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Gallbladder Disease

  1. Where can I find a dietitian who works with people who have gallbladder problems? Answer
  2. I am having my surgery on the 8th and I just need to be smart about what I eat for the next few days. Answer
  3. I am in the process of having a gallbladder attack. Answer
  4. I have been eating a pre-packaged cinnamon Danish for breakfast and before going to bed. This has resulted in some upper digestive tract discomfort. Answer
  5. My last three bowel movements (over 3 days) have actually been green. Answer
  6. What is the most effective way of removing the stones and still saving the bladder? Drug therapy? Electric pulverization? Answer
  7. My sister just found out she needs to have her gallbladder removed. Her doctor put her on a diet of clear liquids. What else can she have? Answer
  8. I have the same problem as the husband who wrote that his wife was getting sick afer gallbladder removal. I would like to see what they found out. Answer
  9. My wife had her gallbladder removed. Is there some randomness to be expected for the amount of fat ingested to trigger an attack? Answer

  10. I have a brother who has been told he needs his gallbladder out. My question is can a gallbladder burst like an appendix? Answer
  11. Went to physician, then sonogram. Found huge stone in neck of gallbladder. Answer
  12. I have had severe pain in my upper right quadrant just below my ribcage. I saw a MD who suspected gallstones. What is going on? Answer
  13. Have there ever been any studies done on problems with digestion after gallbladder removal? Answer

Where can I find a dietitian who works with people who have gallbladder problems?

The Medical Nutrition and Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice groups of the American Dietetic Association provide medical nutrition therapy based on your diagnosis. Dietitians often have their own private practice nutrition counseling services in addition to services provided in a clinic or hospital. You can find a dietitian at the American Dietetic Association. Include your zip code or city / state, the type of service you want (individual consultation) and expertise in digestive disorders and gastrointestinal diseases / disorders.

Thanks for the reply. I am used to having the attacks like the one I had last night. I am having my surgery on the 8th and I just need to be smart about what I eat for the next few days. Thanks for the dietary information. That is truly what I was looking for.

I couldn't figure out what I had eaten that made me have the episode. I guess it was the beans I had. I feel much better today.

My employer very understandable about this situation, he persuaded me to call my doctor to begin with because his wife had emergency surgery and I guess it isn't very pleasant.

Once again, thanks for the quick reply and I will keep your site as a reference for the very useful info you provide.

You're welcome. Good luck with your surgery and remember to ask your surgeon first. I had a friend in the same situation and stayed with her in ER while they worked to relieve her pain. As it turned out, her gallbladder had ruptured and they did emergency surgery. Not pretty.

FYI, most people can eat whatever they want after gall badder surgery. Since the liver makes bile and the gall bladder stores the bile, you can eat whatever you want. Just don't overdo as your liver is working "on demand".

I am up at this insane hour because I am in the process of having a gallbladder attack. I read the Q&A about if a gall bladder actually ruptures. I am scheduled for surgery. I would go to the emergency room, but I do not want to have it removed under emergency circumstances. I am hoping that I can have it performed using a laparoscope without any incident. I also have a job that I can't be away from due to the lack of disability insurance. Can you possibly indicate what the effects are of a rupture?

I also would like to know if I need to avoid all food altogether. I ate white beans (gassy?) 3 or 4 large shrimp (broiled) piece of cod (baked with Cajun spices). Do the spices as well as the fat content impact my gall bladder?

Should I be concerned that I now get nauseous along with my attacks? I wish I had looked for your website sooner. It's very good. I need to tell my sister about it because she is having medical issues relative to the female reproduction system.

Thanks for reading this email. I am in pain but at least can read about what is killing me since I can't sleep.

If you are having a gall bladder attack, go straight to the emergency room. I am not a medical doctor and even if I were, I would not diagnose your symptoms online. Please contact your doctor immediately.

A ruptured organ in the body can cause death or at least a severe infection and prolonged recovery because of complications. In the case of a gall bladder that stores bile which is used to break down fat, bile floating around inside your abdomen would cause additional damage to other internal organs.

True that surgeons don't like to take out gall bladders when they are inflamed or irritated, but don't make that determination yourself as you are not a doctor either. The most important thing is your health, not your job. As it is, you will be off work after you have your gall bladder removed and will probably use sick days you have accumulated.

You should make an appointment to see a registered dietitian to get your diet straightened out so that you can meet your goal of non-emergency surgery. A gall bladder diet should be low in fat, gas forming foods, skins and particulates (seeds). Fat includes fried foods (liver) and rich desserts (ice cream or pie) as well as added fats (salad dressings, butter or sandwich spread). Particulates are small seeds that are often found in fruits (melons and berries) and vegetables (cucumbers, green peppers), but also includes seed spices like caraway or fennel. Herbs added to food don't seem to cause irritation. Also, foods with a high fiber content like beans, corn and whole grains are usually not tolerated well. Gas forming like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts are usually not tolerated well. Basically you need foods that are not fried, but cooked. Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables other than a banana. Canned peeled fruits or fruit juice is OK along with cooked vegetables (no gas formers or high fiber).

Thanks for your comments. Now call your doctor if you haven't already.

I have been eating a pre-packaged cinnamon Danish for breakfast. I have also snacked on the Danish before going to bed. This has resulted in some upper digestive tract discomfort (i.e. when I stop eating the Danish it goes away). Webster's New World Dictionary states that cinnamon is "a light-brown spice made from the dried inner bark of a laurel tree of the East Indies". I think cinnamon was also billed as an aphrodisiac (what hasn't been?). I just like the taste. So what are the affects of cinnamon?

And for that matter other popular spices, because people are using spices as a substitute for salt. Any good reference material on this subject?

I would guess that the Danish, not the cinnamon is cause for your upper digestive tract discomfort. Rather than guess what the problem is, I would recommend that you make an appointment to see your doctor and tell him / her about the location, severity and time of day when you have discomfort. It could be heartburn, a gall bladder or heart problem, so go find out.

Until then, stop eating the cinnamon Danish (high fat food) and start eating something healthier like cereal, toast, low fat yogurt, bagel or English muffin with a light spread of jelly not cream cheese or peanut butter. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on top of any of these foods, but cinnamon is not essential to a good breakfast. Until the cause of your discomfort is narrowed down, choose refined grains, rather than high fiber foods which could aggravate your gallbladder if that were the cause. Add to that some juice or milk and you'll have a better start to your day.

In cooking, cinnamon, spices or herbs (dried) used in cooking improve food flavor and at this time there is no known nutritional benefit from them because of the small amounts used. In my salt topic, there is a recipe for a seasoning shaker to substitute for salt. Sorry, can't recommend a spice or herb nutritional reference book. I would recommend you try either a good cookbook or herbal book that contains medical research references for herbal remedies.

According to some herbal references I have, cinnamon is a calmative by resolving gas and digestive problems as well as reducing bleeding during women's menses or after delivery (obviously not your problem). It is not an aphrodisiac.

I searched your site for an answer to my particular problem, but frankly have seen or heard of nothing similar.

My last three bowel movements (over 3 days) have actually been green. I can't think of anything unusual I have eaten or any changes in my diet that may have caused this. I feel fine otherwise, and have no GI (gastrointestinal) discomfort at all. Only this strange color change.

Do you think this is a problem? What might be the cause? Is this worth a trip to the doctor or merely a wait and see thing?

Please advice if possible. Thank you.

Have you been eating different foods the last 3 days? Iron supplements and meat turns stool black.

Bile is produced by your liver and stored in your gall bladder. Bile is green and secreted into your intestines to emulsify fats so they can be digested by enzymes and absorbed into your blood. Bile should not be excreted in stool and is generally reduced by the time stool reaches your large bowel.

Unless you have other symptoms like pain under your rib cage that radiates around to your back, I would wait 3 or 4 more days. If you have abdominal pain, I would recommend calling your doctor immediately. Otherwise, if the green color continues, I would recommend making an appointment with your doctor to get it checked out in a few days.

Thank you for your "Q&A" section. I have learned a lot. My question is this: the most common cure for stones seems to be removal of the organ yet I must wonder if the organ was created in us that there must be a good reason for it (we don't remove tonsils in serious cases anymore). Therefore is it not worth saving and if so what is the most effective way of removing the stones and still saving the bladder? Drug therapy? Electric pulverization?

It would be up to your doctor / surgeon to decide whether or not to remove your gall bladder, break up the stones with sound waves or try drugs to dissolve the stones. I cannot comment on which would be appropriate as it would depend on your symptoms, age and the best option would be up to your doctor.

As to your comments about a gall bladder having a good reason for being, you have a good point. Remember though that the basic design for the human body is thousands of years old and cave people's diets were much different that ours especially in fiber content. Our bodies in terms of organs haven't changed that much other than the appendix is much smaller and non-functional. Also, cave people had many more teeth than we do and because of wisdom teeth extractions and orthodontics, we have many fewer teeth than our ancestors, but they are in much better condition because of fluoridated water, toothpaste and preventive dentistry. But I digress.

The gall bladder is a storage vessel for bile that is produced in the liver. Unfortunately, stones sometimes grow inside the gall bladder or get stuck in the duct (Common Duct) that flows from the gall bladder to the intestines. You can have your gall bladder removed because of stones or chronic inflammation and probably do as well or even better without it.

My sister just found out she needs to have her gallbladder removed (the surgery date will be set later this week). Her doctor put her on a diet of clear liquids last week and she needs to remain on that for a couple more weeks (I am not sure how long after the surgery). My concern is that she will not get all of her nutrients. Plus, I know she is sick of gelatin and broth. What else can she have? (I was thinking of sending her a care package with a few things and wanted to know what I should send her). Thanks.

Your sister can have any liquid that is clear. Besides flavored gelatin and broth (chicken or beef), she can have apple juice, cranberry juice and tea.

A clear liquid diet is low in calories and most vitamins and minerals. Since it is used for such a short time, I wouldn't worry. After your sister has her gallbladder removed, she will be started on clear liquids again, then full liquids (any food liquid at body temperature 98.6 degrees F) and finally a regular diet.

I was reading your Q&A on gallbladder and I wonder if you have the e-mail address of the husband who wrote that his wife was getting sick after gallbladder removal. I have the same problem and would like to see what they found out if anything. Thanks for your help, if you feel it would be wrong to send me their e-mail address please forward this to them.

Hi. I do not keep viewers e-mail address due to the number of persons who write to me. Nor can I forward your letter to them. Sorry.

I would suggest you go back and see your surgeon or another specialist. It is very unusual to have symptoms like below after surgery.

My wife had her gallbladder removed last June as she had several gallstones. Soon after the operation, she would once in a while (2 to 3 hours after supper) experience a very painful burning sensation in her tummy. She would scream uncontrollably at the top of her lungs for several seconds and spit up part of her dinner. She would feel better after a 2 or 3 "attacks" for the evening. I read the gallbladder topic Q and A you have and her situation sounds similar except that her gallbladder has been removed. These "attacks" happen less and less frequently except that she just had one yesterday after not having one for about 3 months. She knows that she should not eat foods that are very fat or fried foods. Yesterday's supper did have stir-fried vegetables, but the overall meal was not particularly worse than other meals she has been eating without problems. Is there some randomness to be expected for the amount of fat ingested to trigger an "attack?" Is the attack triggered not necessarily by the most recent meal, but maybe by the most recent few meals?

One note about last night's meal is that the vegetables were spicy. She doesn't remember her doctor mentioning spicy foods, but we will ask him about it the next we see him (my wife goes to him periodically regarding hormone - thyroid hormone replacement). Do you know if she needs to avoid spicy foods also? If so, would this be for both red and black pepper?

You told the person in your Q&A too much fiber should be avoided. My wife does like to have fruit after dinner (she had an orange and a tangerine last night). As such she has had her gallbladder removed, should she avoid too much fiber also? I did give her a glass of Metamucil several weeks ago as she was constipated and this did not give her problems.

We hope to avoid this situation again by watching what she eats, but if she does happen to break down and eat something marginally fatty or lightly fried, would Tums or Pepcid AC type products help her if taken early enough?

I hope to see your reply either by email or posted in your web site. Thanks.

I would recommend your wife immediately go back and see the doctor that removed her gallbladder. It is not normal for someone to experience a "very painful burning sensation in her tummy" after eating followed by throwing up food. This should not happen whether or not they have had their gallbladder removed. You do not specify whether it is in her stomach area above her belly button or in her intestinal area below her belly button. This could help her doctor locate the problem. Would not suggest you "treat" your wife's symptoms with over the counter medicines until you find out what the cause of her pain is. You may disguise the symptoms and delay treatment with periodic periods of relief from such over the counter medicines.

People who have had their gallbladder removed have varying tolerances to the very foods that previous to their surgery may have caused gallbladder attacks. These foods may have been high fat or fried foods as well as whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds or gas producing vegetables (baked beans) from the cabbage family (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower). This may include over the counter bulking agents like Metamucil. Spicy food seasoned with red or black pepper may cause some discomfort for persons with gallbladder disease but not necessarily. Symptoms may range from burping and gas to a feeling of fullness (like the food isn't going the direction it should).

When this current problem is treated, your wife should be able to return to a normal diet if no other medical nutritional therapy is recommended. That means that she would be able to eat anything. If constipation were a reoccurring problem, I would suggest a high fiber diet if she were allowed a normal diet. Whole grain cereals and breads, fresh fruit (including edible peels) and fresh vegetables should be included in her daily menu. Perhaps she should see a Registered Dietitian to address all her health plans into one meal plan.

Hello, I have a brother, 24 years old who lives in Southern California. My other brother and I are trying to help him out. He has been taken by ambulance numerous times to different hospitals that send him straight to county hospital. (He has no insurance). The county Doctor told him he needs his gallbladder out. He has no kidney stones, but has a lot of pain ,throws up everything, including blood and has blood coming out the other end. He also throws up lots of clear and yellow stuff. He has had this for awhile. My question is can a gallbladder burst like an appendix? Also, the past three times he has been to the county hospital, they give him morphine, keep him in for a few days, then tell him to go home and they will take his gallbladder out next time. This has happened three times. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank You.

Yes, a gallbladder can rupture like an appendix. A gallbladder attack is painful and the morphine will control the pain. The pain starts at the bottom of the breastbone like a heart attack and may radiate around to the back unlike a heart attack. Gallstones can get stuck in the opening of the duct to the intestines or cause pain as they are passing through. Sometimes doctors don't like to take out a gallbladder when it is inflamed as the risk of complications or infection could be greater. I would suggest your brother make an appointment to see a county doctor ASAP and schedule to have his gallbladder removed.

Most states have medical coverage for persons who can't afford it or have a pre-existing illness not covered by insurance. You can advocate for him as he may not feel well enough to get adequate help until the pain is excessive. Be persistent with your advocacy for your brother!

If the blood he is throwing up looks like coffee grounds, he may also have an ulcer in his stomach. If it is bright red blood, then it is coming from somewhere higher than the stomach, possibly the esophagus or lungs. The cause of bleeding should be determined.

Bright red blood in the stool can come from hemorrhoids or a fissure in the end of the large colon. Blood loss higher in the intestines or iron supplements usually colors the stool black rather than bright red. The cause of blood in stool should be determined.

Don't know what the yellow vomit is. Though bile is yellow, it is secreted into the intestines, not the stomach.

Until he gets his gallbladder out, I would suggest he avoid any fat, fatty meats, fried foods, whole grains, seeds and skins as these foods need bile to be digested. Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder until needed to break down these foods. One can live without a gallbladder because the liver produces bile and can be secreted directly into the intestines.

Went to physician, then sonogram. Found huge stone in neck of gallbladder. Gallbladder and stone all gone via laparoscopy. All better now. Lost 20lbs. No pain after eating.. Feell great!

Great news!

Lately I have had severe pain in my upper right quadrant, just beneath my ribcage. The pain is "rolling", "cramping", "hard" pain. The onset is almost exactly 2.5 hours after eating a normal meal. For example, a meal of white chicken breast (no skin), baked potato chunks with very little cheese sauce, kale and a root beer float for desert was finished at 7:35 PM. By 10:10 PM, the pain described above occurred. This pain lasts for about 3 to 4 hours, during which time it is always constant although of varying intensity. It seems to radiate toward my back on the same side (right). No aspirin or other commercially available painkillers have any effect. I have used some PERCOCET and this seems to do the trick.

Now. this same pain occurred four years ago. I saw a MD who suspected gallstones. I had a sonogram that showed nothing (all normal).

Question: What the heck is going on??

Well rather than playing doctor whom is not my specialty or yours, I would suggest you get a second opinion. Chest pain is not something to wait around to go away. Actually symptoms of a gallbladder attack mimic a heart attack.

Your description of food eaten, delay in pain after a meal and pain below the sternum with radiation around to the back describes common symptoms of gallstones. I would suggest that you go back to see your doctor rather that waiting out the pain. Newer tests are available to help diagnose the cause.

The above meal contains baked potato skin, cheese sauce, kale and the ice cream portion of the root beer float, which would aggravate gallstones along with large portions of any of the other foods. Until the cause of the pain if found, I would suggest you follow a low fat, low fiber diet with 20% of calories from fat,. Also, avoid foods with seeds or skins, limit whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables to the cooked version. Also, don't overeat at meals.

Your liver produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder until a meal. Bile is an emulsifies that pushes fat molecules apart to allow enzymes from the pancreas to break down fats prior to absorption. If you have gallstones, especially if they block the duct coming out of the gallbladder or going down to the intestinal tract, that could be the source of your pain, which will not be, relieved with aspirin or other painkillers. PERCOCET is a prescription narcotic that increases the amount of enzymes from the pancreas in the blood and probably providing you some relief. Go see and doctor.

Have there ever been any studies done on problems with digestion after gallbladder removal? If so, could you direct me to this information?

No studies come to mind and I searched a few references as well. Fat and fiber tolerance varies among individuals after gallbladder removal. Food tolerance ranges from the same foods offending to tolerance of any foods. Commonly, fried foods, fatty meats and sausages, snack chips, seeds (some fruits ) as well as the usual fats, oils and salad dressings seem to bother persons with gallbladder disease.

The gallbladder is merely a storage vessel for bile produced by the liver. After the gallbladder is removed, the liver still makes bile and secretes it into the small intestine via the common duct. Bile emulsifies fats so that dietary fats can be digested by enzymes and transported into the blood or lymph system. Gallstones are usually made of cholesterol, which is a component of bile.

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