The gall bladder is an important organ for digestion, especially of fatty foods. If you have had problems with your gall bladder and your doctor thinks it could burst, you may be faced with surgery to have it removed. Once you are without a gall bladder, you will need to adjust your eating habits in order to accommodate for this change.
To understand how to maintain the right diet after gall bladder surgery, it is important to take a moment to understand how this important organ works and what causes problems in the gall bladder.
How the Gall Bladder Works
Your gall bladder is a pear-shaped, dark green sack that stores bile (made in the liver) until it is needed by your digestive system. When you eat certain fatty foods, the gall bladder is signaled by a hormone called CKK to start injecting bile into the small intestine to aid in the digestion of these fatty foods.
Problems that Can Arise
The gall bladder works hard to serve the body’s digestive system. But over time, it can develop certain problems in some people, including becoming irritated, swollen, blocked or full of stones. If any of these things occur and there is a chance the organ could burst, your doctor may recommend that it be removed completely.
Once the gall bladder has been removed, the digestive system tends to work less efficiently in how it digests fatty foods. While the liver is still able to produce bile, the digestive system no longer is able to keep a reserve of bile “on call” like it could before. The result: more problems digestive foods like meats and dairy products.
Diet after Gall Bladder Surgery
Eating the right diet after surgery is important to maintaining your health and your comfort during your daily life. Here are some diet tips for a more comfortable recovery:
1. Each person’s reaction to surgery is unique:
Any advice you receive from this article, other websites, medical professionals, or other patients applies to varying degrees to a range of people who are in different health situations, have different backgrounds, and follow different eating habits. The most important thing to remember is that your body is unique in how it acts and reacts after your surgery. Listen to your body the closest: that’s the best advice anyone can give you.
2. Avoid fatty foods:
After surgery, your body is no longer able to give your small intestine that extra dose of bile that it is used to. That means that digestion of fatty foods will take longer than before, since now your body will have to wait for the bile from the liver to aid in digestion. For at least a few weeks after surgery, stick with eating non-fatty foods like soy yogurt, cooked rice, low fat soup, and cooked fruits. Important: since the fatty foods you used to eat provided you with protein, you will need to get your protein in other ways. Beans and soy-based foods are an excellent source.
3. Favor softer foods:
The harder the food, the more work it takes for your body to digest it. Favor softer foods after surgery. For example, try pureed items like rice, vegetables and fruits.
4. Give it time:
Take everything one day at a time. For example, if and when you decide to start trying fatty foods again, take things very slowly. Eat just a little at a time and wait for the reaction. If you do not feel any cramps, indigestion or other issues after an hour or so, you may be able to safely venture a bit further in that direction.
5. Understand that things may or may not return completely to normal:
Remember that having your gall bladder removed changes your body’s systems and structures. Your body may end up adapting and adjusting entirely to your new situation where you don’t notice the difference after a while. Or, you may find that you have to permanently change your eating habits in order to eat comfortably. As you venture out into life after surgery, take things day by day and do not rush anything. Your body will give you clear signals (usually in the form of pain or discomfort) if you are pushing things too fast, too hard.