Although one needn’t follow a stringent diet post gallbladder removal, there are some precautionary measures one may take to minimize potential discomfort post surgery. This HealthHearty article helps you understand why.
Located under the liver, the gallbladder is a small pear-shaped sac that stores bile, which is a digestive juice that the liver produces. The gallbladder acts as a reservoir for bile, and regulates its flow. It contracts to release bile into the ducts, which secrete it into the small intestine. Bile facilitates the digestion of fats. At times, the concentration of cholesterol or bilirubin in bile increases, which in turn causes the formation of hard stone-like deposits called gallstones. These can obstruct the flow of bile, thereby leading to inflammation. Affected individuals are likely to experience symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, bloating, belching, and queasiness. These symptoms often appear when one consumes a fatty meal.
Gallbladder removal surgery, known as cholecystectomy, is recommended when the frequency of such episodes increases, and the affected individual is in a lot of discomfort. Surgery is the next treatment option, in case medications fail to provide relief.
Post Surgery Diet Guidelines
Experts at Mayo Clinic suggest that there isn’t a well-defined diet because the guidelines vary from one individual to another. The reason why people seek a specific diet, is because of digestive problems faced due to the absence of gallbladder. When bile is directly and constantly secreted into the intestines, and is not as concentrated as earlier, it acts as a laxative. This is the reason when people consume fatty, dairy, and greasy food items, it causes diarrhea, bloating, and gas. The dietary guidelines listed below are merely a way to prevent these symptoms.
➲ Let go of fatty and greasy foods. These take time to digest, which may cause discomfort. Opt for nonfat or low-fat foods with up to 3 grams of fat per serving.
➲ To help regularize bowel movements, gradually increase high-fiber foods in your diet, in a span of several weeks, or else the gas formation and abdominal cramps will worsen.
➲ Avoid food items that are known to cause diarrhea, gas, and bloating. These include: Dairy products, caffeine, spicy foods, fatty/greasy foods, and very sweet foods.
For how long does one need to abide by these guidelines, varies from person to person. While some may experience diarrhea for a few weeks after surgery, some might have it for several weeks, perhaps months. Your digestive system would need some time to function normally, and the aforementioned guidelines will help you in the process.
What to Consume
Basically anything that doesn’t count under being greasy, fatty, spicy, or too sweet. Consume a balanced diet consisting of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish. You may consume small amounts of nonfat dairy, as well. Experts also suggest to consume a daily dose of probiotic supplement, as the friendly bacteria helps in the process of digestion.
Ensure that the vegetables consumed are fresh and preferably organic. As mentioned earlier, there is no specifically outlined diet, so you can consume everything that fits the aforementioned guidelines. Listed below are a few vegetables that are high in fiber.
- Green beans
- Green peas
- Turnip greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
Make sure that the fruits you include are fresh. The following list will provide you the options that may be included in your diet.
- Other berries
You can consume small amounts of meat and seafood, provided you opt for lean cuts. As mentioned earlier, fats take longer to digest and therefore, can pose problem. Opt for slow cooking methods including roasting, boiling, baking, and grilling, so that the fat drips away in the process. Do not consume fatty or oily options.
- Skinless chicken
- Lean beef
- Egg whites
- All other fish
Wholegrains, beans, and lentils are high in fiber and therefore can be consumed, but gradually. The following list contains items that are okay to consume from these categories.
- Multigrain bread
- Brown rice
- Black beans
- Baked beans
- Lima beans
- Sunflower seeds
- Pistachio nuts
- Split peas
- Whole wheat flour
It would be better to use unprocessed, healthy vegetable oils such as, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and hemp seed oil. These are low in cholesterol and rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. As far as beverages are concerned, stick to fresh juices and water. It would be best to drink boiled or filtered water, especially till your digestion process restores its normalcy.
Food preferences may vary from person to person. Avoid the food items, even if they are listed above, that may have caused problems such as gas formation, bloating, and cramps in the past.
What Not to Consume
While it is best to consume low-fat food items that are fresh and organic, it is equally essential to avoid food items that are high in saturated fats, or that trigger diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Here are some of the foods that should be avoided.
- Fried foods
- Hydrogenated oils
- Red meat
- Black Tea
- Artificial sweeteners
- Milk chocolates
- Ice creams
- Alcoholic drinks
- Carbonated water
- Aerated drinks
- Canned/salted foods
- White sugar
- High-fat milk
- White flour
Also, remember to consume a lot of water and liquids in the form of green tea and freshly made juices. While these guidelines may definitely prove to be of help, their effectiveness may vary from one person to another. In case the digestive problems persist beyond a few weeks, consult a medical specialist, who may prescribe you medicines to regularize the digestion process. Keep your doctor in the loop, when it comes to any kind of health concerns post the removal, be it major or minor in nature.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.