Originally Posted by peacefrog
Is finding sludge and evidence of gallbladder disease on an ultrasound enough reason to have the gallbladder removed?
There really isn't much research in the way of healing a gallbladder but there are many diet changes you can do to help with the sludge problem. I've read claims that folks can live for many years with a dysfunctional GB, but eventually / ultimately / supposedly they get worse. Really, it's the other symptoms that drive the surgery (the nausea, pain, etc). To guage just how bad the the GB is, they'd normally do a HIDA scan and see what % function it has. However, that test isn't always accurate (if you are feeling well it may not show a problem).
In the interim, you can try changing your diet to see if you can thin out the bile and/or eat foods that help the gallbladder contract. In fact, once the GB is out you will probably find certain foods still cause problems, so, may as well do what you can now (at least that's what I'm doing). Search online for Gallbladder diet, there are a few pages with excellent food suggestions.
Personally, I've been cutting out all bad fats (trans and saturated) and substituting Olive Oil or other Mono/Poly fats. It's tough at first, but, I was ready to do anything to stop the nausea. Eating only healthy foods like fruits (Apples & Grapes were good for me), veggies (Broccoli was good but gives some folks problems). Also, beets do indeed help me (even though I dislike them) and I believe what I read that they are like paint thinner for bile... really helps move things through the GB. Artichoke supposedly triggers the GB to contract, so may want to avoid until you are feeling better and then eat some now and then to keep things moving.
For carbs I cut out wheat/bread & pasta for a while and had mostly just potato (baked or sweet) and brown rice.
There are supplements you can take to help as well. (Soy Lecithin, Milk Thistle, Certain Vitamins, etc). For the Nausea, if the stomach is irritated (gastritis) you can take antacids but I've found that DGL Licorice pills worked fairly well, as did Ginger capsules.