My friend has recently had her gall bladder removed. She does not have cancer and there do not appear to be further complications however she has had repeated attacks of diarrhea. Is this common and what do you suggest?

Diarrhea can be a common finding after gall bladder surgery. Following gall bladder surgery, the liver makes more salts, therefore more salts are sent out between meals as there is nowhere to store them. Sometimes the intestines do not have the capacity to absorb these excess bile salts and this leads to secretion of fluids from the colon.

A good way to deal with diarrhea is what is known as the The BRATTY diet. This means only eating bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, tea and yogurt. They will give you all the nutrition you need while causing a constipating effect that will work on the diarrhea. This may be adopted during acute diarrhea.

Intake of fiber supplements such as psyllium husk may also help bulk up the stools, but sometimes this may have the opposite effect. Your friend can try this out for a couple of days and see if it helps. Take the husk with yogurt or orange juice.

Several herbs are known to help with diarrhea but need to be used with the advice of your health care giver:

  • Tea made from astringent herbs, like blackberry leaf Carob powder. You can also take the powder with Pedialite
  • Extract of bilberry
  • Agrimony is another common remedy for diarrhea
  • Quercetin (250 - 500 mg two to four times per day)
  • Chamomile tea
  • Slippery elm powder

The condition does not usually get worse with time and is probably not harmful, but in case of chronic diarrhea you should speak to your primary health care giver about the problem.

answered by S E

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