Digestion After Gallbladder Surgery Will Never Be The Same
Gallbladder removal surgery or, cholecystectomy, is not without side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, gas, heartburn and constipation. Pain can sometimes persist after gallbladder removal and gallstones can, unfortunately, still form in the liver bile ducts.
Our digestive process is often unconscious and we don’t think of it unless we have hunger pangs, but the function of the gallbladder and bile involves a complex set of responses in our liver, small intestines, pancreas, stomach and brain. When we eat, this complex system responds appropriately to what we eat. Animal fats are complex fats to digest because these polyglycerides have molecules so large that the body must emulsify them to use them. Fat globules are broken apart so that they can then be absorbed by the intestines and turned into energy. Surprisingly, the digestive system recycles bile and each bile salt may be reused as much as twenty times or up to three times during each meal.
Digestion Not The Same After Gallbladder Surgery
We can certainly live without a gallbladder and we can continue digesting food relatively well. Bile will still be manufactured in the liver and be released continually into the small intestine. It will no longer be concentrated however, nor will its various components be fine-tuned to specific digestive needs. The dumping of bile which flows unregulated may cause diarrhea and difficulty digesting foods with high fat content. A more common side effect after gallbladder removal is a decrease in the secretion of bile. When the liver produces thick, sluggish bile, painful symptoms and bile stones can occur in the liver bile ducts themselves.
Life After Gallbladder Surgery
Having cholelithiasis or gallbladder stones may mean considering dietary changes and non-invasive treatments first, before considering surgical removal. Cleaning up the diet with the aid of a nutritionist or dietary expert may help you to restore regular function and flow of the gallbladder and bile to reduce or eliminate stones. Bile salts or choline supplements may help your body to digest fats more efficiently.
Start Slowly On Food
Reintroduce foods very slowly. Your doctor will talk to you about starting with liquids and then reintroducing foods, which are low in fat initially. Over time you can reintroduce most of the food you like to eat and watch for signs of difficulty after each meal to keep track of what you cannot digest easily. Many people can return to a full, regular diet however high fat foods may always pose a problem for some people.
Gallbladder Symptoms After Gallbladder Surgery
Up to 50% of gallbladder surgery patients may develop postcholecystectomy syndrome that can cause ongoing bloating, diarrhea, gallbladder pain, nausea and other digestive symptoms.
After recovery, many people remain asymptomatic however it is possible to develop stones and have them lodge in a bile duct years later. Gallbladder removal does not address the source of a dietary habits or digestive problem that has caused gallstones. Various underlying problems, aside from diet, biliary duct issues, and including a malfunctioning thyroid, may cause ongoing issues if not investigated and treated. So gallbladder pain may indeed return even years after surgery, because gallstones are manufactured in the liver.
Supplementation To Help Prevent Gallbladder Pain After Surgery
Consider taking a bile salt supplement or choline to help mimic the gallbladder’s secretion during meal times.