5 Foods to Avoid After Gallbladder Removal


5 Foods to Avoid After Gallbladder Removal

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After you eat, the gallbladder normally releases a flood of bile into your intestine where it helps break down fat. Without a gallbladder, your liver still produces bile. But instead of releasing it after a meal, bile continuously drips into the intestine. As a result, you may not have enough bile in your intestine when you need it—after you eat. Too little bile in the intestine can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating and diarrhea.

Your care team may help you with a gallbladder removal diet after your surgery. For extra guidance, learn what foods to avoid after gallbladder removal surgery.

1. Fried, Greasy, and Junk Foods

They may be difficult to resist, but stay away from fried, greasy foods, such as fried chicken and fries. Avoid fatty cuts of meats like bacon, sausage, ground beef, and ribs. While you recover, don’t eat junk foods like pizza and potato chips. You don’t have to avoid them forever. Allow yourself some of these foods once in a while after you recover, but try and limit it to once a month and in small quantities. 

2. Whole-Milk and High-Fat Dairy Products

Avoid whole-milk dairy products laden with fat, such as full-fat yogurts and cheese. Eat low-fat (made with 1% milk) dairy products instead. Grocery stores are chock full of low-fat and nonfat (made with skim milk) yogurts and cheeses that taste great. Keep in mind that low-fat and fat-free dairy products contain the same nutrients and less solid fat than their high-fat counterparts. You’ll still get your calcium! If you’re not a fan of dairy products, soy products with added calcium and vitamin D are great choices.

3. High-Fiber Foods

While you recover from gallbladder removal surgery, limit the amount of high-fiber foods you eat. Don’t eat whole-grain breads and cereals, nuts, beans, peas, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, cauliflower, and carrots. After your recover, if diarrhea continues to be a problem, eat more fiber-rich foods to add bulk to your stool. The important point is to gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat. Too much fiber can make constipation and gas worse. 

4. Caffeine

Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system. It speeds up digestion and makes you urinate more. This means it’s a diuretic. It can also cause an upset stomach in some people and worsen diarrhea. While you recover from surgery, cut back on caffeinated drinks and soft drinks as well. A variety of drinks, from coffee and tea to sports and soft drinks contain caffeine. Do drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Drinks with electrolytes—sodium, chloride and potassium—are best after any surgery and for avoiding dehydration. 

5. Exotic, Spicy Foods

Spicy food can irritate your stomach. Stick to less-flavorful foods while you recover from gallbladder removal surgery. Also, avoid heavy soups, sauces, and gravies. They typically contain a lot of butter and fat and can be hard to digest. Instead of curry, garlic and red pepper, flavor your food with fresh herbs like basil, dill, cilantro, rosemary and oregano. 

Stay Positive

Try not to be disheartened by stomach discomfort and the limited diet required after gallbladder removal surgery. For many people, these symptoms are temporary. You’ll probably be able to get back to your normal diet within a few weeks. It’s important to remember that not everyone responds to gallbladder surgery the same way. If you have ongoing digestive problems, call your doctor. It’s possible your body is responding poorly to having less bile for digestion. You may need to take medicine to get symptom relief until your body adjusts.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 30, 2016

© 2017 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Life Without a Gallbladder. Johns Hopkins Medicine. http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/reports/digestive_health/3310-1.html.
  2. Diets after medical procedures. Emory Healthcare. http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/employee/food-and-you/ask-the-rd-q-and-a.html.
  3. What I Need to Know About Diarrhea. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea_ez/#eating.
  4. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf.
  5. Caffeine. Toxipedia. http://www.toxipedia.org/display/toxipedia/Caffeine#Caffeine-UniversityofBristolChemistryDepartment.

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