What is the gallbladder and what can you expect if you need to have yours removed? The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped sack. It acts a storage reservoir for bile that is created by the liver. Bile is produced in the liver and moves through tiny canals to the duodenum (the small intestine) and the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores the bile so it is available to add the needed bile after a meal is eaten.
When a meal is eaten, especially a fatty meal, cause a release of the hormone, cholecystokinin. This hormone signals the valve at the end of bile duct to relax and the gallbladder to contract. This essentially squirts the concentrated liquid bile into the small intestine to help break down the fats.
Over million people in the United States have their gallbladders removed every year. In about 60% of those cases patients report having pain free, gas free and no bloating. This is the best case scenario that everyone is looking for. But out of every ten cholecystectomis, 4 people will still have problems and symptoms.
If you have your gallbladder removed you may still have bile problems. One of the side effects of gallbladder removal surgery may be the dumping of bile. The liver becomes overwhelmed with even a small amount of fat and simply dumps the all available bile into the intestine. This sends the patient running to the bathroom immediately after eating. In this case you could end up with chronic diarrhea.
Another possible side effect is a decrease in the secretion of bile. If the bile produced in the liver becomes thick and sluggish it becomes painful as it moves from the liver to the small intestine. Bile stones can form in the liver in this case and be very painful.
After surgery if you have indigestion, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea you will feel like you are having a gallbladder attack. Psotcholecystectomy syndrome is what physicians call this collection of symptoms. About 40% of people who undergo the surgery will have these symptoms.
Is it hopeless? No there are many things you can do with diets and cleanses that can help alleviate some of the problems. Many alternative options exist and help a great many people. You and your physician should work together to find the best course of action for you. Sometimes it's as simple as adding some bile salts to you diet. Sometimes it's a major life style change. What ever it takes to feel good and be healthy should be your ultimate goal.
Sometimes my sister still swears it's worth a little bit of pain to eat French fries, not often, but some times.