Cholecystitis (Inflammation of the Gall Bladder) is associated with cholelithiasis (Gall Stones) in 98% of cases.  It can leave you with ribside pain, reflux, nausea and indigestion. A general summary of what’s happening on the inside is either blockage of the bile ducts in the Liver, stasis of bile with infection and poor regulation of cholesterol. However, why it happens is a complicated process and not completely understood, even by Western Medicine. There are several biochemical changes and processes that are occurring and contributing to Inflammation and Gall Stones.

Risk Factors for Gall Bladder Disease include :

  • Being a Female (2 women to every male with the condition)
  • Obesity
  • Ageing
  • Oestrogen Therapy
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s Disease, Bowel disease or resection
  • Cirrhosis

When a stone obstructs the duct in the Gall Bladder, resulting symptoms can include:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • stomach pain that radiates around the mid-torso to the shoulder blade on the back
  • colicky pain
  • intensity of pain that goes up and down
  • pain when digesting food and intolerance to fatty foods.

It’s important to get a formal diagnosis from your GP as it needs to be differentiated from other possible conditions. Digital imaging is also important to get before starting any alternative treatment. Herbs that stimulate the Gall Bladder may induce contraction and pass stones. A problem may occur if the stone is too large to pass and will subsequently cause acute cholecystitis. Having as much diagnostic information as possible makes it safer using western medicine or alternative treatment.

According to Chinese Medicine, factors that irritate the Gall Bladder such as emotional upset, exposure to extreme heat or cold, improper diet and eating habits, excessive consumption of greasy foods result in the symptoms mentioned above. There are however, 3 different diagnoses and methods of treatment when dealing with this syndrome.  Part of the process of telling the difference, performed by the fully qualified Chinese Medicine Practitioner includes tongue coat and colour:

  • Stagnation of Liver and Gall Bladder Energy – with a thin tongue coat
  • Obstruction by damp heat – with a red tongue body and yellow greasy tongue coat
  • Heat toxins in the Liver and Gall Bladder – with a red tongue body and a dry yellow tongue coat.

There are of course other defining symptoms for each and the latter two are more developed stages of Cholecystitis with predominantly more damp signs and heat signs respectively.

Acupuncture can also help relieve referred pain associated with Cholecystitis using points on the Gall Bladder meridian around the ribcage, shoulder blade. For digestive discomfort, distal points such as Gall Bladder 34 and Gall Bladder 41 on the leg and feet are used to regulate stagnant Gall Bladder Qi or energy, as well as Stomach, Spleen and Liver poitns to settle digestion.

Herbs such as Scute, Bamboo Leaf, Pinellia, Dandelion in differing circumstances depending on the Chinese Medical Diagnosis as mentioned above. Their purposes respectively is to resolve damp heat and  phlegm, clear toxic heat.

Case Study: Female, 37

Presenting problem: Gall Bladder pain, reflux, low energy

Her Gallstones were diagnosed in 2008, and has lived quite healthily by managing the pain and diet.When the Gallstones were irritated and casung her Gall Bladder pain, she would suffer headaches as well. Spicy or oily food would flare up her Gall Bladder pain. Stress would also exacerbate the situation.

After 1-2 acupuncture sessions the Gall Bladder pain had reduced significantly. She still suffered slight relux in the evenings, but she felt that was manageable and tolerable compared to the Gall Bladder pain.

If you would like to know more about Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine and how it can help your Gall Bladder pain, please contact us on (02)9938 1090 or go to www.familywellnesscentre.com.au