Many people in the celiac community have talked about gallbladder disease. Is there science that says they are related or is there something else?
What is the gallbladder and what does it do?
The gallbladder is a small organ in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. According to healthline it is, “four-inch, pear-shaped organ. It’s positioned under your liver in the upper-right section of your abdomen. The gallbladder stores bile, a combination of fluids, fat, and cholesterol. Bile helps break down fat from food in your intestine.”
Symptoms of issues with the gallbladder include unusual stool, chronic diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the upper right abdomen. The treatment is many times over the counter pain relief and anti-diarrhea medicine. Removal of the gallbladder is fairly common if symptoms persist.
However, many of those symptoms are reported commonly by those with celiac disease. So the two issues can be easily confused.
Celiac and the Gallbladder
There isn’t much recently regarding celiac and the gallbladder. Most of the infohttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4124280/rmation is from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Even more recent articles quote articles from the 70’s and 80’s.
Science has come to is that untreated celiac disease does affect the way the gallbladder functions. The hormones secreted by the intestinal tract to trigger the gallbladder to release the enzymes to break down fat do not work in untreated celiac disease. Celiac disease destroys the cells that release signalling cells to the gallbladder. Once the celiac disease is well-managed, the gallbladder starts to function properly again.
It is very important for those with celiac disease to get a proper diagnosis. Celiac can affect every organ in the body and left untreated can do significant damage. This is another example where celiac disease can mimic another disease.
On the one hand, I believe we all have a gut feeling about what is wrong in our bodies. When I was a kid, I was an avid swimmer. I hurt my shoulder. It didn’t hurt all the time, but when it hurt it was excruciating. My parents took me to all the best doctors MRI, CT scans, bone scans, and every other test and therapy they could think of to diagnose the problem. Each time the doctors came back that I had a torn rotator cuff. Teenage girls don’t tear their rotator cuff by swimming. We never found the root cause and my swimming career was derailed. In my 20’s, I saw a different doctor. He figured out the problem almost immediately and I consented to repair surgery. I haven’t had a problem with shoulder pain since.
But often times, in your gut, if you know that a gallbladder issue might not be the root cause, a celiac blood test is now simple and easy to run. If you think the gallbladder is not the root cause, ask the doctor to run a celiac panel. Listen to the doctor and go from there.