Best Diet After Gallbladder Removal Surgery

diet after gallbladder removalIf you have gallstones symptoms or other problems with your gallbladder, you may have decided to have your gallbladder removed through cholecystectomy. Although the surgery is tolerable, your diet after gallbladder removal may significantly be altered to counter side effects in the first few weeks of recovery.

The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile made by the liver, which aids in fat digestion. Without the gallbladder regulating bile movement, bile will directly trickle into the intestines.

Because of this, your diet after gallbladder surgery should not contain too much fat, which could cause diarrhea. Other side effects include gas, indigestion, cramping, increased and uncontrolled bowel movement, and watery stools.

If you have gone through gallbladder removal you may also feel bloated and gain weight. Preparing a gallbladder removal diet is crucial to prevent any of these side effects.

What to Eat After Gallbladder Surgery

A well balanced post cholecystectomy diet is important to help your body adjust to the loss of the gallbladder, maintain regular digestion and to avoid weight gain.

If you’re not sure what to eat after gallbladder removal, stock up on fiber-rich food like:

  • whole grain bread
  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • beans

These foods can help in hardening your stool. They also pass readily through the body and aid in easing digestion, making you feel less bloated.

As for regular foods to eat after gallbladder surgery, the following are safe:

  • lean, skinless meats
  • eggs
  • low fat milk
  • rice
  • baked potatoes
  • pasta
  • fruit juices
  • natural sweeteners, like honey and molasses

Foods to Avoid After Gallbladder Surgery

When deciding on a gallbladder diet after surgery, the most important maxim to remember is to avoid eating fatty foods like:

  • fast food
  • pastries
  • cookies
  • chips
  • food cooked in oil

The excess fats that cannot be processed by the intestine end up in the stool, which can become uncontrollable if left unchecked.

You should abstain from eating foods that have hidden cholesterol, including:

  • sugary foods
  • salad dressings
  • peanuts and peanut butter

Food that can induce or worsen diarrhea should be also avoided. These include:

  • coffee and other caffeinated drinks
  • dairy products
  • spicy meals

Post Gallbladder Surgery Diet Tips

Some people may be advised to take a liquid diet after cholecystectomy. This is to reduce digestive stress that can come when eating solid food directly after the operation, and to clear out anesthesia from the system.

A clear liquid diet consists of:

  • soups or broths
  • tea
  • fruit juice
  • clear decaffeinated sodas
  • sports drinks
  • Jell-O and popsicles

Ingestion of bile salts after gallbladder removal may also be recommended in some cases to supplement digestion of fats. However, this should be taken as a last resort and if fats cannot be avoided in the diet.

bile salts

What Are Bile Salts?

Bile salts are steroids with detergent properties, which are used to emulsify lipids in food passing through the intestine to enable fat digestion and absorption through the intestinal wall.

They breakdown saturated fats into unsaturated fats. This is helpful for individuals without a gallbladder.

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When constantly struck with diarrhea or constipation, it is important to review your gall bladder removal diet to check if excess fats are being ingested or if the body is having difficulties adjusting to the bile levels in the intestine.

Chronic diarrhea is very common after a cholecystectomy. To fight diarrhea and constipation, some doctors recommend the BRAT diet after gall bladder removal: bananas, rice, applesauce, tea or toast. If pain continues, medical intervention should be sought.

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1 comment

  1. Galen Crandall jr.

    On 12 June, 2014, Dr. Grife (out of Fredricksburg, Md.),was hired by the White River Jct., Vt. VA to remove my gall bladder . The main result of his deed was an umbilical hernia and consistent, painful, neuromas. The hernia was repaired in December but neuroma pains remains. After injections by Pain Clinic (Dartmouth Hitchcock medical Center, Lebanon, N.H.) showed possible pain relief for a limited period of time it was recommended that neuromas be excised. That was December, ’14. Finally, after numerous letters including to the Director of the VA (which to her credit resulted in action started) I will be seeing a surgeon from DHMC at the VA on 22 June, 2015 for an evaluation as to a solution to alleviate pain. (On my 81st birthday!) Incidentally, the GI persons at the VA essentially washed their hands of my problem until the Directors associate got involved. The gastroenterologist suggested that the real problem was that I had a very low threshold for pain, that what I called a level “7” would only be a twinge to most people. After I showed him the report from the Pain Clinic doctor at DHMC he decided maybe I should see the surgeon capable of doing the neuroma surgery. I also showed him letters from WEBMD where it was not uncommon for neuromas to result after gall bladder surgery, and that some doctors when not knowing what action to take would claim the patient over-rated their pain level.
    Bottom line: I’m hoping that the evaluation on 06/22/15 will lead to at least an easing of the pain.
    I’ve been going to the Vt. VA for more than 40 years and have bragged about the care. (This included open chest surgery for removal of a cancerous thymus gland, a procedure discontinued a number of years back for lack of funds but which the present Director hopes to restore.) I’ve ceased my bragging this past year as the “old VA” never allowed a patient to go so long without a resolution to ones pain.
    Thank you,
    Galen A. Crandall jr., CPO, USN, Ret.


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