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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

Bowel Problems After Gallbladder Surgery

I had my gallbladder removed almost a year ago.  I've seen comments posted about this in the forum, but no real answer or explanation as to why it happens.  Luckily, I suffered no pain after the surgery; I recovered well and I am VERY HAPPY that I do not suffer through those horrible attacks anymore (the last one made me think I was going to die and I ended up in the ER with the surgery scheduled shortly after).  Anyway, I have noticed that ever since the surgery I have a MAJOR problem during and after eating.  I have to RUN to the bathroom.  I, too, am familiar with a lot of public restrooms almost anywhere I go.  Unfortunately, sometimes I choose NOT to go somewhere or NOT to eat something because I'm so afraid of what will happen later.  Is there a real medical ezplanation for this?  I asked my PCP and all he told me was to ask the doc who performed the surgery.  I was given a lot of information before the surgery, but during my TWO follow up visits, nothing about this was mentioned.  I didn't notice it until a few weeks later.  I'm ashamed to talk to anyone about it.  Is there anything that can be done?  I hate to think that this is how I have to live for the rest of my life.
132 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear N.
The urge to defecate after eating is a frequent complaint and may be related to an exaggeration of the 'gastrocolic reflex', a normal event.  There is no apparent explanation why your symptoms should begin after the surgery.  Sometimes, people will change the type or quantity of food eaten and this change can cause the complaints that you describe.

I suggest that you talk with your doctors about an evaluation for the symptoms.  Workup should include a search for structural abnormalities of the GI tract, infection, and abnormalities in absorption.  There is no reason to have this fear of eating.  Sometimes, a cause is not found but symptomatic treatments are used.
Avatar universal
I think what you descibe is frequently referred to as dumping syndrome and it occurs for some people after galbladder surgery.  My guess is that if you do a search on this site you will find more information about it.  It will be interesting to see what the doctor suggests in his/her response.  

I had my gallbladder removed about a year ago and I have some of the symptoms of dumping syndrome, but I also had them before the surgery so I'm not sure what the cause is.  Please try not to be ashamed about this or to ask questions of your doctor.  If you don't talk about it, you cant't get help and feel better!  And believe me, doctors have heard it all -- what you descirbe won't be surprising or strange to them at all.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
Yeah, actually, many folks gall bladderless have bowel problems after eating.  I know for sure, that eating a lot of fat during a meal, will cause instant need to go to the bathroom, for some folks.  You aren't alone, by a shot, and I've discovered that my surgeon seemed to act like no one has any problems after their gall bladder is removed.
    Try going to a gastroenerologist (GI) about that, and don't be embarrassed.  Because I've had major problems with my abdomen before and since my gall bladder was removed, and because doctors don't seem to know what's wrong, I've done a lot of asking from other folks who've been through this surgery and done a lot of research on the subject.  Trust me, you are NOT abnormal.  GI's won't giggle or laugh at you.  They face this all the time.  They can surely help you.
Avatar universal
I am about to make a decision to have my gallbladder removed. I had a gall attack 5 weeks ago. Since then I radically changed my diet and did Dr Sandra Cabolts "gall flush" 7 times with some success, however a second ultrasound shows that although all the gall stones are smaller there is still a number of them there. The gall bladder has healed in that time. Now a second naturopath has told me to get it out as I risk damaging the bile duct and being rushed to hospital with a chance of death. How big is that risk really?
Avatar universal
please refer previous posting
Avatar universal
I had the same problem after the removal of my gallbladder.  Twenty minutes after I ate, I would run to the bathroom.   This primarily happened after the FIRST meal of the day.  I now take Questran (commonly used to lower cholesterol) every morning.  I have to wait approximately two hours after taking the Questran before I can eat my meal without fear of experiencing the need to get to a bathroom FAST. I'm not quite sure what causes this problem.  If you have any questions, you can write to me at my EMail address - ***@****.
Avatar universal
I had my gallbladder removed back on 14 Feb. 2000 and I'm still having loose bowels and some nausea.  The last few days though I have noticed my bowels are turning black still loose.  I left a message with my doctor concerning this and still waiting for his response.  Does anyone who had recent gallbladder surgery go through this?  Is this normal after this type of surgery?  Does it really take years for your body to feel normal again (no more loose bowels,etc.)? Any advice or comments greatly appreciated. I will be glad to hear the response I get back from my surgeon.
Avatar universal
ear N. i had the same surgery in 1990. I also had the same problem afterword,s too.it finally subsided about 1 to 2 year,s later,i know that,s not very encouraging ,but at least it went away.gooooooood luck
Avatar universal
I had mine taken out when I was 10 weeks pregnant in 1995.I too have this horriable problem.I sometimes do not make it through my meal before I RUN to the pot.I have just decided to eat once a day and AVOID restraunts all together.You did not mention PAIN.I have pain that is as painful as the gall bladder attacks were.Rarely, this happens to me without eating,but it does happen.My pain is so severe that if I am driving I have to pull into a parking lot wherever and it always doubles me over.I went to the ER once and they said "oh,it's just irritable bowel syndrome"
And a doc I use to have said the same thing.A year ago I heard on the radio that they were accepting people for a clinical study for free medicine for irritable bowel syndrome,and to call a 1-800 number.I did,the man asked me 15-20 questions and then said that I don't even match irrtable bowel and then hung up.I am sorry I have no answer for you,but wanted you to know that this I GUESS is what we have to SUFFER with for the rest of our lives.IT SUCKS BADLY!Get medimucil, fiber cereals and/or fiber pills.Take them for a month and see if it helps.IF IT DON'T then you don't have irritable bowel syndrome.And then ask your do and tell him you did the fiber thing.It did not work on me,Maybe you can get someone to care.I can't
Good luck bathroom buddy!
Jennifer
Avatar universal
I had mine taken out when I was 10 weeks pregnant in 1995.I too have this horriable problem.I sometimes do not make it through my meal before I RUN to the pot.I have just decided to eat once a day and AVOID restraunts all together.You did not mention PAIN.I have pain that is as painful as the gall bladder attacks were.Rarely, this happens to me without eating,but it does happen.My pain is so severe that if I am driving I have to pull into a parking lot wherever and it always doubles me over.I went to the ER once and they said "oh,it's just irritable bowel syndrome"
And a doc I use to have said the same thing.A year ago I heard on the radio that they were accepting people for a clinical study for free medicine for irritable bowel syndrome,and to call a 1-800 number.I did,the man asked me 15-20 questions and then said that I don't even match irrtable bowel and then hung up.I am sorry I have no answer for you,but wanted you to know that this I GUESS is what we have to SUFFER with for the rest of our lives.IT SUCKS BADLY!Get medimucil, fiber cereals and/or fiber pills.Take them for a month and see if it helps.IF IT DON'T then you don't have irritable bowel syndrome.And then ask your do and tell him you did the fiber thing.It did not work on me,Maybe you can get someone to care.I can't
Good luck bathroom buddy!
Jennifer
Avatar universal
Does Dr Cabot's gall flush actually work? I have several SMALL gall stones and went to the surgeon, without a blink of an eye he was about to rip it out.  I do not have a cholesterol problem (4.4) so I don't understand WHY ME.  The only problem I forsee with Dr Cabot's gall flush is if a stone gets caught in the bile duct, end of game... is it worth the risk?

I have now developed IBS and most days need to RUN immediately after eating.  I haven't had my gall bladder out yet and am due for surgery in april... argghhh  My Dr says the removal of my gallbladder may cause the same problems I'm already getting from IBS.. heaven forbid.

Will this ever end?  Will I ever be able to go out with my friends for dinner again?  I have a hot date coming up.. My doctor says anxiety doesn't help.. hello.. I'm anxious it's a first date for goodness sake.  How much of a turn off is it to have your date run to the loo for
Avatar universal
Geez Louise-I just had my gall bladder out yesterday and now I'm really getting worried.  How many people have worse problems after the operation???  I don't even get a follow up visit with my surgeon since it was day surgery and there are no stitches.  HE didn't mention any possible problems.  Just that he found several liver tumors and would let my GP know. ???
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