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Gallbladder Diet Before and After Gallbladder Removal Surgery

If a patient has been diagnosed with gallstones and even if it is asymptomatic, they are generally advised to undergo Cholecystectomy or Gallbladder removal surgery as soon as possible. Additionally, they are cautioned to watch out on their diet so that the gallstones present do not turn symptomatic and cause a problem. If they do undergo a gallbladder removal surgery, then the next question that arises in their mind is what about their diet immediately after the surgery and in the long run for the rest of their life as they have to cope without a gallbladder. This blog tries and addresses the gallbladder diet before and after a gallbladder removal surgery or Cholecystectomy.

How are gallstones diagnosed in the normal course?

In the normal course, gallstones are diagnosed only if they turn symptomatic. That is when patients are presented with the typical pain symptoms associated with the presence of gallstones. A sudden sharp, radiating pain in the right side of the abdomen which might last for few hours and then subside only to come back is a typical symptom. Pain after each meal and aversion to fatty food are the general symptoms which make them visit a surgeon. Some people might be presenting with symptoms like vomiting and a general nauseated feeling. Gallbladder surgeons out of their experience can diagnose the symptoms and can trace it to the gallbladder. But to confirm the seriousness and to understand the nature and volume of the gallstones, an ultrasound or CT scan report will be asked for.

If the patient is a health conscious and does a mandatory yearly checkup the gallstones might show up in the gallbladder if they take a full abdomen ultrasound. Yet they might hardly show any symptoms associated with the presence of gallstones. These patients are typically advised to keep an eye on their diet so that the gallstones do not turn symptomatic. However here is the disclaimer – It is not just the diet that determines the formation of gallstones there are many factors responsible for their formation and diet is one among them. A woman in her late 40s is five times more vulnerable to gallstone formation due to the link between female hormones and gallstones. So we are emphasizing a point clearly that since diet control is in a patient’s hand they can at least wield influence on this factor. The popular saying goes like, “Diet is the only modifiable factor in any ailments”.

What Diet should be followed for asymptomatic gallstones?

There is a notion that consumption of oil and fatty food should be completely stopped so that the gallstones problems are not aggravated. Actually, there is no substance to this argument. Remember the body needs good fat.

As a matter of fact, only if foods with healthy fat are consumed the bile in the gallbladder are used and circulated. So the process of using up the stored bile is necessary for it to not solidify and form gallstones. The key is to strike a balance. Here is a summary of how their diet pattern should be.

  • As a general rule avoid junk foods and eating out too often. Even if you are eating outside once in a while, look for healthier options.
  • Include a liberal amount of fiber in your food. It can be in the form of greens, fibrous vegetables and fruits and complex carbohydrates like millets and hand-pounded rice. The best thing about fibers is they not only slow down the metabolism of carbohydrates which is widely known, but they also inhibit full reabsorption of bile in the digested food back in the body. This is actually good for the health of the gallbladder as the bile flow is fresh and rejuvenated.
  • Severely limit the consumption of desserts, sweets, ice creams, processed fruit juices and adding sugar to home-made fruit juices. Promotes bile stasis – Food high in sugar does not give any role for the gallbladder and hence they cause gallstones.
  • Include healthy nuts like badam and walnuts. These nuts supply your body with healthy fat which is essential to keep your bile flow cycle normal and healthy.
  • If you are non-vegetarian, you can include lean meat like chicken and mutton.
  • As a general rule prefer shallow-fried food to deep-fried foods.
  • When it comes to oil or fat, prefer clarified butter or ghee or nei, butter, coconut oil and sesame oil in moderations. The fat intake should be restricted to 20%-25% of your total calories intake. In this way, you can maintain a healthy diet.
  • Drink minimum 6-8 cups of water a day.
  • You should either quit alcohol or you should severely limit its intake.

Can you diet for weight loss if you have gallstones?

If you are overweight or obese and have been diagnosed with gallstones, your dieting can very well be on the above lines. Some people prefer diet types like LCHF (Low Carb High Fat). The important point to emphasize is being loyal to whatever healthy diet pattern you are following. Never quit and resume dieting according to your whims and fancies – just be consistent. But extreme dieting like a warrior diet in some diet plans should be avoided if you are diagnosed for the presence of gallstones. It is not worth taking any risks. Keep in mind that your weight loss has to be gradual.

What Diet should be followed immediately after a Gallbladder Removal Surgery?

The gallbladder surgeon or the gastric surgeon who performed the gallbladder removal surgery would prescribe you the diet for few weeks after the surgery. You can gradually introduce more items in your food. Generally, after the gallbladder is removed, most people have diarrhea and this is quite normal. Sometimes it can go on for a couple of months and this is not to be worried. It is called postcholecystectomy diarrhea. Digestive problems after a gallbladder removal surgery are quite common and this is not to be worried. Keep your surgeon posted on the status of your diarrhea everytime you visit.

What Diet should be followed after a Gallbladder Removal Surgery?

  • After the gallbladder is removed, there is no storage for the bile secreted by the liver. The constantly produced bile now drains directly into the intestine only. So logically speaking, food that is rich in fat, and that which is heavy in quantity have to be avoided.
  • As a general rule, an individual with no gallbladder should adopt a lifestyle where they eat smaller meals in a frequent interval. As a matter of fact, eating in small portions is recommended for everyone.
  • Including fiber liberally in your diet can be beneficial on the whole. The most important factor is to watch what you eat.
  • Check if you developed any digestion problem after having a specific food. If the same food is causing a problem once again, then it is better to avoid that specific food once for all.
  • Go slow on junk food and fatty food. It is always better to avoid them totally for life. After all, you do not gain any nutrition value out of them but for making you obese and unhealthy.
  • Generally, food rich in the complex carb, fiber, protein, and dietary fat, all in smaller portions are recommended after a gallbladder removal surgery.

Can you diet for weight loss after gallbladder removal surgery?

Any form of dieting induces a certain discipline in your food consumption pattern. So is it safe to go on an LCHF diet or another diet pattern after having the gallbladders removed? It is always better to take a cautious approach when you want to begin dieting. The best is to keep your surgeon in the loop and take his advice before beginning. Take food in small portions and check how your body responds. As a general rule, any diet type that promotes intermittent fasting for long hours should be avoided. This is because such intermittent fasting is proceeded by loading the body with fatty food after the long hours of fasting. Since your body does not have stored bile, the food loaded with a fatty acid is going to cause extreme uneasiness to get digested. So avoid extreme dieting like warrior diet in LCHF.

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