Living Without A Gallbladder: Digestion Changes And Tips To Aid Digestion

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Living without a gallbladder is usually not a big issue, but there may be some uncomfortable symptoms you have to experience.

Therefore, you should pay special attention to your diet afterward which can help you adjust slowly to changes in your digestion.

The gallbladder is not a critical organ, and you can live without it, but it can take time for your body to adjust to its absence.

Post-surgery, fatty foods can lead to diarrhea and stomach discomfort.

People living without a gallbladder can get relief from these uncomfortable symptoms by taking medicine or adjusting their diet.

Here are things you should know about life after gallbladder removal.

Changes On Digestion While Living Without A Gallbladder

When you live without a gallbladder, the storage vessel for bile is eliminated, but your liver continues to produce enough bile and delivers it to the intestinal tract.

However, it might be difficult and take more time for your body to digest fatty foods.

Although symptoms on digestion are not popular after removing the gallbladder, some people have to experience a digestive change.

Having more frequent bowel movements is the most popular symptom.

Many people experience diarrhea and bloating after consuming fatty foods.


Gallstones are one of several reasons leading to gallbladder removal.

More than half of patients living without a gallbladder have trouble digesting fat.

But you can better manage any symptoms after gallbladder removal by adjusting your lifestyle and eating habits to avoid any troubles.

Good Hobbies After Gallbladder Removal

It's common for people who live without a gallbladder at some point. Since you can still live a full, long, and healthy life with the gallbladder removed.

To help ensure that goal, here are a few tips so that you can consider to follow:

#1. Go for a low-fat diet

For this tip, the patients who have gallbladder removal surgery shall apply a low-fat diet.

To get the best result, you should avoid the following kinds of fat and spicy foods with moderation:

  • ground beef
  • bologna
  • sausage
  • butter/ lard
  • fried foods
  • cheese
  • potato chips
  • pizza
  • chocolate
  • ice cream
  • fatty foods
  • foods with strong odors
  • foods which contain a lot of canola, coconut, olive, palm, peanut or vegetable oil
  • junk foods, whole-milk dairy products, yogurt
  • gas-causing foods
  • skin-on poultry
  • creamy soups and sauces
  • spicy foods

Read the labels on processed meats, dairy products, sauces, and toppings carefully.

Look for foods which provide no more than 3 grams of fat per serving.

If your daily menu already contains a lot of these foods, adjust it after gallbladder removal with low- or non-fat versions of them.

As a rule of thumb, fat calories should total no more than 30 percent of your diet. It means that if you consume about 2,000 calories each day, you should eat roughly 60–65 grams of fat.

#2. Go for small, frequent/gradual portions throughout the day


After gallbladder surgery, you can experience some uncomfortable symptoms.

Living without a gallbladder, instead of consuming most of your food throughout three big meals, you should eat frequent meals with many mini-meals.

This can make your digestive tract overload since your liver cannot produce enough bile to digest large amounts of food as before gallbladder removal.

Instead, you should stick for about six meals consisting of 300–400 calories for one time.

Each small meal shall consist of lean meats like the chicken without skin or fish, or other non-processed protein sources, fruits, and vegetables.

#3. Reduce intake amount of fiber foods

Fiber is essential for everyone, however, eating foods rich in fiber immediately after your gallbladder surgery can worsen any abdominal cramps, bloating, and diarrhea you are experiencing.

Therefore, you should slowly reintroduce small amounts of high-fiber foods to your diet.

Here is the list of fiber-rich foods that you should consider adding back into your diet slowly:

  • beans
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • cruciferous vegetables
  • high-fiber bread, such as whole-grain or whole-wheat
  • high-fiber cereals, such as bran
  • legumes
  • nuts, such as almonds and peanuts

#4. Limit caffeine intake

Living without a gallbladder but you still drink things like coffee, tea, or soft drinks which contain caffeine can also increase gas, abdominal pain, and bloating.

So you just ought to adjust the caffeine amount you get intake while you recover from the procedure. 

Slowly begin supplementing more to your daily menu when your body adjusts.

#5. Keep a food journal or record your diet in an app and watch for ill effects

This is a good idea to help you adjust your eating and drinking habits more mindfully and identify which foods may have a bad effect on you.

You should keep your meals and snacks simple during the three to four weeks after the surgery for better determination of troublesome foods.

When you get foods intake, list the foods you eat and the amount of each food you eat for one time.

Also, you should pay special attention to patterns in your symptoms.

Thence, you can identify which foods you should avoid, limit, or have more of, especially those high in acids, fats or spices and record your body's responses.

This can help you recover and adjust easier, faster, and more comfortably.

Most people living without a gallbladder can go back for a regular diet within a month post-surgery.

However, if you experience the following symptoms, immediately talk to your doctor for the solution:

  • Persistent, worse or serious abdominal pain
  • Serious nausea or vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than three days after the surgery
  • Inability to pass gas more than three days after the surgery
  • No bowel movements for more than three days after the surgery

#6. Stay away from a very large dinner after fasting all day

Eating once a day is a popular diet plan which commits to support people lose weight via intermittent fasting.

Applying this diet, people only eat one meal a day, usually dinner and do not get any other calories intake during the day.

This diet plan may support people to find a fast weight loss way, but the risks may come over out of the benefits.

The one meal per day diet may raise cholesterol and blood pressure.

So you will feel pretty bad if your one meal per day contains too many simple carbs or foods which are highly processed fried.

This extreme diet plan also comes with several risks as below:

  • Getting extremely hungry
  • Fatigue
  • Shakiness
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Inability to focus

By applying these useful tips, you can feel more comfortable and recover quickly after gallbladder removal.

In summary

Although your gallbladder is gone, even you have to experience uncomfortable symptoms; you still can lead a perfectly normal life without it.

To gain it, you should aim to have a generally healthy, balanced diet.

Also, you can work out a treatment strategy that meets your needs since digestion matters after your gallbladder is gone only exist for the short-term.

However, you should immediately inform and discuss with your doctor for the best solution if these problems exist for the long-term.


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