Lubbock surgeon says to protect your gall bladder from greasy foods

Published: Oct. 24, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - From fair food to football tailgating and now World Series watch parties, this fall season may be overloaded with a lot of party food.

And what comes next? Thanksgiving....

Fall festivities come with a lot of rich food, which is why this can also be a busy season for surgeries on the gall bladder.

Dr. Justin Vaughn is a surgeon at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He says the gall bladder helps in digestion by acting as a grease trap and storage tank for bile.

But when we fill it up with fried, fatty and spicy foods, it can get overloaded and angry. He says, “Then you’d notice you’d have pain in your right upper quadrant that can sometimes radiate towards your shoulder. And you can also have some nausea associated with that.”

Those are clues that you may be developing gall stones. So when do you take your symptoms to a primary care doctor or to the emergency room?

Dr. Vaughn says, “If you notice this occasional pain with fat fried or fatty foods, and it goes away relatively quickly. With no associated fever or yellowing of your skin arise. I think it’s reasonable to see your primary care doctor.” However, he adds that if the pain is persistent, severe and associated with fever, jaundice or any other issue, you need to go to the emergency room because the gall bladder could be infected. It’s easy to mistake all those symptoms for a heart attack. So, Dr. Vaughn says your doctor would want to rule that out first.

But the real message he has for us is this… “The gallbladder is something we can kind of take for granted until it goes awry. "

He says we should treat the gall bladder the same way we protect the heart… “Fatty foods and greasy, spicy things in moderation. The same things to try to help you live a heart healthy lifestyle would also have the benefit of helping minimize your risk for gallbladder attack.”