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October 2021

Trop Gastroenterol. 1998 Jan-Mar; 19(1): 21-3.

Is vegetarianism a precipitating factor for gallstones in cirrhotics?

Jayanthi V, Malathi S, Ramathilakam B, Mathew S, Prasanthi R, Srinivasan V.

Department of Digestive Health and Disease, Government Peripheral Hospital, Chennai.

AIM: To study the association of factors such as alcohol, smoking and vegetarianism with presence of gallstones amongst cirrhotics. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data on alcoholism, smoking and vegetarianism was collected from the case records of 669 cirrhotics with (76) or without gallstones (593) retrospectively. Relative risk for the factors was computed individually and in combination controlling for the effects of alcoholism and smoking on vegetarianism. RESULTS: Alcoholism and smoking were of low relative risk [R.R-1.27 (95% CI 0.82 to 1.96), and 1.02 (95% CI 0.65 to 1.61) respectively] while vegetarianism was associated with high risk for gallstone formation in cirrhotics [R.R 2.74 (95% CI 1.65-4.53)]. Vegetarian men had a relative risk of 3.02 (95% CI 1.75-5.22) irrespective of their alcoholic status. If women were alcoholic the relative risk increased to 7.03 (95% CI 3.26-15.12). Controlling for effects of gender and alcoholism, vegetarian cirrhotics had a 3 times greater risk for gallstone formation [Mantel Haenszel Relative Risk 3.18 (95% CI MHRR 1.82-5.56)]. CONCLUSIONS: Cirrhotic, vegetarian women in South India have a much higher risk for gallstones, if they are alcoholic. Alcoholic men who are vegetarians are at a greater risk for gallstone disease.

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