Long-Term Effects of Gallbladder Removal

Persistent abdominal pain from gallstones may lead to a physician recommending gallbladder removal. The removal of the gallbladder usually causes a lot of concerns to a patient and their families. As a patient, you will start asking questions about what life is like post the surgical process, whether life will be normal and post-surgery effects that may change the trajectory of your life. With gallbladder removal, life should be normal with minimum life alteration. However, some people experience long-term effects. Here are some of the long-term effects of gallbladder removal.

What is the Function of the Gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a thin-walled pear-shaped sac located beneath the liver. It is responsible for concentrating and storing bile from the liver and releases bile into the small intestine to enhance the breaking down and absorption of fats from food. Research indicates that the gallbladder usually holds about 30 to 80 milliliters of bile fluid. It functions by releasing bile by contracting and squeezing through the bile duct when food reaches the small intestine. 

Gallstones Complications

The gallbladder may experience a gallstone complication leading to a cholecystectomy. The term “gallstones” is often associated with severe abdominal pain, which is not the case among most people. However, when the symptoms of gallstones persist, your physician may recommend a procedure for removing the gallbladder.

Symptoms of Gallstones

Here are some of the symptoms of gallstone that may lead to gallbladder removal:

  • Intolerance of fatty foods
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen lasting more than 30 minutes
  • Back pain, particularly between your shoulders and beneath your right shoulder.
  • Nausea or vomiting

Gallbladder Removal Side Effects

Generally, gallbladder removal effects may be felt in the first six months after the procedure. However, in some cases, it may have long-term effects on individuals. Some of these long-term effects include

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatty food intolerance
  • Flatulence, or the accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal

Most of the impacts of gallbladder removal may be felt by lifestyle and dietary changes one makes in their schedule. Individuals may also find it difficult to handle hard tasks post-removal. In case of severe effects, it is important to consult your physician for further guidance.

Learning to Cope With These Effects

It is important to understand the various coping mechanisms you can adopt after removing the gallbladder. Adjustments may feel uncomfortable at first, but with time one gets used to them and adopts a new way of life. Some of the ways to cope with these effects of gallbladder removal include the following:

Limit Fat Intake: Gallbladder removal may reduce the action of bile. It is important to reduce fat intake since one may become fat intolerant. As a dietary adjustment, one should consume steamed, baked, boiled, or grilled foods and avoid fried foods which contain fats.

Lifestyle adjustments: It is important to adjust your lifestyle and activities in the long term to enhance comfort. One needs to be aware of their condition and be mindful of their activities, such as exercises, what to ingest, and the duration between eating to avoid challenges such as bloating.

Incontinence After Gallbladder Surgery

Most people who have experienced gallbladder removal live a normal life. However, proper adjustment often comes with adequate coping mechanisms, such as lifestyle changes and limiting fat intake, so one can easily adapt post-surgery. A small percentage of patients also experience incontinence after gallbladder surgery. If you’re experiencing incontinence as a result of gallbladder surgery, contact us to speak to a medical concierge about your symptoms and find the right solution. The Incontinence Institute offers a network of specialized physicians focused on long-term solutions. You can also reach us by phone at 1 (615) 434-8661 or by filling out a fecal incontinence self-assessment or urinary incontinence self-assessment.