Dieting with Obstacles - Gallstone/gallbladder surgery a warning to others !

03-15-2006, 12:39 AM
Hi ladies and gents,

I recently found out that I have one huge gallstone blocking my gallbladder and I have to have surgery with removal of my gallbladder. It was a cholesterol stone and often these are common in people who are trying to lose weight, especially women, as low calorie diets causes the liver to secrete more cholesterol into the gallbladder upsetting the normal balance - hence a stone is sometimes formed.

There are other factors that can cause this though such as obesity (to high fat diets) and woman are particularly prone. Anyway I have lost 25kg in the last 6-9months very slowly( I thought) only reducing my intake by about 500 cals a day + exercise, yet I am also trying very hard! as most of you are and have cut out alot of fat.

All I want to stress is that yes anyone can really be susceptible to this, especially those trying to lose weight and if you get stomach aches even little one go see your doctor and request an ultrasound looking for gallstones as some can be fine, you don't need to bother and it's kind of fun to see how your insides are going and doesn't feel bad at all to have done! Just keep a clear head about your dieting and exercise and take your time, feels like you can never win sometimes - finally loosing weight and now surgery ! Anyway it's a very common thing and I don't want to put anyone off losing weight(which I doubt I would anyway most people would train with pain even after being overweight for so long!) but just wanted to say to look after yourselves too not just in the 'loosing fat for health sense'.

I also just wanted to hear from anyone else who has had these problems/having these problems and what it was like after surgery in terms of losing weight still, do you also feel any different apart from no more attacks ? I sometimes get a sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach it feels like that when I eat some foods/drinks anyone else relate ? (these are seperate from those horrible gallstone attacks tough as I know some people have experienced !) - good little fact sheet on gallstones for anyone interested

thanks and keep up the good work on your weight loss journey !

03-15-2006, 01:45 AM
I had originally posted this in reply to some other people's comments on using Phen-Phen, but I also agree my gallbladder surgery had a lot to do with extreme dieting......It's tough to learn the hard way!

***Warning about Phentermine!!!!*****

I don't mean to be a downer here or on your weight loss plan, but a few years back my husband & I both took Phentermine (Phen-Phen) from a weight loss clinic (w/ a doctor's supervision & all) and both lost 30 lbs. each in 2-3 months. First of all, that's way too fast! I developed gallstones and had to have my gallbladder removed! And that wasn't the worst of it. Now I have problems with my heart, it flutters quite a bit, and usually while I'm at rest (caffeine makes it worse). So, I not only had to have gallbladder surgery because of the Phentermine, I also have permanent heart damage. It was a quick way to lose weight, but now it's a real concern for me. The last time I went to the dentist, on their paperwork they ask if you have ever taken phen-phen. The reason being, if you have any heart damage from it you have to take an antibiotic before having them work on your teeth, something about getting bacteria in your bloodstream can be dangerous.

Just thought I'd share. I don't want others to go through the same thing!

03-15-2006, 01:48 AM
I had the surgery almost 4 years ago and had no major complications. I don't tolerate a lot of high fat meals without feeling just kind of an "indigestion" feeling, but no major changes aside from no more pain. I would just say after your surgery don't lay around, get up and move. The abdominal cavity is filled with gas, at least for the laproscopic version. If you don't get up and move around that gas pain can be horrible. So, take your pain meds the first couple days so you can get up and walk around. It's really not a bad surgery; recovery is quick and no more of those awful attacks. Good luck!!

03-15-2006, 10:51 PM
A male office mate of mine went through something similar. His situation was somewhat ironic as 5 years earlier he'd complained of problems & they kept saying it was GB when it turned out he was having major heart problems & eventually had a heart attack & he ended up having bypass surgery. They had run stress test at the time, but they compared him to 'normal' 50 year olds when he was use to running 5-10miles a day, everyday...of course he did better on the treadmil stress test then most 50 years olds, since most of them aren't that active.

Fast forward 5 years & he's completely cleaned up his diet & is a total vegetarian when he starts having problems again. He looked so bad that if his wife wasn't almost at the office to pick him up & take him to the hospital, one of us was going to- we all thought it was his heart for certain. Given his history, the doctor assume its heart again too- nope, everything is fine...which they discover after the cardiac catheterization. This time around it was his gall bladder, which then he had to wait several weeks before they could remove it because he got an infection from the cardiac cath procedure he didn't need in the first place. They did tell him it was pretty common when someone went from a higher fat diet to a low fat diet, as he had done, to eventually have the GB cause problems. It doesn't seem fair- you can go on eating fatty foods & you might not have any problems, but eat healthy and your gall bladder gets mad :?:

So far, I've been lucky when it comes to GB stuff. WHich considering all the other GI problems I've had, is kind of strange. They even sent me for a Hidda scan last fall, which was perfectly normal...other then the first tech didn't fully explain when she said the test would take an hour that I would be laying on the xray table for the entire hour. I was use to test were they take a few xrays, wait a while & take a few more- I did not think I would be stuck there that long & unfortunetly my bladder didn't either, so I finally had to ask to get up after 45 minutes to use the restroom :o Thankfully it didn't affect the test results or anything, but I've warned all my friends that if they have to go for a Hidda scan, to use the bathroom first :D

03-15-2006, 11:56 PM
I had outpatient gallbladder surgery and I didn't have any problems. I had a low tolerance in the beginning for fattening foods, but, that didn't last too long. I think you will be fine. It is very common.:)

03-16-2006, 02:14 PM
I put up with gallbladder pain for 10 years before I finally had the surgery. For awhile, I took Actigall, which is a medication that reduces stones and it is also used as a preventative (to keep gallstones from forming) in some medically supervised diet programs. If you are embarking on a stringent weight loss program, you might want to check with your doctor. I had three other procedures at the same time I had my cholestectomy (I saved up a bunch of things) so my post surgery reaction is probably atypical. I had no interest in food for about a week! Then I could eat normally, including the things that used to cause me pain: lamb chops, bacon, onion rings, anything deep fried. However, if I eat too much of that stuff, I feel familiar twinges in the upper right quadrant.

03-17-2006, 05:10 PM
I had the surgery 10 years ago...right after (8weeks) having my daughter. The doctor said the stones are also comman after child birth as I later found out one of my sisters had to have hers out after having her daughter as well. I didn't have any attacks until one night I had this awful pain in my chest I thought I was having a heart attack. Went to the ER and I was told it was heart burn. They gave me an RX and was sent home. Then the stomach pain started .....seem to only hurt after eating...then the pain was getting worse even drinking a sip of water was making it hurt. Then it was finally to the point of pain that I would rather have been in labor...yes labor didn't even hurt as bad. Went back to the ER and thats when they told me it was my gall bladder and i would need surgery before the pain would go of the stones was stuck and was blocking the food and water from going to my stomach. I was in the hospital for 5 days they were waiting for me to pass the stone or they were going to go in and remove it. THANKFULLY it didn't have to be removed and passed on it's own .....didn't like the sound of how they were going to remove it and I will save all of you the details. After the surgery I had heart burn a lot and fatty foods would make me sick. Now ten years later....I hardly ever get heart burn but fatty foods still bother me I don't get sick but do get a stomach ache. The surgery it self wasn't to bad. First waking up after surgery was the worst for me..then came the nurse with pain meds and all was well. I was sent home with pain pills and orders not to pick up my daughter for 2 days. I missed her so much there was no way I couldn't pick her up...gave it that afternoon and was picking her up...took one of the pain pills and they knocked me out ....didn't take anymore after the one and didn't really need them after that first night home.

Rowan Bailey
03-20-2006, 11:18 AM
I am going to have this surgery next month. I think that a history of low carb, high fat diets and yo you dieting has congtributed to this.

I am having it done laproscopic surgery as long as they can do it that way, and on the 7th I am having an endoscopy / colonoscopy (I am being put out for both of them) to determinne if there is anything else going on that can be corrected with the surgery.

I have felt for a long time that something was wrong, had these symptoms for about four years now. I thought that the indigestion, upset stomach, diahhera, bloating and wind was just a product of my obesity...apparently not....

In the meantime I can't eat anything with fat in it, and I can only eat things like baked potatos with ff sour cream, plain pasta with boiled chicken and carrots that are cooked beyond having a vitamin in it.... I miss salads right now.

The delay is due to work right now, I do taxes and this is my busiest time...can't do it now without my entire client base freaking out...and I can't afford to lose any clients right now....

I was going to try and control it with diet, but being that it will make the weight loss process more difficult and I would probably end up having it done later on anyhow, I am opting to do it sooner rather than later...hoping that it will make me feel better and I will be more motivated to eat healthy.

03-21-2006, 08:02 PM
Familiar story. I was 28 and had just had a baby six months earlier. I had dieted my entire life. I had morning,day and evening sickness from the first week or pregnancy to the day before I delivered. After my son was born I went to the emergency room 2-3 times in mid attack and was told that I was hyperventilating and basically that there was nothing wrong with me. For the last attack I went to another hospital and was immediately admitted for the surgery. This was 23 years ago. I still can not eat fatty foods without suffering from acid indigestion and acid reflux. I think the weight loss attempts, giving birth and I have even heard that native americans are more prone to GB problems. Almost all of my female cousins had theirs removed after giving birth to their first babies so at least it runs in families.

I wish everyone having this operation a swift recovery and know that you will feel so much better when it is over. Good luck to all.

03-21-2006, 08:08 PM
I'm 2 year out of gallbladder surgery. Recovery was easy...I still have trouble with high fat foods. I agree with the above post aboutgetting up and moving. The gas they use tends to drift up to your right shoulder and hurts like all get out. Be sure to avoid lifting more than 10-15 lbs for about 30 days after surgery. Good Luck!!!

03-21-2006, 08:22 PM
I had my gallbladder removed in 1999 and talk about relief. I gave birth to my firstborn in 1998 and had the worst morning sickness imaginable and missed a ton of work. The surgeon that removed my gallbladder in 1999 said that my gallbladder was to blame for all of my morning sickness.

Rowan Bailey
03-22-2006, 12:46 AM
Thanks it is comforting to hear all of these positive results.....

03-23-2006, 11:46 AM
I also had GB surgery like 4 yrs ago, because it was rotten, I have also took Phen phen and thank god I'm ok. no problems yet. Since my GB surgery I have gained weight and hav problem with my colon, anything I eat I have Diarehha. I guess diffrent people have diffrent reactions.

03-23-2006, 12:35 PM
I had my gallbladder taken out about 7 or 8 months ago. I was having pain off and on for about a year before that. Finally it came and wouldnt go away weird colored stool and I had yellowing of my skin and eyes(jundice) so I went to the ER, They said I had gallstones and because of them I also had paincreatitis(sp). So out came my gallbladder and I had to be on a clear liquid diet for a few days and a very light diet and do not over eat 2 weeks after that due to the paincreatitis. The surgery was fine. I had it laproscopy. The only thing was I have asthma so after surgery I had a hard time breathing, I dont know if it was from the stuff they used to put me under or the morpheen they gave after. But that was the only pain meds I got. They kept trying to offer me some but I was fine with just tylonal.They said it is most common in white females, being over weight, and having children. I now have diarrhea alot. I dont know if it is caused by fatty foods or what. I just ate what I wanted after the 2 weeks. Now I am dieting, trying to keep my fat low but I dont really notice any differance. I have read that diarrhea can be a side effect, some times its so bad that people have to take meds for it but I think it is not too common. It has something to do with the bile not having anywhere to be stored, sometimes the liver will take it and sometimes it dont, I guess. mine is not that bad and it comes and goes. @ first though and sometimes still, I have to go so bad and it comes on so suddenly that if I dont hurry I feel like it will come out on its own, it hasnt thankfully. but I guess that is part of it because that never happened before unless I had the flu, but its differant from even that. Its hard to explain. But it raerly(sp) happens now! Sometimes I get a tummy ache but I always get tummy aches anyways and Ive always had acid reflux, indegestion and heartburn from being over weight so no way to know if it is causing that or not. Good luck!

03-23-2006, 12:43 PM
I have IBS-D and I've suffered from it before I had my gallbladder removed so I didn't notice any change in my bathroom habits so to speak. I know the more water I drink the better my bowels treat me. ;)

03-24-2006, 08:03 PM
thanks for all the detailed posts, I'm having it done laproscopic way also and Rowan I completely relate as your post is exactly what I thought about it all - I too am having the endoscopy while I'm under. I was wondering if it effects weight loss after but I guess different people have different reactions ? The hard part is I feel absolutely fine when i eat healthy, no pains nothing and have only had pains 1-2 times a year on and off but when they hit (after a fatty meal) woah !! I would take it out myself ! thanks again

05-02-2006, 05:55 PM
Hi there!
I had an acute gallbladder attack 1 year ago, resulting in emergency surgery (thank goodness the MD did it through laproscopy!). I have had no side effects and no consequences since then. I had no warning before my attack, and I would recommend that anyone who knows that they have gallstones with a history of pain/attacks get it removed before it becomes a medical emergency.
With respect to the surgery, I had absolutely NO pain post-operatively (didn't even take one painkiller). I have had a laproscopy before with lots more pain than this one. It was done in a day surgery setting at my local hospital without complications. You should be just fine!
Best of luck!

05-04-2006, 05:01 AM
Had mine out a year ago this month and my weight is up and having trouble losing the few I gained over the winter. Still have pain in the incision site around the naval and can't wear anything tight on my tummy but gall bladder pain is gone! I guess it had to come out........the surgery itself is not bad..but the first 3 days are killers!

05-04-2006, 11:13 AM
I had my gallbladder out about 10 years ago after 3 misdiagnosed severe attacks. The last attack put me in the hospital for 3 days before I was stable enough to have surgery to remove it.

I sometimes still get phantom gallbladder pains, but I have other stomach & food sensitivity issues I'm still working through. I definitely can't tolerate any fried/greasy foods, but as far as I'm concerned that's a good thing. :)

05-06-2006, 08:34 PM
I've now lost 170 pounds (original weight 310 - current weight 140) in about 18 months. There wasn't any of what I consider "extreme" dieting since I did it with the help of WW's CORE plan. I just had an ultrasound on wednesday and got a call that very evening from my doctor. They found "sludge" in my gallbladder and some crystals had already started to form so I'm supposed to hear from my surgeon early next week. I know it's common and was already aware that drastic weight loss can and often does contribute to gall bladder disease. If that's my only probelem after 15 years of obesity...I consider myself incredibly lucky. :)

total cholesterol = 110
LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) = 57
body fat percentage = 19%

Surgery schmugery! - lol I'm still a happy girl

05-06-2006, 09:04 PM
My hubby had his taken out and he felt great immediately afterwards. He says he feels SO much better now! He had 19 stones in his.

05-23-2006, 10:04 PM
Just an update for those of you who are reading this and going to have the same surgery etc

I have been and gone, had my surgery about 4 weeks ago - was an absolute breeze ! No pain after, just really tired and when I woke up from being under it was like just waking up in the morning from sleep, I was even dreaming about my boyfriend hehe. Was really weird how easy it actually was and not as frightening as one would think.

I took no pain meds through it and was free to go early the next day, I stayed on my couch for about a 3 days and just pottered around home. I just felt as though I'd done 1000 situps and needed to rest my muscles, but no pian what so ever. The incisions/scars are very small too, I was suprised how small they are 2 1-2cm size ones and 2 0.5cm size ones. I was fine in about a week to two weeks, suprised I felt no pain what so ever and since then eating and bathroom etc is all normal and exactly like before. I was eating normally the next day. I have a few slight pains in my back from time to time, where I used to get gallstone attack pains but they are fading and my surgeon said it would go away in time and I haven't had one for ages now so they are going. I had it done the laproscopic way and also had an endoscopy while I was under to examine my stomach.

good luck to those who are having there's done ! thanks for the input from the others too.