Smoking increases your risk of several health problems, but research is unclear about its impact on gallstone formation.
The connection between smoking and gallstones may not be obvious, but it’s one to consider if you smoke.
While the research is a bit unclear on the exact effect that smoking may have on your gallbladder health, medical experts and healthcare professionals often caution people who smoke about the overall health risks.
This article will explore what the research says about smoking and gallbladder health and what types of things might cause you to develop gallstones.
On one hand, cigarette smoking has been shown to have negative effects on the digestive system overall — specifically in the
Other studies suggest that the
Cigarette smoke contains dangerous chemicals that can affect every tissue in your body in some way.
Studies in mice suggest that nicotine, the addictive chemical in cigarettes, might actually offer some protection against certain digestive conditions. In humans, such conditions may include
There are different types of gallstones, and different root causes can trigger them. For example, high cholesterol can lead to the formation of cholesterol-based gallstones. A buildup of
Gallstones block the flow of bile from the gallbladder, and a decrease in circulating bile reduces your body’s ability to digest fats. As bile fluids build up in the gallbladder, you may experience pain in your gallbladder (a gallbladder attack).
It’s best to avoid smoking for a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true after surgery, including following gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy).
Cigarette smoking is known to reduce your body’s
- increased fiber consumption
- reduced fat intake
- limited dairy intake
- fewer processed foods
Beyond diet, age, and other factors,
Smoking isn’t good for your overall health, but the evidence is mixed when it comes to the link between cigarettes and gallstones.
Some studies have shown that smoking can slow the function of the gallbladder, while others point to separate health issues — like obesity and cardiovascular disease — as more significant risk factors for gallbladder disease.