Gallbladder Removal Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid After Surgery

September 4, 2019

Typically, patients who have their gallbladder removed have been suffering with some discomfort around eating for a while. Most patients expect surgery to make them feel better, but the truth is, this can take some time. When the natural process of storing bile is removed, some patients experience loose stools or diarrhea. Often this resolves as the body reacclimates with the new, gallbladder-less, normal. While a strict diet after gallbladder surgery is not often prescribed, there are a few steps you can take to make the transition easier on your body. So, what should you do after a cholecystectomy surgery?

Try Smaller Meals Spread Throughout the Day

Loose stools and diarrhea are common complaints from patients following gallbladder removal. While we are not certain exactly why this occurs, it may be due to the introduction of bile to the small intestine without a meal to digest. Normally, the gallbladder only releases bile when it is time to mix with food in the small intestine. Because the bile created by your liver is no longer being stored, it is introduced directly into the small intestine. Eating smaller more frequent meals throughout the day may help by giving your system something to mix with the bile. Instead of eating large meals three times a day, try shifting to small meals spaced a few hours apart.

Increase Your Soluble Fiber Intake – But Go Slow!

To help alleviate loose stools after surgery, or even constipation from anesthesia or pain meds, it is recommended to increase the fiber in your diet. We suggest adding in fiber slowly and not to make a large, sudden increase as it may initially cause an increase in cramping and gas as your system welcomes its new friend. Fiber can be added naturally to your diet with foods like whole grains, beans and legumes or with a supplement. Soluble fiber helps to regulate your bowel movements, with bulk to keep the system moving while retaining enough moisture to keep things comfortable when the time comes to pass the waste.

Avoid High Doses of Fat

For a while after surgery, it is best to avoid fatty foods. This includes fried and greasy foods as well as things like fatty sauces and gravy. Aim for foods instead with less than 3 grams of fat per serving. Also watch out for foods that are highly processed and dairy. If you are experiencing GI issues, it may be beneficial to keep a food journal to track for any potential triggers. Knowing which foods are troublesome is helpful in identifying why you are struggling and can help you plan for avoiding them.

Other Steps to Take

For some weight loss is not uncommon after gallbladder removal. Others may gain weight as they liberalize their diets. if you begin to notice a major changes or side effects, it is important to talk to your doctor. The goal of surgery is to improve the quality of life, so if your struggles are outweighing the benefits of surgery, we want to know and help you to feel well.

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Advanced Surgical Associates is one of the first exclusively surgical groups practicing in Union County New Jersey. And that is just the first of many firsts for ASA. For over 40 years, we have pioneered breakthrough surgical patient care in North Jersey in both general and weight loss surgery. ASA also offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding to those suffering from obesity in New Jersey.
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