Gallbladder removal can cause unpleasant and embarrassing side effects for some people, including gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and/or constipation. The good news is that a proper diet may help relieve these side effects. Still, some patients may need medication to experience complete relief.
Eating Plan for the Post-Gallbladder Surgery Diet
The gallbladder is a small organ that stores bile created by the liver between meals, and releases it when eating to aid the breakdown and absorption of fat. After a meal, bile enters the intestine and helps digest and transfer fat from the intestine to the body. Once the gallbladder is surgically removed, there is no longer a place for bile to be stored. The liver continues to produce it, but the bile is less concentrated. It drains continuously into the small intestine, affecting the digestion of fat and fat-soluble vitamins.
According to nutritionists at the Mayo Clinic, it is helpful to eat smaller, more frequent meals. If you're unsure about whether or not a specific food should be eaten, discuss it with a dietician.
Sample Meal Plan
Caloric needs vary widely between individuals. Please discuss your specific caloric needs with your dietician.
- 8 ounces grape, apple or vegetable juice
- 1/2 cup oatmeal with non-dairy milk alternative
- 1 cup of fresh berries
- Handful of almonds
- Grilled chicken wrap with lettuce, tomatoes and non-fat dressing
- 1/3 cup guacamole
- Sliced bell pepper, carrots, celery and/or cucumber
- 3 ounces baked or grilled salmon
- Sweet potato
- Steamed green beans
Benefits of Following a Gallbladder Diet
Removing the gallbladder will help with pain symptoms, but is not the whole answer to getting back to good health. Follow a diet that includes an abundance of healthy foods while eliminating harmful fats, but don't eliminate healthy fat from the diet. Drink an adequate amount of fluid every day to prevent stomach acids from becoming too concentrated.
People who follow this diet find they lose weight, have increased energy and become free of pain.
Reduction of Side Effects
After gallbladder surgery, side effects can vary from person to person, but there are measures you can take to avoid aggravating the digestive system. Avoid the following foods and circumstances:
- Consuming alcohol
- Eating fatty, greasy foods
- Consuming food and beverages that contain caffeine
- Eating dairy products
- Eating spicy foods
- Eating packaged foods
- Eating because of stress
Communicate With Your Dietician
Different circumstances often call for variations to a diet plan. Discuss any concerns or health issues with a doctor or dietician. Adhering to an individual, post-operative diet plan is crucial for a healthy recovery.