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Monday, March 4, 2013

Post Gallbladder Surgery Diet

What To Eat After Gallbladder Surgery


Wondering about your diet after gallbladder surgery? I was too! Many doctors will tell you that you can return to a normal diet after a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) But, for many people that is simply not the case. So, what can you eat? Are there any foods you should avoid? Keep reading to find out!

I had my gallbladder removed using a procedure called laparoscopic cholecystectomy in October 2010. The fact that it was a laparoscopic surgery meant that the healing process after surgery was faster and easier. However, my doctor told me it was still important to make sure that I ate the right foods after surgery to aid in healing and avoid digestive issues.

A few days after my surgery I started to feel hungry again and then I started to really wonder what exactly the right foods were. So, I've done a lot of research on the topic and decided to share it here so that others can hopefully benefit from my experience! If you will be having surgery or know someone who is having surgery to remove the gallbladder, I hope you find this useful!
What is a Gallbladder?

And Why Do I Need One?

Gallbladder
I assume if you're preparing to have your gallbladder out then you know what it does but I will provide a brief description just in case!

The gallbladder is located in your upper right abdomen, sort of behind your liver. The gallbladder stores the bile that the liver creates. Bile is important for digestion. After you eat your gallbladder releases bile to help break down the food.

Sometimes gallbladders get "sick" and stop working right. You may develop Cholecystitis which is a swelling of the gallbladder. Cholecystitis can be caused by gallstones but it also may be caused by infection. If Cholecystitis and gallstones go untreated they can cause the gallbladder to burst which is a very serious emergency. For these reasons, it is often recommended that the Gallbladder be removed.

Despite what some people may tell you, the gallbladder is an important organ. No, it's not necessary to have one to live but it does make life easier (unless it goes bad!) After gallbladder removal the liver has to work harder to help digest foods and filter waste. The liver can no longer rely on the gallbladder to store the bile it produces which means the bile is continuously dripping out of the liver into your stomach.

When you eat a meal that is high in fat the liver must work extra hard to try to provide enough bile to help you digest the fat. For these reasons, it's very important to watch what you eat after gallbladder removal. Your body will eventually adjust and you will most likely be able to start eating food that you enjoy again but this can take months or even years.
Your Diet 24 Hours Post Surgery
For the first 2-3 days after surgery you probably won't be very hungry. Anesthesia can cause nausea and it is generally recommended that you stay on a clear liquid diet for 24 hours after surgery - until the anesthesia has cleared out of your system completely.

Also, remember that although the outside of your body does not look very traumatized (if you had a laparoscopic surgery) your body did just go through a trauma. Your organs are adjusting to the effects of the gas that was used during surgery as well as the fact that an organ was removed. A clear liquid diet means that you can pretty much eat anything you can see through.
  • Water
  • Broth
  • Jell-O
  • Fruit Juice Without Pulp (Apple Juice, Grape Juice and Cranberry Juice
  • Clear Soda (Avoid Caffeine)
  • Tea
  • Popsicles (Without Bits of Fruit)

Foods To Avoid

There are some foods that should be avoided after gallbladder surgery. Generally, any foods that gave you pain before surgery will need to be avoided. It will take awhile for your body to learn how to digest fats so you should stick to a low fat diet for at least a few weeks after surgery and reintroduce them very slowly. Dairy products and too much fiber can also cause problems.

The BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) should be avoided if you are having problems with constipation. However, if you are having diarrhea you may want to eat more of these foods.

Every one should avoid these:
  • Fried Food
  • Dairy Products Especially Cheese
  • Peanut Butter
  • Red Meat
  • Greasy Foods
  • Raw Vegetables
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol (especially if you're on prescription pain pills!)

Peanut Butter Fast Fact

Did You Know...?
Peanut Butter has 16 grams of fat and 200 calories per 2 tablespoon serving? The fat content is the reason you may want to avoid peanut butter after gallbladder surgery.

Your Diet 1-2 Weeks Post Surgery

Chicken Noodle SoupAfter 24 hours you should be clear to start eating more solid food. Remember to take it slow. Instead of eating 3 big meals, spread it out to 5 or 6 very small meals over the course of the day. I know from personal experience, that I felt full even after eating only a little bit! Listen to your body and if you start feeling full, stop eating!

You can of course continue to eat items from the clear liquid diet. Your nausea may return even a few days after surgery. Sometimes a little broth or tea will help you feel better when you're feeling nauseous.

It would be impossible to list everything that may be tolerated since everyone is different. Some people will be able to tolerate more foods sooner than others. I have listed some suggestions based on what worked for me and what I have heard worked for other people.

  • Soup (Avoid creamy soups. Chicken & Noodles or similar soups are good)
  • Get A Tasty Chicken Noodle Soup recipe here!

  • Mashed Potatoes (Mix broth in with the potatoes instead of butter)

  • Fruits (Don't eat too many Bananas if you're having problems with constipation)

  • Toast (Use minimal amounts of butter - or none at all)

  • Rice (Avoid if you are having problems with constipation)

  • Applesauce (Avoid if you are having problems with constipation)

  • Oatmeal

  • Chicken (Not Fried!)

  • Crackers


  • Bile Salts

    Bile Salts can help aid in the digestion of fats. They seem to work particularly well for people who have had their gallbladders removed and can not tolerate fatty meals.

    Your Diet 3 Weeks Post Surgery And Beyond
    Healthy MealYou should be able to start re-introducing your old favorite foods 3 or 4 weeks after surgery. Remember to take it slow and listen to your body. It could take months for your body to completely adjust to the removal of your gallbladder.

    If your diet was poor before surgery you should probably not plan to return to the same diet after you have healed from surgery. For the health of your liver you want to keep fat intake to a minimal level. As with any healthy diet, you want to keep your meals well balanced with fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains and dairy.

    Be careful not to eat too much in one sitting. Your body will most likely digest food more slowly and eating too much will cause indigestion. Add new food back into your diet slowly and listen to your body. If something makes you sick return to more bland foods for awhile and try again in a week or so.

    Food To Help You Heal

    and to help you live healthy!

    There are certain food that will help your body heal faster and maintain optimum health. Try to add some of the foods listed below to your diet to help your incisions heal and help you get back to "normal" faster!

    For the rest of your life your liver will be compensating for the loss of your gallbladder so it's important to eat foods that help support the liver. It's also important to eat for the health of your intestinal tract which will help you avoid indigestion. The following food will help support your liver and intestines and should be fairly easy for your body to handle.
    • High Fiber Foods (Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains)
    • Non-Fat Yogurt
    • Flax Seed Oil or Hemp Seed Oil (contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and can be taken in supplement form)
    • Protein (Fish and chicken are best. Beef and pork should be avoided)
    • Cottage Cheese

    Dealing With Diarrhea

    It's not fun to talk about, but diarrhea is a problem for many people who have had their gall bladders out. Here are some tips for preventing and treating diarrhea after gallbladder surgery.

    Foods To Avoid:
  • Dairy Products
  • Caffeine
  • Really Sugary Foods
  • Greasy foods


  • Foods To Eat
    Maintain a normal healthy diet when you're suffering from diarrhea and add the following:
  • BRAT Diet - Bananas, Rice, Applesauce & Toast
  • Yogurt can help build up the good bacteria in your gut to prevent and treat diarrhea
  • Drink lots of water. You should normally have half your body weight in ounces every day - drink extra when you're dealing with diarrhea.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/post-gallbladder-surgery-diet

    26 comments:

    1. Thank you for your post.

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    2. I am looking for something to make my gf for valentines day I am in college becoming a chef so cooking is not a problem just need to no of something really nice I can make her can some one please help me

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    3. Thank you so much for posting the food list for after gall bladder removal surgery. I wish I found this sooner. It has been a week for me and I can't seem to escape any pain and I realized I'm making dumb food decisions. Making a new grocery list now. Great piece!

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    4. Thanks for the idea. I had gallbladder surgery 5 days ago and am still having pain. I ate a little food and it hurt so bad i am back to popcicles. I think i rushed it, and after doing some reading this is going to be a life changing experience. Hoping it helps me lose weight too.

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    5. I had gall bladder surgery a week ago and have had pain ever since especially when I eat and it doesn't matter what I eat. Thank you for the list.

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      1. I had gall bladder out on April 7th. I have been hurting ever since. CT scan turned out nothing, guess I'm not eating right. Looking for a good low fat diet.

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    6. Friends my burning type of pain lasted for about 6 weeks after my surgery. Felt like my insides were on fire. After 2 months I started back in with the nausea, that's when I cut the majority of my fat out of my diet, and I started to feel better. I also take Ox Bile twice a day. I lost 45 pounds as well.

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    7. I had surgery just over a week ago and about midway through the week developed about 4 days of diarhea, whether I ate saltine crackers or nothing at all. It was horrible. The dr recommended Activia (a probiotic yogurt) to try to reduce bad bacteria in my stomach and created good bacteria in my stomach. He also said bad bacteria can develop after being on an anti biotic, which I was in surgery. He also said to take immodium. So I ate Activia light and it stayed in, I tried plain white rice and boiled chicken together with salt and a little apple cider vinegar for flavor and one immodium pill. It helped and stayed in, this is where I started to mend. I am a few days past that and still afraid to eat. Yesterday I made canned biscuits and made an egg, no butter, no grease, and ate the egg biscuit and it went right through me. The biscuit had butter built into it, so I think that was the culprit. Ive had eggs 3 times this week and all times they made me sick. So I think I'm done with them for a while. Ive been ok with a small bowl of cereal, like toasted chex with a little sugar. Ive also been ok with baked potatoes with sour cream. But at this point I think I need protein.

      How can I get protein without the meat, which seems to be bad to eat (other than chicken)? Any one have ideas?

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      1. Try some reduced fat peanut butter, turkey bacon, extra lean turkey burger, reduced fat hot dogs, fat free lunch meat, popcorn. All sources of protein. Eggs have 5 grams of fat each, so ease off them for a while. Read labels on everything. Try getting some ox bile and take a pill at breakfast and one at dinner. This should help a bit too. It's sold at specialty stores or on the internet.

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      2. I had my gallbladder removed 2 weeks ago. I had my first loose bowel after four days and I figured, it was my fiber pills and since then, I stopped taking them. I have been reading food to eat and not to eat, eggs yolks has a high calories and fat but if you eat just the white, you'll be okay. I only eat steamed fish and chicken for protein and it does good to my body. I started taking probiotic and eating Activia yogurt as well. I stay away from butter and I used a little bit of olive oil because of its Omega 6. I stayed away from vegetables for a while because it doesn't digest and I end up in the bathroom after that. Stay away from sugar especially artificial sweetener, it will cause diarrhea. I suggest you cook instead of buying ready made meal. This will help you to recover quickly and avoid a lot of salt and diarrhea.

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    8. Thank you soo much!! I read here to try to stay 3 grams of fat and under. I am going to try what you've suggested. I haven't tried anything outside of boiled or baked chicken (plain) and a rotisserie without the skin. So when I get my courage up I will try what youve suggested with meat. Thank you again!

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    9. It's been a month since my surgery. I have had to learn to eat differently and I have found out that doing a Mediterrean or Asian methods of cooking is best. I rarely eat any meat now; now it's chicken, turkey and shrimp (I'm allergic to fish), very little dairy and NO butter. I am substituting extra virgin olive oil for butter, I can not tolerate any cow's milk so now it's Silk Almond milk and goat cheese. I need to eat every two hours and it could only be an apple, or 1/2 sandwich to fill me up. I have found out that eating more vegetables and fruits is the way to go. I used to eat out all the time, and now I have to carefully plan my meals and cook, and rarely eat out, because most restaurants cook with butters or non healthy oils/fats. So I don't take the risk anymore.

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    10. For quick proteins on the run, trail mix or mixed nuts. They are good source of protein and have heart healthy fats.

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    11. Thank you for the advice. I miss chesse. I'll wait a few more weeks until I eat any.

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    12. Thank you for the post. Was confused on what to eat after my gallbladder removal. Made some bad decisions. :( thanks for the help :)

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    13. I am 6 weeks out from surgery. After a couple days of careful eating I went to what I ate before. I found out that was a bad idea. So I started eating bland and really watching the fats; they add up quickly! It is hard to remember to not eat the quantity I used to eat. At meals, I am generally eating about 1/2 of what I did before surgery. If I eat too much at a meal, I am not afraid to skip a meal. I've even skipped breakfast because I ate too much the night before and I feel like I am still digesting it. I've started to have yogurt for breakfast, usually nonfat/low fat greek. I make sure it has live cultures to help with digestion. I do need to have a snack mid morning and mid afternoon but not always. I carry granola bars or fruit if I am on the go. I have found that restaurants are accommodating and the new wrap rage is very good for a go to menu item.

      I have to remind myself: WATER, WATER, WATER! If I don't drink enough water in a day, I pay for it. I get a little constipated. I have had alcohol recently. Wine spritzer, and Jameson/Ginger Ale but I made it a little weak 2 oz Jameson to a can of Ginger Ale instead of 3 oz. The alcohol didn't bother me.

      I am constantly being mindful of what I eat and how will the change in my digestion system work with it. Stomach acid (bile) is used to break down food, and the system is now changed. It is now a constant drip instead of the amount needed, when needed.

      Sorry so long. But this has been a learning process, meal by meal.

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    14. Thank you soo much!! I study here to try to remain 3 grms of fat and under. I am going to try what you've recommended. I have not tried anything outside of boiled or cooked poultry (plain) and a rotisserie without the epidermis.

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    15. Thank you all for your comments! I'm so glad that we can all help each other. That's what this blog is all about, helping each other to get through, and figure out how to live as normal as we can. If anyone has any information, recipes, or help out there, please let me know, I'd love to post what you have. Thanks again!

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    16. I am getting my gallbladder out tomorrow due to abnormal functionality/ pain (no stones). I must say, I am very scared.
      Should I consult with my doctor before taking the Ox Bile? Also, had anyone had troubles with Tofu?
      Thanks!

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      Replies
      1. I would for sure ask your doc about the Ox Bile. The docs didn't tell me anything. I found the Ox Bile on my own. It certainly helps!

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    17. Hey guys I had mine removed a few days ago and have been reading some scary things online. I know that for every bad story there are 100 good stories. I was hoping that someone can help me feel better. I was reading that when your gallbladder is removed your life expectancy is lowered considerably. Also that now that it's gone your liver is working 2x as hard and may develop liver stones or fail. Can anyone talk about this to make me feel better? Thank you.

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    18. the pink font on the green background makes it impossible to read your blog

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    19. Sorry it was so hard to read. I changed it to black. Hope that helps! Thanks for your input.

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    20. I had my gallbladder removed a week ago. To add to this, i also have Crohns disease. I have been watching whst i eat for years now so it is something that i'm use to doing.

      Your report was very insightful. Thank you. Due to the Crohns disease, i'm unable yo eat dairy so this won't affect me. I already eat a low fibre and bland diet due to the disease. Now i can add low fat to the mix.

      Wow! What a challenge? My backup had always been 'hot chips'. Now that's gone. I think it'll be trial and error for a while until we get to know what works for our 'changed' bodies.

      Thanks again for the information. And wish everyone 'happy snd healthy' changes!

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    21. I had my gallbladder out on 8th Oct, and am feeling good. Just a bit of swelling still and tender round my middle. I have not had a problem with the food that I've eaten so far. Probably because I have pretty much stuck to eating soups. I made Minestrone with lots of fresh veg. Cauliflower soup, and a couple of shop bought chicken and veg soups. Activia 0 Fat yogurt for breakfast and quite a few plain Digestive biscuits. After surgery i had a problem with constipation and have been taking 1 Dulcolax each evening which seems to have solved the problem. Good luck and eat sensibly and hopefully all should be good!

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    22. Hi, Gallbladder removed last wednesday 8th Oct. I have eaten lots of fresh soup ie. Minestrone, Chicken, etc. and Tea coffee and digestive biscuits so far no ill effects. Also have Activia 0 Fat yoghurt for breakfast and sometimes a piece of toast. Am slowly building up to more solid food as all is well at the moment. A bit of discomfort around my middle still but taking it easy and not lifting anything to heavy. Good luck all and eat healthy

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