Reducing Your Risk of Gallstones
While it is not possible to control certain risk factors, such as gender and ethnicity, you can take some steps to help reduce your chances of getting
- Maintain or obtain a desirable body weight.
- Do not attempt rapid weight loss.
- Remain or become more physically active.
- Consider avoiding oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, especially if you have had gallstones in the past.
Maintain or Obtain a Desirable Body Weight
Being overweight increases cholesterol in your bile, reduces bile salts, and makes the gallbladder contract less. All of these things result in an increased risk of gallstones. Therefore, achieving a desirable body weight will reduce your risk of gallstones.
Do Not Attempt Rapid Weight Loss
If you are overweight and want to achieve a more desirable body weight, do not lose weight too quickly. A weight loss of one or two pounds per week is recommended. If weight is lost more quickly than this, your risk of developing gallstones increases.
Remain or Become More Physically Active
Physical activity is an important part of weight loss and maintenance. In addition, exercise may help the gallbladder contract, which may decrease your risk of developing gallstones.
Consider Avoiding Oral Estrogen Pills
Since estrogen tends to increase your risk of developing gallstones, it might be beneficial to avoid oral contraceptive agents that contain estrogen. Consider other alternative birth control options if necessary. In addition, postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy contains estrogen. Of course, there are other reasons hormone replacement therapy may be harmful as well. Discuss these issues thoroughly with your doctor.
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Last reviewed June 2009 by
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