Gall Bladder "Diet"

Updated on December 06, 2008
A.G. asks from Royal Oak, MI
26 answers

To all you wonderful Moms out there with great advice, I come to you again! I am having my gall bladder removed next week and I understand there are changes I will have to make in my diet. I should have made changes already but I'm not very good at that. Are there any moms out there who have had their gall bladder removed? First, how was the surgery for you/recovery time? And second, any suggestions for diet. My biggest problem is I am such a picky eater and there are so many things I do not like (eggs, rice, fish and lunch meat being at the top). So any advice you can offer is appreciated!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much to everyone for your wonderful advice and for sharing your own experiences. I did have my gall bladder removed and felt great after about 4 days. Everyone was shocked that I was up and moving so soon. I did wait a week or so before I carried my daughter around because she's so heavy. Diet wise, I haven't really changed much. The doctor said I didn't need to follow a low-fat diet anymore. There are some foods so far that put me in the bathroom, but I am writing them down and staying away from them!! Trial and error I guess. Thank you again.

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R.G.

answers from Detroit on

I was told that the only thing that you may have to alter for a while is greasy food, spicy food, and alcohol. :)

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K.F.

answers from Detroit on

You have a ton of good advice on here. When my husband had his gallbladder removed, our entire house had to make changes. There was a good point made by another mom below that said to spread out the fats and stay away from high fat and especially deep fried food. SO TRUE! My husband wakes up with terrible cramps and runs to the RR all day whenever we eat out. My advice would be to also make sure that you don't eat really fast and make sure to chew your food really well. When you scarf food down and don't chew it enough, it also makes it harder for the food to break down. Don't get too worked up about it though, this experience isn't nearly as bad as the gall bladder attacks. Good luck!

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K.V.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A., It's funny that you mention this, since my husband had his out on Monday of this week. He is sore, but not resting like he should. Doc said he could go back to work when he was off the meds, so he didn't take them and went to work the next day, he is paying for it! They told him to go on a low fat diet for a couple of weeks, but it looks like they left out the part about it being a permanent low fat diet. He can have 5 oz of meat a day(low fat) and has a list of cautious foods, like beef roast pork chops, etc, and a list of don't eat foods.

The surgery started at 7:30am, surgery was done at 8:45, and I was driving him home at 11:30. It will be swollen and painful, get some vernors or soda to drink wehn you get home, you will be full of gas and that will hurt. They told him to drink soda to make himself burp and get the air out. I am not sure what hurt him worse, the gas or the burping, but like I said, he isn't taking pain meds, since they cause him constipation and other problems. Take it easy, don't lift the kids, but you can hold the baby if put in your arms. Rest and relax, and let everything else go for a couple of weeks.

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V.G.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I have not had my gall bladder out, however my husband did when our youngest daughter was only a week old. For him it was an emergency surgery. However, they were still able to remove it with the scopes. His surgery was late afternoon, he was out of surgery within a couple hours (I believe he was done by 5:00) and he got to home that night. The doctor's didn't think that he would, but he has a high pain tolerance and was able to hold down food - so he went home.

Recovery - he couldn't lift the girls (even the new born). However, we could put them by him, or in his arms and he could hold them. He was only out of work for a week. Over all, his recovery wasn't to bad. He was able to control the pain with the perscription meds just fine.

Diet - we weren't given to much a long the lines of a what diet he should follow. However, we did learn a couple things by trial and error. I will start by saying that my husband has NOT altered his diet at all. He just knows that he could "pay" for something he has ate. The big thing that causes problem is greasy foods. The price, so you know, is liquid bowel movements. He also knows that he will have to visit a restroom within an hour of eating. All in all (and he has admitted this), his acid reflux causes more problems than a missing gall bladder.

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N.H.

answers from Jackson on

A. - - I'm old enough to be your grandmother and I had my gall bladder out a few years ago. It was done laproscopicly (sp?) so I have 5 little scars. The surgery was done at 11:30 a.m. and I was home from the hospital by 3:30 p.m. I had two days of minor pain, handled well by Tylenol 3. As far as diet goes, I stayed away from ice cream, whipped cream, bacon and other fats that were trouble makers before the surgery. A few months later I added them back with regular meals, always in moderation. Good luck with the surgery. Keep a positive attitude and you will be OK. N.

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D.E.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A. I had my gall bladder removed in 1996, i the the laproscopic surgery with the little incisions and one thru the belly button, the surgeon kept me off work for a month and as i can remember I was uncomfortable but not unbareable. As far as the diet goes at first until my body adjusted it didn't matter much what I ate it all ran thru me, it was a difficult time. I still have that issues occassionally. I was neevr told to alter my diet, I did try to eat things that maybe wouldn't move thru so quickly, but I really ate what i wanted. which was wonderful because up until i went into the hospital on new years 95-96, i could not eat at all due to the unbelievable pain my gall bladder caused me. I was admited thru emergency and spent a week in the hospital before I had mine out. Good luck to you.

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J.S.

answers from Detroit on

For me I was in a lot of pain the day of the surgery, but I was fine enough to go home the next day. They gave me some pain killers to take at home, but I was nursing my 3 months old at the time so I didn't take them and I was sore, but I managed.
As far as a pre-surgery diet I can't offer much advice, mine was an emergency surgery so I never had a diet to follow before, I do know that your supposed to stay away from fats. But after the surgery and feeling better, your able to eat whatever you want.
GL!

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M.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

My dad had his out and his recovery was pretty quick. His was laproscopic (sp?).

The main thing is avoiding fatty or greasy foods. Keep things simple and the least processed and you should do pretty well. I'm sure everyone is different, so there are some "bad for you" things that you might be able to tolerate and others that are "safe" that you can't.

My dad eats what he pleases and does ok most of the time, but then every few months he gets pancreatitis (the gall bladder was the main cause of this, so that's why it was removed) so to me it would make sense to change the diet and not deal with hospitalization and great pain. But some people won't change. ;)

Good luck and be sure to consult the dietitian after your surgery for some ideas on what exactly to avoid.

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F.W.

answers from Detroit on

It is my understanding that the diet for gall baldder problems is no fat. It is the fat that can't be digested, so learn the fat content of what you eat and stay away from those. I'm also told that some people can tolerate some at, so you will learn what you can and can't eat by trial and error. Good luck with your surgery.

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D.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

A., i had my gall bladder out, but years ago, i had the old fashioned surgery where they cut you wide open , today the surgery is mush more simplier, the results are better, today they go in scopically, and take it out that way, the recover time is outpatient, and is much much shorter then i have had, the gall bladder is a resevoir for the bile that the liver makes, it holds the bile, until you eat, then as the stomach releases the food, to the digestive system the bile is released, to help break the food down, with out the gall bladder, this bile now comes straight from the liver into the digestive system, i was not told about any certain diet, nor have i had any issues with any kinds of foods, however before it was removed, i had to not eat greasy foods, they would make it flame up and cause me pain, after wards i was able to eat anything, and have done so without issues for about 20 years now, ive also known others without a special diet, i have noticed however, that the continual of bile has caused more bowel movements, instead of maybe one a day, two to three of them, which is not that hard to get used to, i would think your recovery time is about a week, or whatever your dr told yah, just relax and dont fret it, it will be over before you know it, and you wont miss your little gall bladder one bit, take care hope this helps, D. s

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L.U.

answers from Lansing on

Your gall bladder stored bile, which was released as you needed it to emulsify fat that you ate. Without the gall bladder, your bile will be a steady stream, and so if you eat a high fat meal, you will not have enough bile to emulsify it, and you will get cramps and diarrhea. So... the diet to follow is low-fat, and to spread the fats out through the day. Do not "save up" all your daily fats for a rich meal, you will not be able to handle all the fats at once. You can still have some fats ( and should, because there are essential fatty acids that you need in your diet), just limit concentrated fats like deep fried foods, creamy dishes,butter, nuts,full fat salad dressings, etc. and spread them out throughout the day. Best of luck. L.

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D.H.

answers from Detroit on

A. ~
I had my gallbladder out a couple of years ago.
The gallbladder diet is really low fat, non-spicey foods. The gallbladder excretes bile to break-down fat when you eat it, so that can cause an attack. After surgery, see what happens. I didn't have any problems....I had the most pain for the 1st 3 days, but after that it was not too bad. A couple days after surgery, I ate a cheeseburger and fries and didn't have any problems. You liver will continue to make bile, it just will not have anyplace to store it anymore. On the other hand, one of the girls I work with had dumping syndrome after her surgery. If she ate things that disagreed with her (caffeine, fatty foods...) she would all of a sudden have to go to the bathroom. I don't think that happens to too many people. Most people I know are off work 2 - 4 weeks, depending on their doctor and the type of work they do. You won't be able to pick up your baby very well for the first couple of days...you might want to sleep in a recliner if you have one (easier to get in & out of compared to the bed). Take your meds, rest, take it easy....Like I said, the 1st 3 days are the worst.
Good Luck!
D.

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M.M.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.-

I had my gall bladder out last year. The surgery was a piece of cake. They kept me overnite becuase I had gone to ER later in the day. But, the next day I came home and went to Costco-I had a little pain, but not even enough to get my pain med RX filled. I just took tylenol. I was however, back in the hospital 3 days later with pancreatitis. It felt like I was having another "attack"-they said that is common with people who have just had their gall bladder out-they thought I may have passed another gall stone that was in the duct and not seen during surgery-the worst part about that was that they had me on IV fluids only for the first day, then clear liquid diet for 2 days following. But overall the whole experience was no biggie at all-I was back at work within a few days. I eat all the same foods I did before-no diet changes at all.

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N.W.

answers from Lansing on

I have my GB removed while going to college for healthcare. I had it out the fri before spring break and was back to school the next mon. It was an outpatient procedure and getting up after surg to go home was very rough but I took my meds and slept the rest of the day.
Day two was a little better. Your abd feels very gassy due to the air they used to expand your abd. But it goes away. I was up and around and more comfortable by day 4 I just wish I watched my weight(lifting) restrictions back at my internship.
I asked a doctor at my clinical site about food restrictions before my surg and he said that it would be min.
I even asked if I should get the pill for fatty foods so I wouldn't be in pain but he said it probably wouldn't be needed. And for the most part I don't have half the pains I had before i had it out. Hope you have an easy recovery.

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C.M.

answers from Detroit on

I had mine out about 8-9 years ago. The only real changes that I had to make were watching the high fat foods, because those would cause reflux, I also had to eat something about every 2-3 hours or else I got diarrhea. I just kept small things on hand like the packaged cheese and crackers, single serving applesauce, and yougurt. I really did not have a large change that I had to do. The dr said to follow it for about 6 months then slowly start going back to your presurgery "diet". You do this so that your liver can learn how to regulate the bile it releases to the stomach. As far as the surgery, it was very easy, but my recovery was longer than usual, since I was sick with this for almost a year before they finally decided to do surgery. I was about 2 weeks before I felt "normal" again.

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C.E.

answers from Detroit on

I see that you've got lots of advice, but I'll put in my two cents.

I don't know how much pain you're in, but I would not have the surgery. Your gall bladder is there for a reason. My doctor told me to live with the pain or have my gall bladder removed. I said, no thank you, I'll take option C. I went to an herbalist and got some herbs to make a tea and I haven't had problems since.

The herbalist I went to is George at Ancient Formula in Ann Arbor. He's on Plymouth Road about 2 miles West of US23. His phone number is ###-###-####. If you call, he'll most likely tell you that he's there from noon to 10:00 pm every day, but there's a fairly good possibilty that if you stop by in those times, he won't be there. He's good and he's passionate about his work, but it might be hard to catch him at the store. I prefer to use natural remedies whenever possible and I get them from George.

Best of luck, whatever you decide to do!

C.

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M.S.

answers from Lansing on

First off this is a VERY common thing after having a child, I never knew that until I myself had to have mine out but my Dr told me that 1 out of 3 women have problems with there gallbladder after having a child. Yes surgery is very scary but this procedure is pretty routine. Anyway,
do you know the pain and absolute helplessness your feeling when you have an attach (atleast when I had an attach I was in fetal position and couldn't do anything because the pain was so unbearable, compared to my labor pains the gall bladder was 10 times worse for me) well that pain will finally go away forever :) Having that surgery was the best decision I've ever made, the pain is gone and depending on the saverity of your gall bladder you don't have to change anything. At least I didn't have to, I eat everything I did before hand and then some things I couldn't eat before, and I haven't had a problem with heart burn since my surgery 2 years ago, its great. I mean yeah for a few weeks after surgery you have to be careful about what you eat but that goes with every surgery. If you follow a halfway desent diet, lower in fats/oils/starches (this includes butter) something everyone including myself need to do anyway, than you will be fine. My recovery time wasn't bad I would say I was back to myself in 2-3 weeks but this also depends on how bad your gall bladder is and how they have to go in and remove it. I had the scope surgery but my best friends father had his out and had a 4-5 inch insicion under his rib because his gall bladder was so bad they couldn't do it with a scope and that took quite a while longer to recover from. Oh and I was told that I would have a problem with "loose" bowels but that wasn't the case for me either but my friends father did have a problem so you might want to watch out for that just in case. I hope this helps you and answers your question but if you have any more questions please feel free to right me back.

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J.S.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I have had my gall bladder removed..i had the laproscopic surgery done. the surgery was obviously easy and it was outpatient so i went home the same day.. i want to warn you tho that when you wake up after the surgery is done u seriously feel like you cant breathe .. like there is something really heavy sitting on your chest.. and others that i talk to that have had theres taken out felt the same way but its normal.. i was back to work after 2 weeks but couldnt lift more then 10lbs i believe. i had a csection with my son and i dont take pain well and it was almost but not quite as painful. coughing sucks and it hurts really bad and laughing is also aweful .. certain food upset my stomach and ( not to be gross ) the food just runs right threw you so after you eat be close to a bathroom ..im not suppose to eat fatty / greasy foods, eggs bother me .. i get heartburn quite often dark pops gives me a pain in my side where the gall bladder was at. i get an upset stomach when i eat foods i shouldnt almost like i could be sick. all do to not having a gall bladder to filter out the food and drinks.. food that you should be eat prolly arent the ones you want to all the time so frsh veggies and fruits .. lean meat and if you do eat red meat its suppose to be fully cooked so if you eat a steak or hamburger it has to be well done. good luck with the surgery and i hope i helped and atleast gave you an idea of what its like ..
J.

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S.R.

answers from Detroit on

I know several people who have had their gall bladder removed and all reacted differently. My husband can eat anything and is not bothered by things that did bother him before. My sister, too. She had years of digestive problems that were misdiagnosed because she had 1 BIG stone that wasn't easy to see. Now she has some diarrhea with fatty foods. Another friend has to be on constant meds to control the diarrhea. Others continued to have pain eating anything. The gall bladder was "designed" to help digest large quantities of fatty meat when we were eating a lot after the hunt, and then starving until the next meal. It's attached to the bile duct and excretes extra bile when triggered by fat in the diet. We eat so much now, that it gets over stimulated and not rally needed, although that seems to be controversial away from the MD community. I've heard it called the disease of overweight middle aged women, which I take offense to! But its the most common "type" to get it. I personally have controlled my gall bladder discomfort, and maybe avoided disease, with diet for several years. I started with a "cleanse" and now I'm just careful about eating large servings of meat and use olive oil and try to eat low fat in general. I heard pears, radishes, olive oil and lemon juice are good for the GB. I have stones but seem to be able to pass them. I understand the diet changes are hard to make, but you'll need to if you don't react well or you could suffer. I think diet could have affect on the need for surgery, but I don't think its the same for everyone. My husband was the last I'd expect to get GB disease as he's not much of a meat eater and doesn't like rich foods. It could be his unhealthy GB was making those things less appealing? Also, some people gain weight after removal, others don't. I do know that the surgery is pretty low impact and recovery quick and that the MDs don't have much to say about diet. How your body will react to the loss of the GB you'll have to wait and see. Good luck!

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M.K.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A. -

Looks like you already received a lot of responses...but here is one more! I had my gallbladder out about 4 years ago and it was an easy surgery for me. I was up and around right after and back to work a few days later. You will be sore, but it really isn't that bad - get some pants with a loose waistband...hospital scrubs worked great for me.

As for diet, I have not had to change anything. I would say wait and see how it goes. You will know what things don't agree with you...your body will tell you! I eat a pretty healthy diet low in fat most of the time anyways, but I wouldn't worry too much until you have too!

Good luck and all the best for a speedy recovery!

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D.E.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.!
I had my gall bladder removed in 2004. My surgery was the laser. The only problem i had with that was the horrendous gas pain! i had that for 24 hours very painful. Other than that recovery went well. I am a picky eater as well. I have not changed my diet much and i am still doing well! I did cut out the fast food though. My doc said that is the main thing to cut out because of the high fat. Ok i hope this helps!

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S.S.

answers from Detroit on

A couple of years ago I had my gall bladder removed. I don't remember the recovery being difficult because they use tiny little cuts to do the job.

If you find a special diet, I guess I'd like to hear it. I've never heard that before! I did add dietary supplements to my life to be sure to get the nutrients broken down that I need. Everyone should do that though. If you have a question about what I take, let me know. Otherwise, rest easy. It's not so bad.

S.

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C.T.

answers from Detroit on

i had my gall bladder out in may. i was kept over nite, my oxygen levels kept going down cuz of the antsthia. i didnt have a diet after sugery. ive been eating whatever i want and no problems. i was sore at the 3 incesion marks and my stomach muscles for about a week. good luck to you!!

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P.R.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi, A.. I had my gall bladder removed in March of 2005, when my oldest son was just 3 months old. I don't recall the actual diet they told me to follow before my surgery, but I know it was low fat. After the surgery, I went back to my normal diet. I do get diarrhea if I eat fatty or fried foods, though, so I try to avoid them.

The surgery was outpatient. I went in early in the morning and was out by 3 in the afternoon. They did put me under anesthesia, which was a new experience for me. It was quite strange waking up to a nurse asking me to cough so she could take the tube out. My throat was sore for a day or so. I was told not to pick up anything over ten lbs, which is hard when you have a small baby. I had friends stay with me the next day to help take care of my son, which was tougher for me than the pain. It sucks not being able to pick up your child. Recovery time was quick. After a few days I was taking care of my baby on my own and completely off any pain medication, even tylenol. The scarring was minimal.

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M.A.

answers from Lansing on

Dear A. G, I also am a mom whom has had her gall bladder removed. It's been several years but i can still remember. My son was almost 6 months old and i was in terrible pain. I had several gall bladder attacks before they ended up doing emergency surgery because the doctor at the time kept putting it off as reflux disorder. Anyway, the surgery went well. It was painful afterward for about 3 weeks. But my gall bladder was on the verge of bursting. So i experienced more pain than normal. Recovery time really wasn't that bad. Take care of yourself and let others help you with any thing they can. Diet wise, N food with a lot of fat or grease. blan at first then slowing start introducing more foods into your body. That worked for me. Hope it works for you and good luck with you surgery. M.

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A.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi A., I had my gall bladder out in '06, and had horrible complications from the surgery. There was a bile leak, and my insides filled up with it. I was in the hospital for over a week, and almost died. Not to scare you, because there is only a 1% chance of that happing to you. I just want to say, listen to your body, you know it best. If you think something is wrong, it probablly is. Ask questions, and trust yourself. As far as after the surgery, I haven't had to change my diet, or eat anything special, or avoid anything either. Some people do though, you'll just have to try things and see how it goes. I did notice when I got pregnant again after the surgery I had dirareah for a bit, and then it went away. Dr. said it was my body getting used to the baby, and after a couple weeks, it righted itself, by itself. Good luck to you, this is a very common procedure, and i'm sure you'll be fine.

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