After I had my gall bladder taken out I suffered with constipation. Is it normal?

The gall bladder is the sac like organ that is used by the body to store bile that is prepared by the liver between meals. The gall bladder is located on the right side of the abdomen and just under the liver. Once the meal is completed, the gall bladder then pushes the bile stored by it into the intestine wherein the bile mixes with the fat and food. Bile is absolutely essential for the smooth functioning of the digestive tract as it helps in the digestion of fat and its movement from the intestine to the other parts of the body. Gall bladder removal surgery is required when the chemical balance of bile that is stored in the gall bladder is hampered which in turn makes the bile solid and form gall bladder stones. This surgery is also known as cholecystectomy.

After the surgery, once the gall bladder is removed, the bile that is prepared by the liver does not have any place to be stored in between meal and hence flows directly into the intestine to mix with the fat and food. Constipation, diarrhea, lowered heart rate and fatigue are common side effects post gall bladder surgery and are considered normal. diarrhea occurs on account of the change in the manner in which bile is transported to the intestine. However, the diarrhea is known to stop on its own once the body adjusts to not having a gall bladder. Constipation post surgery can be controlled and stopped by increasing the intake of fiber rich foods in one's daily diet. Fiber absorbs water and thereby speeds up the digestion process and creates soft excrement. Typical foods that are known to be rich in fiber are potatoes, whole grains, nuts, greens, peas and so on. Foods that should be avoided post gall bladder surgery include refined flour, junk foods, overly spicy food and the like. Some doctors also advise patients recovering from gall bladder surgery to go on a liquid diet as far as possible or to follow a diet that is rich in fiber, proteins but low in carbohydrates. Additionally, post gall bladder removal surgery, the individual should have short light meals during the day and not overeat so as to not put added pressure on the digestive system. Intake of fatty foods should be reduced whereas the intake of water and liquids should increase. Adequate rest and sleep are also essential for a complete recovery post gall bladder surgery.

answered by M W

Gallbladder removal surgery is at times necessary and unavoidable, but should be a last resort for good reason. The gallbladder plays an important role in the digestive process and stores the bile produced by the liver. When you consume food it releases this bile into the intestine to facilitate digestion. Bile is necessary as it helps in the absorption or digestion of fat from the intestine to the body. After the gallbladder is removed, bile produced in the liver can not be stored between and saved for meals. It has to be produced and utilized as and when needed. Whenever bile is produced by the liver it therefore gets released directly into the intestine. This means that there is bile in the intestines for the digestion and transfer of fat, but in a smaller quantity, which may prove inadequate for some diets.

Fat does not need to be eliminated and can still be digested but your intake must be restricted and controlled. Eating smaller meals with greater frequency (3 -4 times a day) instead of two large meals will help greatly as it eliminates the pressure that is placed on your digestive process from a large meal. Digestive issues like the constipation indigestion that you are facing are quite common post surgery and it should be no cause for alarm. Unrestricted fat intake after surgery could lead to diarrhea or bloating and puffiness. The amount of fat that your body can take however may vary slightly from patient to patient.

The most important measures that you can take to avoid indigestion or any other digestive disorder would therefore be to make the appropriate dietary modifications. More important than the foods you should consume are the ones you need to avoid. Make sure your diet does not include any fried foods, spicy foods, pastries, whole grain breads, baked beans, cereals, seeds, cabbage, broccoli, peanuts, and cauliflower.

On the other hand you can include skinned fish and chicken, eggs, skimmed milk, soups, salads, low fat cheese, yogurt, legumes, and grilled fish or chicken.

Keep in mind that it is important that you follow a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. For a short period following the surgery a liquid diet is advisable and if not feasible, you should at least consider following a semi-liquid diet. These of course should follow the nutritional guidelines of being non fatty and low in carbohydrates.

answered by S D

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