Healthy Living

Can Cholesterol Medication Treat Gallstones?

Can Cholesterol Medication Treat Gallstones?

Key Takeaways

  • Statins is a cholesterol medication that has been proven to lower the risk of a gallbladder attack
  • High amounts of cholesterol can lead to the formation of gallstones
  • Medication for cholesterol helps treat gallstones and cuts the risk of a gallbladder removal 

Gallstones are created inside the gallbladder due to abnormal gallbladder processes. Gallstones are caused when the liver produces too much cholesterol. This cholesterol hyperactivity can be caused by factors such as drugs or obesity. Formation of gallstones displays certain factors like mucus glycoprotein and hypomotility. It is quite likely, when gallbladder produces extra prostaglandin, that such over activity will be felt by the patient. 

In a healthy patient, there is a fine balance between cholesterol, phospholipids and bile acid levels. It is when this balance is upset, particularly if there is high levels of cholesterol, that there is a tendency for bile gallstone formation. This is due to the fact that excess cholesterol undergoes a process of crystallizing, a major step in the gallstone formation process.

Bile is a type of fluid that helps the digestive system to break down fats. This bile resides in the gallbladder and flows down via ducts or small tubes into the smaller intestine. Cholesterol is found in a natural state in the bile, but if there is an excess of it, then gallstones are produced. These gallstones can impede the bile that normally flows out of the gallbladder. This, in turn, leads to excruciating pain and some other symptoms of digestive distress. Sometimes, surgery needs to be performed to remove the gallbladder. This process is called cholecystectomy.

To avoid high cholesterol, you should live a healthy lifestyle. However, diet and exercise are sometimes not enough, so cholesterol medication is required. Cholesterol medication might help:

  • Decrease triglyceride which is a type of fat contained in the blood and also increases the chances of getting a heart disease.
  • Increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol which is good cholesterol and protects you from a heart disease.
  • Decrease LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol which is bad cholesterol and increases your chances of getting a heart disease.

A combination of cholesterol medications or a single drug may be suggested to you by your doctor.

A number of different types of prescription help lower LDL. We will discuss how each works.

Statins

Doctors will first prescribe these drugs to lower your LDL. They mildly increase your HDL (good) cholesterol and lower your triglycerides.

Statins include:

  • Rosuvastatin
  • Fluvastatin
  • Atorvastatin
  • Lovastatin
  • Pravastatin
  • Simvastatin
  • Pitavastatin

Statins slash the risk of having a heart attack, according to studies.

Liver damage (rare), Intestinal problems and muscle inflammation are some of the side effects of these drugs. According to FDA, use of statin could lead to type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar although the risk is very low and the benefits are more than the side effects.

Your doctor should confirm that you are only taking statin drugs and that they do not interact with another form of drugs.

Memory loss and confusion can occur in individuals taking statins. The FDA, however, says the symptoms are not severe and that they disappear within a few weeks after the patient stops taking the medication.

Consumption of grapefruit or its juice should be avoided when you are under the effects of statins.

 

Niacin

Niacin is vitamin B and it is also referred as nicotinic acid.  Contained in food, Niacin can also be available at high doses by prescription.  Niacin raises HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol.

Niacin includes Nicoar and Niaspan. It is not known that adding niacin when taking a statin could lower your risk of heart disease further.

The side effects are:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Tingling
  • Itching

 

Does the use of cholesterol medication cut the risk of gallstones?

According to research, statins are not only good for the heart but also cut the risk of gallstones.

In case you have ever suffered from a lot of abdominal pain that was accompanied by vomiting and nausea, you probably went to see your doctor. The diagnosis for that would likely be gallstones, food poisoning, pancreatitis, intestinal malfunction or ulcers and possibly a heart attack in women. An ultrasound, cardiac testing and blood test are the techniques to probably be used in diagnosing the above. In case gallstones were found and that they were large or causing a lot of pain, your doctor would probably refer you for gallbladder removal through a procedure known as a cholecystectomy.

What causes the majority of people to produce and suffer from gallstones? Cholesterol is synthesized in the liver, some is excreted in the bile after which it is collected in the gallbladder before going out to the intestines. Cholesterol makes up over 80% of gallstones. Gallstones are more likely to form if more cholesterol passes through the bile duct. Some factors and conditions contribute to supersaturated bile.

It then goes without doubt that anything that brings down the production of cholesterol in the liver (which in turn lowers its concentration in the bile) would assist in the prevention of gallstones.

 

Statin lowers the chances of gallbladder removal

According to a study that involved over 50,000 participants, women who used statins, especially those with diabetes, had a smaller chance of having gallstones that needed the gallbladder to be removed surgically than those who did not take statins.

Statin use lowered the risk of gallbladder removal by 18% according to the study regardless of the period the women had used the drug.

The risk of surgery was lowered by 75% in diabetic women who had used the drug for more than two tears. The women who had used the drug for a short time had their risk of surgery reduced by 33% compared with nonusers.

Gallbladders are removed mainly to prevent gallstones attacks that are painful and possible problems like gallbladder infection and inflammation and pancreatitis.

There are two types of people who are predisposed to occurrences of gallstones. These include those patients, who are overweight and fat, or patients who lose excessive amounts of weight rapidly, or someone who undergoes rigorous fasting. Numerous studies have revealed that a glycaemic load that increases and decreases, and an excess intake of carbohydrates exponentially increase the incidence of gallstone occurrence. Hence, everyone must adhere to a diet of healthy foods and eat their meals at regular intervals.