Most people don't pay much attention to their gallbladder unless they are suffering from pain caused by gallstones. Yet, did you know that even without any symptoms of a problem, your gallbladder could cause chronic gut issues and inflammation? Don't ignore this critical organ – it may hold answers to your health woes!
Astonishingly, gallbladder complications are one of the leading sources of persistent gastrointestinal problems that have not been responsive to treatment.
The gallbladder plays an essential role in your digestive system by storing the bile released from the liver to emulsify any fat you consume. This process helps safeguard your intestines and allows efficient absorption of crucial vitamins only soluble in fat.
Gallbladder issues don't necessarily require the presence of gallstones. Alternatively, biliary stasis can be to blame; a condition characterized by an abnormally thickened bile that prevents it from effectively breaking down fat during digestion.
Common Gallbladder Symptoms
- Severe pain in the upper right abdomen pain (or back)
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Dark urine or Clay-colored stools
When is Gallstone Surgery the right option?
If you or a loved one is suffering from recurrent gallstones and the associated symptoms, such as discomfort, nausea, back pain, and bloating, then Gallstone Surgery could be the answer. A cholecystectomy - which involves the removal of your gallbladder - can help to restore quality of life by eliminating these unpleasant effects. This procedure is amongst the most common surgeries today due to its effectiveness in treating chronic inflammation caused by symptomatic stones in one's gallbladder.
Surgical removal may be an appropriate solution for pain relief for those experiencing the classic signs of a swollen gallbladder, such as bloating, nausea, and vomiting - which occur frequently enough to cause distress.
Gallbladder stones are the most prevalent explanation for a medical procedure. Three other leading conditions typically prompt physicians to recommend surgery.
The gallbladder's inability to naturally expel bile quickly due to its inhibited movement can cause excruciating pain for patients suffering from Biliary dyskinesia.
Pancreatitis is a much more severe condition, as it involves the inflammation of the pancreas. It can cause nausea and bloody stools if left untreated.
Choledocholithiasis is the term used to describe a severe case of gallbladder stones that have moved into and become lodged in the bile duct. This acute obstruction can prevent adequate drainage, leading to numerous complicated health issues.
Life after gallbladder removal
Although complications from gallbladder removal are rare, implementing healthy lifestyle changes can facilitate a swift recovery.
After surgery, your body needs time to adjust to the absence of a gallbladder. To make this transition easier, switch up your diet and focus on simpler foods. The best part? Your dietary changes will support an overall healthier lifestyle!
It is imperative to understand the amount of hidden fat you consume, for it can be hard to digest. So read those food labels and opt for whole foods that have been boiled, baked, steamed, or grilled over fried ones. For milk and cheese products, too, choose low-fat varieties instead. Aim to keep your overall fat percentage at 30% of your diet!
Smaller portions. Your digestive system operates differently now, so flooding it with an abundance of food in one sitting will place too much pressure on your liver because it can't produce the bile needed to break down the meal. Therefore, divide your daily meals into smaller portions, including lean meat or other unrefined protein sources and various fruits and vegetables.
Reduce fiber intake. During the early post-surgery stages, eating high-fiber foods can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as bloating and cramping. To figure out your body's tolerance level, start by limiting or avoiding foods like cauliflower, beans, nuts, cereal, and bread that are challenging to digest - then add them back in slowly, one at a time.
Reduce caffeine intake. Caffeine accelerates the formation of gastric acid, which facilitates quicker stomach emptying. Without a healthy amount of bile that used to be manufactured by your gallbladder, you could experience more painful bloating and gas as digestion takes place. Carefully add coffee or tea back into your diet in increments so that you can determine how much is bearable for you.
Record a food journal. To help you heal quickly and return to the life that you know, being mindful of what foods nourish your body is vital. To ensure that every meal supports your wellness journey, track each type of food consumed and document any reactions or side effects afterward. By monitoring patterns in digestive discomfort, you will better understand how to adjust portions for meals that don't agree with your system. This way, it becomes easier to identify which components should be eliminated or limited from the plate.
By eating reasonable portions of unhealthy fats, oils, dairy products, and processed foods, you not only reduce your risk of acquiring diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes but also benefit from a lower calorie intake. Consequently, your body will be able to digest food more efficiently while optimally using the energy produced.
How to Improve your Gallbladder
Should your gallbladder health be less than optimal, there is good news: it's simple to improve. To aid in fat digestion and liver detoxification and support gallbladder health, dandelion root, milk thistle seed extract, ginger root, phosphatidylcholine, and taurine should all be incorporated into your diet. With these compounds available at most supermarkets or online retailers, you can access the nutrition necessary for a healthier life.
If you no longer have a gallbladder, taking ox bile with meals containing fat is highly recommended, as this will improve not only digestion but also your overall health.
If you are having issues with abdominal pain or any of the other symptoms listed, reach out to us here at GI Associates and Endoscopy Center.