Some children may experience attacks of pain or cramps in the right upper part of the abdomen, fullness, gas, which usually appear after large, fatty, or fried meals. Pain often goes to right shoulder or right shoulder blade and accompanies with nausea or vomiting, bloating, followed by loose stools.
In general, even when your child has all this symptoms, the standard tests may be normal. It can make the doctor’s opinion that the disorder of your kid is biliary dyskinesia. “Biliary” indicates bile, “dys” means irregular, and “kinesia” means movement. Abnormal moving of the bile can happen in the bile ducts that go inside and outside the liver, in the gallbladder, and in the sphincter of Oddi-valve between bile duct and duodenum. Duodenum is the start of the small intestine.
If tests expose no structural abnormality, no gallbladder stones or inflammations, biliary dyskinesia is often mixed up with functional dyspepsia, stomach flu, reflux, IBS, psychosomatic diseases, etc. Treatment of the patients with the medications can modify the symptoms. Tests that are more specific may reveal low ejection fraction; weak gallbladder function. Ejection fraction that is fewer than 35 percent is believed abnormal; so kid typically refers to the surgeons’ for gallbladder removal.
Three things come to the parent’s mind.
Does my child really need gallbladder? What are the reasons for sluggish gallbladder in my child? Can I try something else to rescue of the gallbladder in my child?
At first, let us explain simple anatomy and function of the gallbladder. Liver manufactures bile, which is a bitter yellow liquid of complex, balanced composition of water, minerals, bicarbonate, cholesterol, bile acids and bile salts, lecithin, bile pigments.
Bile helps with the digestion of the fatty substances and absorption them into the bloodstream. Besides, bile serves as a vehicle to remove toxic matter from the body such as heavy metals, pigments, excess of the cholesterol, medications, chemicals, drugs, etc. Bile is also is the trigger of the intestinal movements. Losing these functions leads to incomplete digestion of fats, deficiency of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and essential fatty acids, constipation and many symptoms, which are very far from the place where gallbladder is.
Liver consistently produces bile in the net of the bile ducts that merge into common bile duct. In turn, common bile duct merges with pancreatic duct. Mix of the bile and pancreatic juice moves throughout the special muscle valve into duodenum. This valve named as the sphincter of Oddi.
Gallbladder and the sphincter of Oddi work as pendulum. When fatty foods go into duodenum sphincter of Oddi relaxes and gallbladder contracts to squeeze bile for digestion. When the duodenum is empty, there is the opposite situation: sphincter of Oddi contracts and gallbladder is relaxed. Therefore, liver bile is redirected from liver into the gallbladder for storing and concentration. Losing these functions leads to spasms of the sphincter of Oddi with increasing the pressure within the bile ducts causing pain. The prolonged collection of the bile in the common bile duct creates irritation, inflammation and, certainly causes pain.
Here, I will tell you the secret what even many medical practitioners do not know. This is acidic bile. Normally, bile is alkaline solution. So what may happen if bile turns to be acidic? Many bad things occur. For instance, the bile acids precipitate. The precipitated bile acids are very aggressive substances. They corrode and irritate gallbladder, bile ducts, sphincter of Oddi and duodenum. In turn, it can cause inflammation of the gallbladder and bile ducts, spasm of the sphincter of Oddi with following pain, nausea, vomiting, belching, etc. I explained in detail, medically about this process in my Ebook “Healthy Pancreas, Healthy You.” On the other hand, acidic bile leads to producing of the bile sludge and bile stones. Gallbladder removal does not stop acidic bile; therefore, without gallbladder, irritation and inflammation occur in the bile ducts and sphincter of Oddi.
Secondly, why do many kids have sluggish gallbladder? Understanding that can give a clue what parents have to do at home. Poor, acidic diet full of the processed foods, sugars, sodas, “trans” fats make the acidic bile. Slogan “No fat, no cholesterol” scares parents. They do not give their kids butter, sour cream, eggs, cold pressed olive oil, fatty fish, avocado. These products are the natural stimulants for the bile production and releasing,
Kids forget to drink plenty of water. Sodas, processed juices, energy drinks, are acid-forming products and lead to dehydration. Dehydration makes bile sick and acidic.
Rampant child obesity and overweight issue, eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia) may cause the gallbladder problems, as well.
By the way, thousands cases of the parasites that reside in the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts such as Giardia (Giardia intestinalis), biliary liver flukes (Fasciola hepatica) were officially reported in the U.S. Some doctors consider that many cases of the parasites are underreported. These parasites create chronic inflammation of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts with severe pain, sickness, anemia, allergies. Gallbladder surgery cannot remove parasites from the liver and bile ducts.
Finally, can we increase the production and freely moving of the bile; improve the function of the gallbladder?
Let’s go to experience of the European parents and advices from the European medical doctors a few decades’ ago, when laparoscopic gallbladder removal in kids was not so common.
Parents were advised to give their children more fresh vegetables and fruits, vegetable soups and salads, soft-boiled eggs, non-sweet compote, sauerkraut. It was recommended to drink chamomile, peppermint herbal teas, put more garlic, ginger, turmeric, parsley, beets, cold pressed virgin olive oil, nuts in the foods..
European doctors and mothers knew another secret for sluggish gallbladder and liver problems. It was drinking healing mineral waters. All over the Europe, there are many healing mineral spas. Healing mineral water from thermal spring in Karlovy Vary was very familiar. Big kids have been sent there for healing course for hundreds of years. For small children or someone who could not travel to mineral spas, European doctors recommended drinking healing mineral water that was made with genuine Karlovy Vary thermal spring salt. By the medical research, Karlovy Vary healing mineral water alkalizes bile, makes it liquid, less aggressive. This water improves digestion and bowel elimination, expels parasites. It has a good record of using in biliary dyskinesia in children. I personally did it for my children too.
Many other things can put gallbladder to work such as physical activity, yoga, gentle visceral massage, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment.
Function of the gallbladder is close related to entire digestive system. Low amount of the beneficial bacteria in the intestines after taking antibiotics, causes Candida-yeast overgrowth. It produces a lot of toxic, acidic substances, which badly influences in the producing and elimination of the bile, increases food sensitivity and constipation. Probiotics, enemas, and colon hydrotherapy can help in this case.
Children with sluggish gallbladder typically have digestive, skin and musculoskeletal symptoms, dark circles under eyes, they not successful in school, have sleeping disturbances. Because of poor bile quality, these children have the deficiency of the vital nutrients, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty acids, vitamins’.
Contrary to the popular idea that gallbladder surgery eliminates pain and indigestion in children, medical statistic show that 20 percent of the persons without gallbladder eventually suffer from postcholesystectomy syndrome. For a number of people, life without gallbladder becomes miserable. You can search for “postcholecystectomy syndrome” on the internet to prove my words.
These people cannot tolerate fatty foods; suffer from RUQ pain, nausea, heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation, bile acids diarrhea. To say more, they are predisposed to pancreatic and colorectal cancer.
Can we rescue gallbladder in children? I think, it makes sense to try.
The information on this article is presented for educational, informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, and advice of a qualified licensed professional.