Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) can heal gallstones and ease discomfort, but it is not without risks.
Digestive issues are a potential concern following gallbladder removal and the more immediate post-surgical risks of bleeding, fever, and infection. Typical symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain after eating, and nausea.
Postcholecystectomy syndrome is the collective name for the symptoms following gallbladder resection. They are brought on by modifications in how the body now transports bile, which was formerly stored in the gallbladder.
This article discusses the relationship between your digestion and gallbladder, potential digestive side effects from gallbladder surgery, and foods to avois when your gallbladder is removed.
Gallbladder and Your Digestion
Your gallbladder is a little, pear-shaped organ beneath your liver that stores the bile that is produced by your liver. The gallbladder squeezes bile into your small intestine through bile ducts when your body requires it. Bile helps digestion by breaking down dietary fats.
But occasionally, the components of bile, such as cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin, can accumulate excessively and harden into gallstones. This is the most typical justification for gallbladder removal. Your gallbladder is one organ you can live without, as enough bile can pass through your bile ducts and from your liver directly to your intestines without first entering the gallbladder.
Therefore, most people do not experience any issues with eating or digestion following gallbladder removal surgery. But occasionally, issues arise, and some adverse effects of gallbladder removal can influence how you eat and digest food.
Gallbladder Removal and Digestive Complications
Though digestive problems following gallbladder removal are uncommon they may include:
Bile will flow more frequently but in smaller amounts into your small intestine because your gallbladder is no longer there to control the flow. Many people may experience diarrhoea for the first few days following surgery as a result of this. Most of the time, this side effect is temporary, necessitating no treatment. Call your doctor, however, if your diarrhoea persists for more than three days.
Problem with fatty food digestion
For the first month following surgery, some people find it somewhat more challenging to digest fatty foods. A low-fat diet may be beneficial. A low-fat diet may help with symptoms, and medicines that bind the extra bile acids, which are thought to be the root of this irritating symptom, are frequently used to address the issue.
After having their gallbladder removed, some people who didn’t typically have more than one bowel movement per day may start to do so. These can occasionally be accompanied by an urgent feeling and be loose and watery. The risk of long-term diarrhoea after gallbladder surgery is highest in men under 50, especially if they are obese. However, many persons without these risk factors can nevertheless experience diarrhoea for months to years after surgery.
Some people who take painkillers after gallbladder surgery get constipation as a result. Consuming vegetables, fruits, beans, bran, whole grains, and other foods that are high in fibre may help avoid and perhaps treat constipation. To help you, your doctor could recommend using a stool softener.
Biliary duct with a retained stone
A gallstone may occasionally stay in your common bile duct after gallbladder surgery. After surgery, you may experience discomfort, fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and jaundice due to a bile duct obstruction. You might need additional surgery to get rid of gallstones stuck in your common bile duct.
The tools used during your gallbladder operation could harm your intestines, even though this is quite unlikely. During the procedure, your surgeon will take precautions to reduce the risk of this consequence. If it happens, you may have fever, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This type of postoperative complication requires immediate medical intervention.
You should consult with your healthcare practitioner if you have persistent issues with diarrhoea and/or abdominal pain to acquire a proper diagnosis.
Food to Avoid After Gallbladder Removal
You may have to alter your eating habits if your gallbladder isn’t helping with digestion. If you just had your gallbladder removed, you might want to stick to a bland diet until your diarrhoea symptoms start to subside.
Being without a gallbladder can make it difficult for you to digest fatty foods as the gallbladder’s function is to aid in digestion. After surgery, once you’re back on a “normal” diet, you might want to minimise or stay away from:
- French fries, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks are all fried meals.
- Fatty meats, cheese, ice cream, butter, gravy, chicken skin, pizza, and oils are examples of high-fat foods.
- Foods that give you gas broccoli, beans, and milk
- Curry, hot sauce, and hot peppers are spicy dishes.
Possible “problem” items can be gradually reintroduced into your diet to assist you to figure out what bothers you without causing discomfort. You might find the following advice useful even though it doesn’t necessarily have a scientific basis:
- Eat several little meals throughout the day.
- Try a probiotic.
- Test out a digestive enzyme
Though dealing with symptoms is unpleasant, keep in mind that you have some control over a few aspects, such as your nutrition.
Many people who have gallbladder surgery do not encounter problems, but not everyone does. Just after surgery, digestive problems or other complications may appear. Additionally, complications following gallbladder removal can occasionally manifest years later. Common signs include diarrhoea, abdominal pain after eating, and nausea.
If you experience digestive issues following gallbladder surgery, you should contact your doctor right away because they could be symptoms of more serious complications. Your doctor might be able to offer advice on how to manage your symptoms even if he decides they don’t need medical attention.
Frequently Asked Questions
What signs indicate a blocked bile duct following gallbladder removal?
Cholestasis frequently manifests as itchy skin and jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes). Additionally, typical symptoms include changes in urination or bowel habits, nausea, and abdominal pain.
In what ways do probiotics aid IBS symptoms following gallbladder removal?
Probiotics can improve digestion and assist in the maintenance of healthy gut bacteria. According to some research, probiotics may also help lower cholesterol, which is advantageous for those who no longer have gallbladders.
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