Korean J Pancreas Biliary Tract.  2014 Oct;19(4):164-169. 10.15279/kpba.2014.19.4.164.

Medication and Diet in Gallstone Diseases

  • 1Digestive Disease Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. swcha@schmc.ac.kr


Gallstone disease represents one of the most common gastroenterological disorders. Several risk factors for cholesterol gallstone formation in the general population have been identified. There is a strongly increased risk of gallstone disease during prolonged fasting, rapid weight loss, total parenteral nutrition, and somatostatin analogue treatment. Cholecystectomy is the most frequently recommended conventional treatment for symptomatic gallstones. In asymptomatic and symptomatic gallstone carriers, treatment with the hydrophilic bile salt ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has been claimed to reduce the risk of biliary colic and gallstone complications such as acute cholecystitis and acute pancreatitis. However, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are lacking. There is evidence that dietary factors influence the risk of developing cholesterol gallstones. Dietary factors that may increase risk include cholesterol, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, refined sugar, and possibly legumes. Obesity is also a risk factor for gallstones. Dietary factors that may prevent the development of gallstones include polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, fiber, and caffeine. Consuming a vegetarian diet is also associated with decreased risk. In addition, identification and avoidance of allergenic foods frequently relieves symptoms of gallbladder disease, although it does not dissolve gallstones. Nutritional supplements that might help prevent gallstones include vitamin C, soy lecithin, and iron. In addition, a mixture of plant terpenes (Rowachol(R)) has been used with some success to dissolve radiolucent gallstones.


Gallstone; Gallstone diseases; Medication; Diet
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