“”Flush”” proponents claim that liver stones are common, and one has even stated that 99.95% of cancer patients have them . However, stones within the small liver ducts are very rare, at least in Western communities, as might be expected because the bile produced by the liver is 5-10 times less concentrated than gallbladder bile. Small stones released by the gallbladder will occasionally drift into a liver duct. Otherwise stones mainly only develop in the liver ducts secondary to other serious biliary pathology such as strictures, choledochal cysts or bile duct cancers.
Their rarity, even in patients known to be prone to stone formation is illustrated by a recent study on patients with gallstones but with no other biliary problems . Only 3.5% of such patients were found to have stones in the bile ducts when imaging studies (cholangiography) were performed during their surgery. At least 95% of such stones were in the main bile duct, usually beyond the entrance of the gallbladder duct. Cholangiography can detect stones as small as 1-2 mm in the narrow liver ducts.
Are the Flushes Safe?
In patients with reasonable health and no complicating factors, flushes are generally safe. Consuming fatty foods may carry a comparable risk of stones getting stuck in the wrong place and provoking biliary colic or complications such as acute pancreatitis. Similar concerns once applied to gallstone dissolution using ursodeoxycholic acid and to the shattering of gallstones with shock wave lithotripsy, but in practice complications are fewer than expected. I cannot recall yet seeing any reports of harm from a gallbladder/liver flush.
The greatest risk may apply to those who postpone surgery despite being at risk of major complications i.e. those with regular symptoms or who have recovered from potentially lethal complications such as acute pancreatitis or acute cholangitis (bile duct infection).
One woman who complained that her gallstones were unchanged on ultrasound despite three apparently fruitful flushes was advised that to up to 25 flushes may be needed. The above considerations suggest that very, very few will succeed no matter how many times they flush.
Port St. Lucie Florida USA
Fremantle Victoria Australia
Richardson Texas USA
Peru Lima City
Mauritius Port Louis
Hervey Bay Queensland Australia