’t go without it. I use it on my husband who is 52 and doing well. Also, alcohol can be estrogenic.

      Just suggestions as I didn’t get far with my MD either.

    2. Ryan Avatar

      You can order a saliva hormone off of amazon. It’s more reliable than blood I’ve been told. You can also order Natpro progesterone cream online to see if it helps you. I use it and won’t go without it. I use it on my husband who is 52 and doing well. Also, alcohol can be estrogenic.

      Just suggestions as I didn’t get far with my MD either.

  17. Harsh Avatar

    Nice Blog. You can find some similar information on Gallbladder stone in Harsh Hospital Surat

  18. Alexis Avatar

    Have endometriosis and just found out I have gallbladder sludge. My estrogen dominance has been hell on my body and I do take progesterone cream. I have yet been fully diagnosed Gastrology wise bc i cant get any further imaging done until I figure out my seizure issue I have had. Totally sucks bc im in pain. The gallbladder is causing my fibromyalgia to flare up. I’m so ready to get fully diagnosed in a way but in another way I’m a bit scared to find out everything. I wish y’all ladies luck sending my love to those in pain.

  19. Marie Avatar

    DIM took my pain away. Thanks for this helpful article!

  20. Alex Avatar


    Can product like OX Bile help with my prostate? I do have problem with bile production. My symptom are bloating, gas, prostate issue (BPH), high cholesterol, and light colored stool.

  21. Becky Avatar

    Gallbladder issues here too. Taking beet root, taurine, milk thistle, and magnesium to help increase bile flow. Makes a huge difference.

  22. Jennifer Joham Avatar
    Jennifer Joham

    I was cured from HERPES, thank(( Robinsonbucler@gmail. com ))!!!!!_______________________?

  23. Helen Duddin Avatar
    Helen Duddin

    I have gallstones and waiting to have my gallbladder removed. Is it the gallstones that could be causing lack of labido and slight thinning of hair?

  24. Marykays1 Avatar

    I know a thing or two about hormones and it makes total sense about the estrogen dominance with friends when pregnant, and with myself, when I tried bioidentical hormones. I was wondering about it in men and found your article. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing it. I am sending to a male friend.

  25. Denise Walker Avatar
    Denise Walker

    Great article! I was on HRT for 25 plus years after a hysterectomy and now at 60 I am having thyroid and gallbladder pain and issues. I appreciate your suggestions. Thanks ?

  26. Marykays1 Avatar

    I came to the same conclusion about estrogen dominance myself… Women have troubles when pg, I also wore estradiol patches after menopause which triggered it.. Never had a problem before etc. Thanks for the great article

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