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Thread: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

  1. #1
    Moderator Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    The role of the gallbladder

    Q: What's the harm in having your gallbladder removed if you can live without it?

    Dr. Wright: While it's true that you can live without your gallbladder, having it removed sets your body up for all sorts of future problems. The gallbladder plays a critical role in generating the bile your body needs to break down and absorb many essential nutrients.

    You might ask why this is, since bile is made in your liver and the liver is still completely intact after gallbladder removal. To understand the relationship between the two, you need to know a bit about how your gallbladder works.

    When your liver secretes bile, a relatively large quantity is "captured" by your gallbladder and stored there for use. When you eat certain fatty or oily meals -- a fish dinner, perhaps, with lots of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids -- and all the incompletely digested oils and fats are passed from your stomach into your duodenum (the uppermost portion of your small intestine), the fats and oils trigger the release of the hormone "cholecystokinin" (CCK).

    CCK travels to your gallbladder, telling it "oil's coming, fat's coming!" In response to CCK, your gallbladder contracts, pushing out just the right quantity of stored bile. The bile arrives in your intestines at the exact time it's needed, in the exact quantity needed. Working with your pancreatic fat- and oil-digesting enzymes, the bile digests and emulsifies those oils, making them "just right" to be absorbed.

    Marvelous how it all works together, isn't it?

    But without your gallbladder, most of that marvelous coordination is lost. The small, steady trickle of bile from the liver is still there, but it's no longer "matched" to the amount of fat or oil you've eaten in either quantity or timing. The resulting "mismatch" inevitably affects your digestion and absorption and puts your fat-soluble nutrient status at risk.

    Dr. Jonathan Wright
    Health E-tips
    January 4, 2010
    www.wrightnewsletter.com

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    Well dang. I had a gallstone that announced its presence one day, so we knew it was there, but it never once bothered me again, and so I and my stone-filled gall bladder co-existed nicely for 15 years or more.

    But when my oncologist removed a chunk of my colon, she cleaned house, taking lymph nodes and gall bladder as well. Its loss has not affected my digestion, I can eat anything, but I wonder if this has had any effect on processing Omega-3 oils or supplemental Vitamin D?

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander
    Its loss has not affected my digestion, I can eat anything, but I wonder if this has had any effect on processing Omega-3 oils or supplemental Vitamin D?
    Both Omega 3s and Vitamin D need to be taken with a fatty meal. If you have normal brown stools and not grayish or oatmeal or pale brown, you probably are doing just fine without your gall bladder. The big key is how well you tolerate fatty foods. If you don't have problems with fats, then you have enough bile when you eat fat. So, if you have enough bile, and are taking them with fat, then loss of the gallbladder should not affect absorption. I don't know this for a fact though.

  4. #4
    EmmaPeel
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    I always wondered how being gallbladderless would effect my absorption of those too. All I know is that when I had it removed about 11 years ago, I have to be careful not to eat too much fats. Even good fats like coconut oil. Does nasty things to my gut...most of the time things are fine, but if I overdo it, I have what mellow described....sorry to be so graphic. Digestive enzymes are a must for me.

    I would think that as long as you take your good fat with your D you will still get its benefits albeit you may have to distribute out your fat consumption evenly throughout the day when you take your vitamins.

    I suppose it must be different for everyone. I have known people who have happily lived with only one or two attacks and they ceased...but the trouble is that it likely will rear it's ugly head later in life unless diet and general stress are addressed.

    Some people pass their stones and some people need surg. Depends on the size and location of the stones.
    Last edited by EmmaPeel; 01-04-10 at 10:54 PM.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    Ahem. My stools are brown, and mostly floaties. (I don't eat much meat). I generally have three a day, and they are shaped like various letters of the alphabet.

    Old-timers here will recognize the allusion.

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    Veteran Member Katee's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    LOL Islander, yes i catch the drift.

    I had a couple of gallbladder attacks about 8-9 years ago. Both my mother & her mother had it removed, my granny in emergency surgery. But mine never developed into something to be followed. Have been eating relatively healthy & had no more problem.

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    After going through agony for over a year and multiple hospitalizations with all the symptoms of gallstones, but no stones (1984-85), a new surgeon decided to take out my gallbladder. He told me that though I didn't have stones, it was infected and had they waited much longer to do anything, it would have ruptured. I did terrible with fats until 2 1/2 years ago, when I changed to no grains etc. Now, I seem to handle them just fine.

  8. #8
    EmmaPeel
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    Quote Originally Posted by mellowsong
    After going through agony for over a year and multiple hospitalizations with all the symptoms of gallstones, but no stones (1984-85), a new surgeon decided to take out my gallbladder. He told me that though I didn't have stones, it was infected and had they waited much longer to do anything, it would have ruptured. I did terrible with fats until 2 1/2 years ago, when I changed to no grains etc. Now, I seem to handle them just fine.
    Mellow...pretty much the same thing with me. Emerg. surg. in 1998. Trying to get off grains now too, but taking one thing off at a time, like dairy, sugar, nominal red meat etc. I am attempting to slowly acclimate my body to change. Being a true Kapha dosha we don't like change, and detest deviations even though it is probably the best for us!

    I've always had a great diet, but it was the stress that nearly did me in and I believe messed with my cortisol levels. Hence, the stones.

    Grains are going to be tough to eliminate. Lifelong cooking with whole grains and whole wheat will be tough to shake, but persistence is the way. Going gluten free.

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    Moderator Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    I really like the gluten-free recipes on Elana's blog.
    www.elanaspantry.com

    The flaxseed focaccia is a nice toasted morning breakfast bread with protein of your choice.
    Last edited by Reesacat; 01-07-10 at 04:01 PM.

  10. #10
    EmmaPeel
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    Default Re: What Happens When Your Gallbladder is Taken Out

    Great site Reesacat! Merci boucoup!!!

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