This is a long story about my gallstone story and what i've done without surgery to help, so please bear with me.
I'm 31, H/W proportional male. Just as a back story, when I was about 8 yrs old, I constantly had lower stomach area pains that became a weekly episode for me. It got to the point where my parents put me in the hospital for about a week of tests. I had bloodwork done, enemas, and a lower GI done. (still remember this vividly and how awful it was for me as a kid!) All the tests came up inconclusive and they basically gave up. (I found out years later that the next thoughts were to test my gallbladder, but that's when I left the hospital) :-P
I had reocurring attacks throughout my life, but they gradually became more and more infrequent. Most attacks would involve me running to the bathroom and having diahrrehea, along with massive lower stomach/upper pelvis area cramping and typcially I would end up laying on the bathroom floor wracked with pain, and unable to even stand up. The attacks would usually last around 10-15 minutes, and after being drenched in a cold sweat, it would pass and I would be fine, although a little sore inside.
During my high school years, I ended up having them maybe once a month. I tried to see if different foods would trigger it, and nothing matched up. As I got older, they almost went away all together and I think perhaps once a year if at all.
I found out while engaged to my wife, that flying abroad created and aggrevated attacks sometimes, when we traveled overseas to visit her family (10+ hour flight) One night and her folks, I had an attack and went to the bathroom and the pain became so bad, I started blacking out. I had no idea that this was possible from these attacks, but I lost all color in my vision besides black and white and everything I heard became muffled! I ended up confulsing on the kitchen floor after that and my wife wanted to call an ambulance, but I wouldn't let her. The pain went away after about 10 minutes and I was better.
Last year I started getting annoying cramps below my right ribcage. It seemed worse while flying and I would have to rub that area to alleviate pain, and on one flight, I rubbed myself black and blue with bruises from the cramp pain. It didn't cause me any bathroom episodes, just annoying crampy/numb pain that usually was worse while sitting during a meal or in the car. I went to my doctor and had them check me out. She diagnosed that it was a nerve rubbing or muscle tissue against the rib that was spasming and not to worry about it. So I let it annoy me for another year and went back earlier this year. They sent me in for tests and I got a CT scan done and it showed a whole bunch of stones in my gallbladder. The specialist said that I could have had these since childhood which would explain the episodes of my past. Strange though that I developed these as a normal sized, active boy. (female, fat, and 40? Where does this relate?)
They recommended surgery and removal, and after all the research I did, I felt I wasn't a positive candidate for this. For one thing, I wasn't in constant pain, or having frequent attacks, or having it ruin/alter my ways of living/eating. (which is the #1 reason people get surgery. The other is if it ruptures, which is immediate and totally necessary. So I decided to look up alternate ways of dealing with it.
I was already active and doing oatmeal and flaxseed to reduce cholesterol (runs in the family) and read up on how different vitamins and natural herbs can help possibly remove stones, and also support the gall bladder/liver. I started taking a product called "Stone Free", which has Dandelion extract and others as the main ingrediant, and also Psyllium husks, and flush-free niacin.
I have been on this daily regiment for about 2 months, and i'm not even taking the full recommended doses. I cannot remember the last time I have had gallstone cramps, and it doesn't bother me anymore. I am very curious to have another CT scan done to detect any changes in stone amount and such, but I can't afford forking over another $400 :-P
If you're trying to look for a possible option to surgery and want to try the same supplements i did, it my be worth a shot. If you are in extreme pain/discomfort, perhaps surgery is the best solution. I just didn't want to do it unless I had no other choice. The doc's i've seen didn't even mention a possible medicine/supplemental support option or even the sonic wave treatment which is known to work on stones, but they can reoccur.
I'm so much happier that my pain is gone as of now and it's cheap to buy these supplements as opposed to possibly having post-surgery side effects change my life for the worse. (as many of you have read from people suffering) Please research or talk to a doctor or homeopathic physician who understands what these ingredients can do for gallstone sufferers such as us. I'm not into new-age healing and eco living and all that, but we all know that there are so many medicines that were created from plants, animals, fungi and nature, so why wouldn't the possibility exist that some herbs can help our gallstones? It's not so far fetched is it?