Cholecystitis, acute - Prevention 

Preventing acute cholecystitis 

The most effective way of preventing acute cholecystitis is to reduce your risk of getting gallstones.

Many of the risk factors for gallstones, such as family history and being female, are unavoidable. 

However, from the limited evidence available, the most effective way to prevent gallstones is to make lifestyle changes such as:

  • making changes to your diet
  • losing weight, if you are obese

These are described in more detail below.


Due to the role that cholesterol appears to play in the formation of gallstones, it is advisable to avoid eating fatty foods that have a high cholesterol content. Foods high in cholesterol include:

  • meat pies
  • sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • butter and lard
  • cakes and biscuits

low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended. This includes eating wholegrains and at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.

There is also evidence that regularly eating nuts, such as peanuts or cashew nuts, can help reduce the risk of developing gallstones, as can drinking alcohol in moderation (no more than three to four units a day for men and two to three units a day for women).

A unit of alcohol is equal to about half a pint of normal-strength lager, a small glass of wine or a pub measure (25ml) of spirits. Read more about alcohol and drinking.

Losing weight

Being overweight or obese increases the amount of cholesterol in your bile, which in turn increases your risk of developing gallstones. You can control your weight by eating a healthy diet and taking plenty of regular exercise.

However, avoid low-calorie diets that lead to rapid weight loss. There is evidence these can disrupt your bile chemistry and increase your risk of developing gallstones. A more gradual weight-loss plan is recommended.

Read more information and advice about losing weight safely and health and fitness.

Page last reviewed: 30/07/2012

Next review due: 30/07/2014


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