Can you live without a Gallbladder?

Can you live without a Gallbladder?

There are some conditions whose treatment involves the surgical removal of the gall bladder. Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. It is mainly performed when gallstones are untreatable with medical management.

When the gallbladder is not working properly and no symptoms (high-intensity pain in the right side of the abdomen, bloating, nausea, etc) of gallstones appear then cholecystectomy (removal of gallbladder surgically) is performed.

Risks associated with bad gall bladder are Gallstone i.e. Cholelithiasis, Infection jaundice, pancreatitis (inflammation in pancreas), Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder).

It’s very important to know about the gallbladder and its functions

Gallbladder and its role:

The gall bladder is a 3-5 inch long organ that lies under the liver below the diaphragm in the upper right of the abdomen. Gall bladder stores the bile produced from the liver concentrates it and releases it via common bile duct into duodenum (a part of the small intestine). Bile emulsifies fats thereby making it easier to absorb fats, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K) and helps in digestion of fats. The liver always produces extra cholesterol. On the intake of high-fat food, the gallbladder is activated to squeeze out bile juice in small intestines.

Normally gallbladder consists of:

  • 10% cholesterol
  • 5%dications that you may have some gallbladder problem:
  • Burping and belching a lot
  • Difficulty indigestion which may cause constipation
  • Persistent Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Gas and bloating
  • Nausea and/ or vomit after eating
  • Sore tongue and taste bud imbalance
  • Itching in the rectal area
  • phospholipids
  • 5% of proteins
  • 1% bilirubin
  • 70% bile salts and acids which are products of cholesterol metabolism
  • Water, electrolytes, bicarbonates, etc
  • Realizing the signs and symptoms indicated by the body is very important. Following are the in
  • Severe pain in the upper right abdomen which may extend to the back of the right shoulder
  • Pain and discomfort mainly on the right side of the abdomen
  • Restlessness and sweating excessively

Even after the removal of the gall bladder, the liver produces bile but there is no storage chamber for it and thus bile is directly dumped in small intestines. Following are the functions of bile:

  • Balancing hormones
  • Lubricating colon
  • Emulsifying and Absorption of fats
  • Absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, K)
  • Regulation of cholesterol levels

Cholecystectomy is very common and one can live a completely normal life after this. The symptoms which occurred with a problematic gallbladder may even appear after gallbladder removal. 40-50% of people develop symptoms within 3-5 years of surgery. So it is always recommended to inculcate some changes in daily routine and eating habits to prevent further complications associated with cholecystectomy.

What to avoid when you don’t have a gallbladder?

Some food items take more time to digest, so it’s advised to avoid them.

Also, certain dietary restrictions should be followed to prevent complications associated with cholecystectomy. It is advised to avoid the following foods:

  • Foods high in saturated fats like hard cheese
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee (especially with milk and sugar)
  • Stop having Meats
  • Avoid having Poultry like egg, turkey, etc
  • Dairy products especially milk
  • Added Sugar
  • Refined foods
  • Sodas and carbonated drinks
  • Grains like corn, peanuts
  • Processed sausage foods
  • Onion
  • Turnip
  • cabbage
  • Avoid high fat and very food
  • Avoid eating seeds
  • Avoid crash diet and excessive weight loss
  • Non-Vegetarian diet

Even if gallstones were the cause of cholecystectomy, stones may develop in the liver.

Best foods to eat after gall bladder removal

  • Lemon
  • tomatoes
  • Cherries
  • Salads: carrot, radish, kale, celery, broccoli
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Fresh fruits especially apple, pear
  • Sweet potato
  • Squash
  • Juice therapy
  • Berries: Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Low-fat high fiber diet is preventive
  • Nuts
  • Soups and broth should be included in the diet
  • Vegetarian diet as they are at very low risk than nonvegetarian

Scheduling of meal after gall bladder removal

  • It is recommended to take small meals every 3-4 hours
  • Take mashed foods in the first few weeks to avoid gas and bloating
  • Initially avoid high-fat foods
  • Avoid animal proteins (meat, fish, dairy)
  • Include more high fiber foods such as salad, lentils, and beans
  • Include items rich in omega 3 (flax seeds, fish oil)
  • Lemon water and apple cider vinegar (1-2 teaspoons before meals)
  • Talk to your doctor and take supplements of Vitamins. It is very important to take the right quantity of nutrients and vitamins.

Example of a balanced diet after gall bladder removal

Lukewarm lemon water after waking up.

Breakfast:  dry fruits (nuts, raisin, dates), fruits (berries, apple/ pear), low-fat dairy or soy milk.

Lunch:  beans, pulses (daal), 2 chapatis (multigrain/ wholegrain), vegetable (steamed and not much spicy), salad (squash, carrot, beet, tomatoes), curd.

Snacks: avocado, flaxseeds, fruits, dry fruits, and nuts.

Dinner: wholegrain chapati/ pasta/ rice, salad, soups (without cream) and broths, porridge/ khichadi.

Complications associated with gall bladder removal:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stones in liver
  • Pain after removal
  • Bloating
  • Fever, jaundice
  • Gas, heartburn, itching, and dryness on skin
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Constipation
  • Imbalance in cholesterol
  • Reduce the elimination of toxins and decreased drug metabolism
  • Hypothyroidism (t4 to t3 is converted in the gall bladder)
  • Fatty liver i.e. liver cirrhosis
  • Indigestion
  • Deficiencies of
  1. Vitamin A deficiency which may cause Vision problems, dryness in skin, low immunity.
  2. Vitamin D deficiency will result in poor Bone health, low immunity. May cause osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and osteoarthritis.
  3. Vitamin E deficiency. Vitamin E Increase oxygen supply to the heart is an antianginal and sterility vitamin.
  4. Vitamin K deficiency may cause Clotting disorders.

A properly balanced diet at the right time and adopting a healthy lifestyle will prevent these complications. Consulting with a Dietitian in definitely suggested.

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Great work, very interesting articles. The topics chosen are unique and interesting.