Dieting with Obstacles - Postcholecystectomy syndrome anyone?

11-13-2011, 07:31 PM
Basically, when having your gallbladder out screws you up just as much or more, LOL.

I have no issues with lower GI, thankfully. But I have constant right upper quadrant pain and have had several episodes of gastritis, plus GERD. I'd love to lose weight but my stomach issues dictate what I can or can't eat. I can only seem to tolerate low fat, low protein, moderate fiber.

11-14-2011, 07:52 AM
No, but I've been told that I will have to have my gall bladder out (still waiting to see the surgeon), so you're making me nervous!

I know there are a lot of people on this forum who have had gall bladder issues. If you don't get many answers to this post, it might be worth asking a mod to change the title to something which includes "gall bladder" so that more people realise what it's about.

11-18-2011, 07:49 AM
No, but I've been told that I will have to have my gall bladder out (still waiting to see the surgeon), so you're making me nervous!

You do not have to have it out. My gastro said I had to since I had a massive stone (slightly smaller that the organ itself, wow!), but he recently said that it might just have been better to have left it in. You can ask about things like stone busting meds if needed or other alternatives. The only reason why I would think that you MUST have it out is if it is essentially dead (happened to my sister).

But most people with this problem have to do, or have it pushed on them by the situation, some serious lifestyle adjustments,

I know for me, having no gallbladder limits alot of green veggies and acidic fruits from my diet. I actually tried to diet and that was what kicked off my illness--stupid alfalfa greens. Which is problematic since most diets demand these "healthy foods".

Another problem could be that you become, "GI Diabetic". This is a term I coined about me. Since my gallbladder surgery, I have learned that I have to eat a substantial meal every 12 hours or I get very sick (Severe IBS and nearly debilitating stomach pain and exhaustive black-out fatigue for hours). This is because (i believe, and my gastro agrees with me) that my body builds up a level of bile (since there is no GB to hold it anymore) and stomach acid, if it does not have something to "munch" on, AKA soak it up, so once that happens and I try to put something in my stomach, the large level has to released somewhere, so it goes straight through my intestines like liquid fire (well it is 2 major acids).

While this might not seem like a problem at first glance--oh it is, especially at night. I usually go to bed around 11-1, so I have to have a decent size meal (both a sandwich and a yogurt or something like that) at 10:30 so I do not get sick. While this late night snack hasn't really had me gain weight (merely maintain it, or creep up only a few lbs). I know this late night meal is not conducive to many diet plans at all.

So overall, I know what you're feeling Soyrizo, and while you might not have my issues, Eso, you probably will have some problems and the most 'curing' you will get would be hit or miss self treatment (like diet and schedule etc.)--which is what happened to me. Most of my 'treatments' from the doc only resulted in pain, and the ones I have now to treat (not prevent, unfortunately) I found out through trail and error myself, painful trial and error.

I am sorry if I have scared you, but I want to give you a realistic outcome that has been from this surgery. If I had known that this would be or could have been my fate, I probably would have not had the surgery (perhaps as a last resort). This is because, while they say most major problems go away in 6 mths, it has been 2 years and I am still dealing with these problems.

P.S. my opinion is not a physician's opinion, and everyone reacts differently to this surgery. But remember it is surgery, and its removing an organ!

11-19-2011, 01:52 PM
The doctor who did the ultrasound said that my gall bladder pretty much isn't functioning by now and is just going to grow new stones if the current ones are removed, from what I recall. I'm not experienced in interpreting ultrasound screens, but it looked like my gall bladder was chock full of stones. But I could have misunderstood or wrongly interpreted her, so I will certainly be checking this again. I haven't been given a date yet to see the surgeon, and I've had so much going on that I haven't had time anyway. I'm quite worried about undergoing any medical procedure that requires that much time in hospital, as I'm very ill long-term and the hospitals have always been poor at dealing with both my medical condition and my dietary requirements. I'm going to ask about all possibilities.

The thing that drives me mad online is that so many people start urging you to do mad things with olive oil instead of having medical treatment, even though the so-called gall bladder/liver flushes have been thoroughly proven to be complete scams.

Your experience sounds horrible, and I'm so sorry that you're going through that. One thing I'm wondering about: I thought that the the gall bladder only comes into play for a small proportion of the total bile produced in the body? And that non-surgical treatments for removing gall stones had a poor success rate, high side effect rate, and a high rate of gallstone recurrence?

11-19-2011, 04:19 PM
I had my gallbladder out 15 years ago after many attacks. I had a little trouble with some green veggies, like lettuce, for a few months. My body adjusted and I have experienced no problems since that time.

11-19-2011, 04:47 PM
What's the story with green vegetables? I'd been told that fat triggers attacks, and that's certainly true of my first two attacks. However, my third attack (still not 100% sure it was a gallstone attack, as I hit it with a lot of meds as soon as I recognised the pain and got it to relatively manageable levels) happened on a day when I ate very little fat. The only thing I ate that day which I don't usually eat was brussels sprouts. That said, I eat green veg all the time without trouble.

11-20-2011, 05:20 AM
What's the story with green vegetables?

They are harder to process/digest so when you have problems with the Gb, which helps digestion, it could cause problems. I know, Alfalfa sprouts actually is what kicked off my GB issue.

Also, you said earlier that

I thought that the the gall bladder only comes into play for a small proportion of the total bile produced in the body,

No it doesn't. the liver produces the bile, but the GB STORES it and releases it into the S.I. So when that doesn't work, it messes up the entire GI tract since the food wouldn't be able to be digested properly. That means bad times ahead, captain!

11-21-2011, 07:03 AM
Sorry, but that's really not the case. If it were, gall bladder removal would not be happening all over the place with most people doing fine afterwards. (Even a small percentage of people having problems can seem a huge number when it's applied to such a common operation, remember.) Storage of bile isn't actually necessary these days, according to this surgeon (

11-21-2011, 08:01 AM
what's not the case? About the Green Veggies?

According to the website "Gallbladderattack":
"Many steamed greens like collard, mustard and kale, also brussel sprouts and broccoli seem to be a problem for some people. Greens (and especially kale and brussel sprouts) are used by the liver to detoxify... Your goal should get to the point where these foods do not cause distress, as they actually target the root of the problem."

While not all people have problems with green veggies, some (like, me, my sister, and my mom, who all had our GBs out within a 6 yr span) do have problems. Its all trial and error, to find the foods that are harmful to you.

About the Importance and role of the Gallbladder:
From the University of Maryland Medical Center:Gallbladder Disease
The gallbladder is a sac located under the liver. It stores and concentrates bile produced in the liver. Bile aids in the digestion of fats, and is released from the gallbladder into the upper small intestine (duodenum) in response to food, especially fats.

Types of gallbladder disease include:

* Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
* Cholelithiasis (gallstones)

You can have gallstones without any symptoms. However, if the stones are large, they can block the duct that leads from the gallbladder. This can cause pain and require treatment. At first they may block the duct and move away, causing only occasional pain. Continuous blockage of the duct, however, can be life threatening and requires surgical removal of the gallbladder.

Its a natural mechanism for the body to store bile (since the is a organ for it). I know the body can adjust to not having to store the bile, and those that it doesn't (does small# of cases the surgery gives complications, like me) are not the norm.

Another note:
I like to think that the rise of GB removal, has some link to the massive rise in processed food levels around the world. I think that could have some valid correlations.

All disagreements aside, I decided against going to Med school (gastroenterology wouldn't have been my chosen field anyway), so I'm not a doctor now, just a person who has lived through this and wants to help others, like you.

P.S. that gallbladderattack website, has a lot of beneficial information on it about alternatives to surgery or stuff to help.

11-21-2011, 04:24 PM
The gallbladderattack site is pushing the "liver flush" scam, so I'm not going to trust its recommendations for alternatives to surgery. That doesn't mean that it hasn't picked up bits of useful information mixed in with the nonsense, though. I'll stay off brussels sprouts for the time being as they've already caused an attack, and they list kale as another one that's very likely to cause trouble, so I won't eat that either. At least I found out that it wasn't just my imagination about the brussels sprouts before Christmas!

The surgeon whose blog I linked to theorises that the extra bit of bile squirted in by the gallbladder was useful back in the days when humans might starve for a day or two before their next meal, then have a huge amount of fatty food to digest at once. These days we're not eating like that, we're eating small amounts near-constantly instead, so it's not generally needed, the constant dripping of bile from the liver does the job fine. That's what's meant to be going on, and by the sound of it, it does work that way for the majority of people. Then you get the unlucky minority for whom it doesn't work out quite as it's meant to. My body does a hll of a lot of things it's not meant to, or does things wrong, so I never assume anything will work out as planned.

The main thing I'm worried about at the moment is how my dodgy gallbladder relates to my CFIDS/ME. There may be a higher than expected rate of gallstones with CFIDS patients, although considering how common gallstones are, it could be that they turn up a surprising amount whenever you ask any group of people. CFIDS buggers up your muscles in a variety of not-very-well-researched ways, and the vast majority of doctors don't know a thing about how all of this works. When I mentioned that I have weak muscles due to the CFIDS and maybe that's interfering in proper gallbladder contraction, the doctor who did my ultrasound said, "Oh no, it can't be that, because it's a smooth muscle." I replied that so are the muscles involved in the eyes and bladder, and both of those are affected by my CFIDS (well, my eye specialist is confident about the link, and the urologists I've seen have been clueless but it seems to be pointing that way), so she said, "In that case, possibly, but I honestly don't know how that would work." And I have a digestive tract that is less than happy in general as well, so I'm worried about how that will factor in. And I'm still less worried about all of this than I am about a bad hospital stay causing a major CFIDS relapse.

Processed food - any idea how that would work? Higher levels of fat, maybe? There are so many things going on with processed food, including a correlation with obesity, that it can be difficult to work out exactly how things relate. Somehow I doubt it'll be about members of the cabbage family in this case!

11-21-2011, 11:01 PM
You guys have given me a lot to think about. :)

I don't care for raw green vegetables, but as far as I know cooked green vegetables don't cause problems. Fatty foods sometimes do, as does coffee and NSAIDs. And sometimes I can't find a reason.

I just have this come and go severe upper abdominal pain, the same pain I had before the surgery. They saw gallstones on the U/S, and told me I had to haveit out. The pain was pretty constant and bad at that point, I tried to research it as best as I could but it was a no win situation all around. So I get the surgery and I am still in pain, but at least I don't have the threat of the GB getting infected. Sure, there's a chance I've developed chronic pancreatitis. This is also a no win situation.

Unfortunately, I've been very fatigued and hurting all over since the surgery (over 18 mo ago.) I've gone through a ton of testing and it looks like fibro or a small chance of an early stages of an autoimmune illness. I do think whatever is going on is directly linked to the surgery, and I think it's prudent to consider the effect it could have on a person with chronic illness. I went from being healthy and active to being tired all the time and in pain.

11-22-2011, 08:02 AM
Yikes. How was the hospital stay itself? Did you pick up an infection there, for instance? CFIDS can sometimes be set off by a species of physical trauma, which I suppose would include major surgery. I got it through the classic triggers of burn-out and flu myself. I'm not sure about fibro, but it's probably related to CFIDS so I'd expect similar trigger factors. Of course, untreated active gallstones can lead to something really nasty requiring much bigger surgery than the keyhole surgery you get if it's not during an active attack, which would be even worse for someone with chronic illness. I hate weighing up risks like these.

What did your surgeon say about the continuing pain, are they investigating you properly for it? It's odd to be so vague all this time later. That surgeon whose blog I linked to was saying that while the vast majority of gallbladder patients are happy campers after the gallbladder is out, sometimes you do just get these weird situations where it takes a long time to work out what's going on, if it gets discovered at all.

Out of curiosity, when you say low fat/low protein/moderate fibre, how much are you talking about? I've seen people describe anything under 40% of calories from fat as low-fat, while other people will consider it to be 10%. I'd really love to see research showing what rate of after-effects occurred in people divided up by percentage of fat in the diet, and also whether or not they were overeating generally, dieting moderately, or dieting rapidly. Rapid dieting is a known risk factor for gallstones, as is eating a lot of fat, and since so many diets these days are quite high in fat (and protein), that could b a recipe for disaster. I was dieting moderately, by the way, and getting about 27% of calories from fat when I had my first gallstone attack.

I've been fine with all other green veg that I've eaten since this started up, raw or cooked. If we look at cruciferous veg, I eat pak choi, broccoli and Savoy cabbage often enough to know that they don't seem to be problematic for me.

jessy 49
11-25-2011, 10:15 PM
Just want to say that I had my GB out over 10 years ago and have not had any trouble since except when I unwisely have a VERY high fat meal and I should deserve to have a yucky stomach ache. Normally I don't give it a second thought and never have. Hospital stay was about 8 hours. I was home in my own bed by 4 in the afternoon. I was back to my volunteer work in a week.

Soyrizo--really sounds like you have a partial blockage or excess scar tissue around the bile duct. I'd certainly keep telling the docs that it is the SAME PAIN as before surgery. But I'm certainly not a doc.

native woman
11-30-2011, 01:46 AM
my gastro doc said I needed my gb out in 2004,but due to connective tissue disease and prior history of stroke no surgeon would touch me.My bile duct became blocked and with my weight of 240 I suffered quite a bit.I tried to not complain becouse thier was not much any one could do but this last sept my gastro :kickbutt:found a surgeon who said she'd try it as my situation and pain could not go on.:nono:so she took it out useing small incisions,thank stone 2.9 centimeters big had blocked and skeletonized my duct.She cut it out and within a week I felt myself getting better.the blockage had allowed my gb to become toxic and rotten.don.t get me wromg ,yhis is a big decision and I wanted to get better and out of pain.I did have a wound infection that healed slowly but with my immune system i expected this.I have been fine since and I have lost 22 lbs .I went on a liquid diet optifast and all my dr monitor me but one thing they all agree ,My health is improving.since I am not eating solid food exceot bars and soup and shakes i dont know about veggies but Im hoping to eat them as soon as goal,about 60 lbs happens.with my gb still in I could not lose weight at all.I hope my gb is in a landfill somewhere:rollpin:for me it worked:hug::hug:to you

11-30-2011, 11:57 AM
Dear lord, that sounds horrendous. Are you saying that you were in the agonising pain of a stuck gallstone for several years?

12-12-2011, 09:30 AM

Just wanted to add my two pennies worth.

I had my gallbladder out in August 11 after having attacks since my teens (i'm now 39 and every time I had an attack I just thought it was severely trapped wind - i couldn't have even toldyou where the gall bladder was!)

The first couple of days after surgery were a bit sore and I suffered with constipation for around a month but since then I have had no problems. I'd also like to add i'm a veggie and eat lots of green things!

My last and worst attack was caused by a slice of cheese flan - and I can happily say that since my GB was taken out (it was packed fully with stones) i have eaten cheese flan with no problems.

I know some people do have problems after surgery and I hope in time these subside


01-21-2012, 08:27 AM
I had mine out about 10yrs ago. I have found my biggest problem now is if I skip a meal. I will end up sick. I also found that drinking a cola really upsets my system. If I eat often and skip sodas, Im fine for the most part.