Can we treat gallstones naturally?


If the gallstones do not cause any symptoms, doctors usually see no reason to remove them. In many cases it remains that the gallstones do not cause any symptoms in the further course.

However, if symptoms do occur, the doctor will usually begin treatment with alleviating the symptoms. He gives to therapy Medicines for pain or inflammation. He can also prescribe a zero diet.

The actual treatment of the gallstones then depends on where the gallstones are and how big they are. They can occur in the gallbladder or in the bile ducts.

Gallstones: OP

If the pain occurs repeatedly, or if the doctor determines that the gallbladder is inflamed, they may recommend removing the gallbladder. Unfortunately, if gallstones are treated with medication or removed during a mirroring, new gallstones often form.

Doctors call the removal of the gallbladder a cholecystectomy. As a rule, the procedure is minimally invasive - i.e. only with very small incisions without opening the entire abdominal wall - and takes place by means of a laparoscopy. The doctor can access the gallbladder through four small incisions in the abdominal wall and remove it. The procedure usually takes place on an outpatient basis, and those who have been operated on can go home the same day. The duration of the operation is between 30 minutes and an hour.

Around 95 to 99 percent of interventions can take place this way. Only in rare cases does the doctor have to open the abdominal wall further, for example if there are certain adhesions there. Then the procedure has to be carried out in an inpatient setting and the regeneration will take a little more time. In Germany, doctors remove around 190,000 gallbladders every year.

Gallstones: medication

In most cases, doctors use medication to treat gallstones to relieve symptoms. So stand pain reliever and anticonvulsant medication available against the stomach ache. There are also medications for nausea or an uncomfortable feeling of fullness.

Doctors rarely try to dissolve the gallstones with medication. If the gallstones consist of cholesterol and are particularly small, it is possible to use the active ingredient ursodeoxycholic acid to counteract them. However, drug treatment lasts between one and two years. The gallstones are not completely dissolved, but only about three quarters at the most. In over half of the cases, new gallstones form within five months. Because of this, doctors rarely use drugs to dissolve gallstones.

ERCP gallstones

If the gallstones are in the bile duct, the doctor can remove them during an endoscopy. Similar to a gastroscopy, it leads a long, flexible tube through the esophagus into the stomach, from there into the duodenum and finally to the mouth of the bile duct. Here the doctor injects a contrast medium through the hose. The exit of the gallbladder is then usually slightly cut open. The doctor can endoscopically remove the gallstones using special baskets. The procedure is called Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Doctors refrain from smashing the gallstones.


Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is used to treat gallstones rarely used. With ESWL, sound waves are directed into the body to break up the gallstones. However, the procedure is considered to be out of date. It is used more often in other conditions, such as urinary stones.