An apple juice cleanse is an alternative treatment for gallstones. However, no scientific evidence suggests that any type of fruit juice cleanse will dissolve gallstones, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you're in pain, seek medical attention. Gallstones can become life-threatening if they create an obstruction in your gallbladder duct. Ask your doctor before trying a home-based solution to gallstones or any other alternative treatment.
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Gallbladder cleanses, also called gallbladder or liver flushes, call for you to drink a combination of olive oil and fruit juice, such as apple or grapefruit juice. The mixture is supposed to break up your gallstones and flush them out through your stool, alleviating the pain and risks associated with gallstones blocking your gallbladder. But Dr. Michael Picco, a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist, does not recommend the treatment. Dr. Picco, also an assistant professor at Mayo Clinic's College of Medicine, says the cleanse will act as a laxative but will not break up gallstones.
Trying an apple juice gallbladder cleanse may include uncomfortable side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and pain in your abdomen. If you try a cleanse, make sure to drink plenty of water so you don't become dehydrated. Some versions of juice cleanses for gallstones add herbs. Herbs may cause additional side effects. Research possible ill effects of any herb you add to a cleanse. If you have doubts, talk to your doctor or omit the herb.
Drugs and Treatment Options
If you have gallstones causing you pain or obstructing the duct leading from your gallbladder, your doctor may suggest you take drugs to help dissolve your gallstones rather than drink an apple juice and olive oil remedy. The medication ursodeoxycholic acid is an oral drug prescribed to help dissolve gallstones that are less than 15 millimeters in diameter. The drugs tert-butyl or monooctanoin may be injected straight into your gallbladder to try to break up larger gallstones. Another possible treatment option to break up gallstones is shock wave therapy.
An apple juice and olive oil gallbladder cleanse is not medically recommended. Standard drug therapy may also not work and, if it does, may take up to two years to fully dissolve your gallstones. If your gallstones are blocking the duct leading from your gallbladder, you may require surgery to remove your gallbladder. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you can live healthily without a gallbladder, and there are no known problems of functioning without one.