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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. ???
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed to have several gallstones but scared to have an operation. Please advise me.
Avatar universal
To Elna-I would say that by the time you've suffered through a few attacks having the surgery would be a blessing.  My daughter, a nurse practioner in women's health for the US Navy, says that the successful surgeries far outweigh the unsuccessful, and we only seem to hear about the unsuccessful.  Since I only had mine out on Mon., I don't know for certain, but I'm putting my trust in a special Naval Lt.!  Go for it-I feel better already.
Avatar universal
Dear Doctor,

I am a healthy 31 y.o male.
Recently doing a few check up tests the ultrasound found small stones in my gallbladder.
I fell no pain, I eat and drink just about every food, drinks and alcohol and had never felt a thing. When I was 14 I had hepatitis.
Do I have to have my gallbladder removed ? Do I have to go through surgery ? Is there a risk on keeping my gallbladder as it is ? What risk percentage do I have of having a pancreatitis crisis ?
I would just like to hear another opinion.
Thank you.

a.***@****
Avatar universal
Andr
Avatar universal
My mother has also had gall bladder surgery, and she also has the same problem.  She spends most of her time in the bathroom, one day she is constipated the other she has loose stools.  The doctors knew that it was her gall bladder because she had past a gall stone thru her heart that caused really bad chest pains.  My question is that with all the technology we have today, medication, lazer, etc.  is gall bladder surgery really necessary?  One of my friends is having problems too, in the middle of the night she wakes up and vomits, then in the morning she has diarhea all day.  She is always in pain, she is pale, etc.  She has gone to a Dr. and he is performing an ultra sound..  but they seem real sure that it is the gall bladder.  To me it sounds like something else.  But my question is can lazer surgery or medication be done rather then surgery and have to live your life in the bathroom and forget about the great wonders of this world when you can't leave to do anything, afraid you would have to visit the bathroom...??

Can you please help???
Avatar universal
My doctor gave me a prescription for Colestid, a cholesterol-lowering medicine, that eases the diarrhea a lot. Just recently my symptoms have gotten worse & I think I'll have to start taking more than just one a day. The prescription says take one three times a day, but 1-2 usually does the trick.
Avatar universal
I to had gallbladder surgery about 6 years ago and have suffered from the same symtoms and am also embarassed to go anywhere, for fear that it won't strike until I am in the car and what do you tell friends, get me to the nearest bathroom quick. I have almost had an accident more than once. I never was given an explanation by my surgeon either. I hope that there is someone out there that can give us both an answer or a cure that will help us. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone.
Avatar universal
For those with the Bathroom Connection,
I think I may be able to help here.  I had my gallbladder out about 6 years ago and I too experienced the same problems all of you have stated.  Prior to my surgery I was constipated all the time and afterwards I was running to the bathroom within 15 minutes after I ate.  This made me very nervous so I asked a couple of doctors.  The doctors couldn't answer my questions, so I looked into the problem myself through nutrition books so I could cure it myself.  What you are all experiencing is called Dumping Syndrome.  Your gallbladder is what holds the bile in your body, and bile is the enzyme that breaks down fat.  Once your gallbladder was removed so was the storage container for bile.  Now your body does not have as much bile to break down the fat in your diet.  Although you do still have bile it is not as much as before.  Try eating low fat meals, stay away from fried foods, and rich foods, and also eat small frequent meals instead of 2 or 3 large ones.  You should notice a difference.  Believe me I did.  The unfortunate thing is that after your surgery someone should have spoken to you about reintroducing fat back into your diet slowly and they probably didn't.  At least that was the case with me.  It was actually due to this that after a long time away from school that I decided to go back and study nutrition and now will be graduating in May with my degree in dietetics.  Good Luck to all of you Dumpers!!!!
Avatar universal
Just wanted to say that some people can do exaclty what Mara is recommending and still have dumping syndrome.  I've tried all the diet things and I still have the problem sometimes, regardless of what I eat.  It's fairly manageable, fairly unpredictable, and not related to what I eat.  I just wanted to post this so that people wouldn't think they were doing something "wrong" if they were eating low fat foods (or not) and still having the symptoms.  Everyone's body is different and reacts differently.  Good luck to all.
18954 tn?1314301717
I'm with mzmiller on this one..  I've just have my Gall Bladder removed on 3/13, and so far I haven't had any of these symtoms,except for the occasional nausea from time to time,but I'm guessing that it's just from my system getting back in the swing of things after having a piece of me removed. After reading all of your posts, I'm worried is this going to happen to me?  I've spent the past four years unable to enjoy things to much due to UPQ Pain, and nausea from my Gall Bladder, and was hoping that finally I get to have my life back and go out and enjoy the things in life that I was missing.  I never had any problems with needing a bathroom in a hurry after eating before the surgery, and I was wondering what my chances are now?  I know how horrible it feels to watch everyone around you able to get out and there and live life to the fullest and be the one watching from the side lines, and my heart goes out to each and everyone of you, for I too know how it feels.  It may be different then some of you, but I can understand.  I hope that everyone finds the help they need, and is able to get back to life and forget about all of the problems that we suffer.
Avatar universal
I had my gallbladder removed 5 years, after some serious episodes of pain from stones. The pain between the shoulder blades and shortness of breath were unbearable so I was relieved that the doctor was confident that the op was the answer to my problem. Since the op I have experienced regular bouts of abdominal pain which is nearly as bad as the excrutiating pain of gallstones.  Fortunately I don't suffer with constant diahhorea, but I am very embarrassed with severe flatuence.  Are these common symptons assosiated with gallbladder removal and is there any medication that can help.?
Avatar universal
I too have had my gallbladder taken out 2 years ago and since then everytime that I eat I get horrible stomach aches and then I have to run to the bathroom.  And sometimes I just get really bad stomach aches that make me feel like I can't breath and I try to relax for a few minutes but it usually don't work.  I also try not to eat anything in the morning if I am going to go to work because if I do then I get a stomach ache and I have to run to the bathroom and hope that no one is in there.  I have also heard not to eat and drink dairy products because it upsets your stomach. I have also noticed that since my surgery I have had a really gassy stomach.  I have tried the immodium, immodium advanced, zantac, pepcid, and a prescription medicine and found that none of them work so I hope that someone has a suggestion so I can spend the rest of my life worrying about my children and not worrying about if I am going to make it to the bathroom or not.  I am only 21 I have the rest of my life ahead of me.  So if anyone can please help me.
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