Didn't perhaps doctor forgot to tell you some details about gallbladder removal? What happens after removal?
Definition of gallbladder and its functions
Gallbladder is a small, muscular and pear-shaped structure on the underside of the liver, on the right side of the abdomen. Gallbladder's function is storage of the bile (bile tastes bitter, hence the word bitterness). Gallbladder holds about a quarter of a cup of a yellowish-green, pasty material called bile. Bile is produced in the liver before the bile is secreted into the intestines, which then helps the body to digest fats.
Gallbladder, of course healthy gallbladder keeps bile moving in several ways: mucosa, the inner lining, secretes hydrogen ions into the gallbladder contents, which maintains the balance of acidic environment, that keeps calcium from precipitating, and consequently forming gallbladder stones. Next, as food is digested, bile is washed away by water and electrolytes.
Formation of a gallbladder stone
First of all, bile is composed of three components: cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin. The functioning of gallbladder is described above (definition of gallbladder and its functions), and if gallbladder is not functioning properly, the components of the bile become unstable, which causes formation of solid crystals, also known as gallbladder stones. Stones form when a speck of calcium become coated with either cholesterol or the pigment bilirubin. However, more than 80% of stones are composed of cholesterol.
Stones are different in size, but not only that: they can also be single or multiple.
Interestingly, about half of people with gallbladder stones do not even know that they have them, and probably they float freely in the gallbladder. Of course, these are painless stones, but they are painless only until a 'grows' large enough to pass through and lodge in either the cystic duct or in the common bile duct.
Symptoms of the disease
Symptoms and their severity depends upon where stone lodges.
First of all, large number of patients with gallbladder stones do not even have symptoms, so they do not even know they have stones. Their stones are found 'incidentally' during medical tests.
However, classic gallbladder attack consists of abdominal pain in right upper quadrant, just under the rib cage on the right side, and is usually followed by nausea and vomiting. Pain may be severe and can last even up to few hours, and is often followed by soreness of abdominal area for at least few days. Attacks are usually caused by fatty meals. In some cases, patients even have fever and chills. In more severe cases gallbladder stone symptoms indicate jaundice.
Who is most likely to develop gallbladder stones?
Medicine actually cannot predict who'll get gallbladder stones, but statistics states that women are twice as likely to have gallbladder problems as men. This is due to hormones: estrogen is known to increase the rate of lipid
synthesis. Also, women should be careful with birth control pills, since they contain estrogen, which increases the cholesterol content of bile. It is proved that women under 30 who have taken birth control pills for less than 5 years, heighten the risk of gallbladder disease.
Next factor is pregnancy, which raises risk by altering the chemical composition of bile to favor stone formation.
Some studies also show that gallbladder stones are more common in some countries than others: western world is more affected (for example, in Sweden 45% of population is affected), while in Africa and Asia gallbladder stones are rare. Fact is that gallbladder stones occur more often in cultures with high fat and low fiber diets, such as USA or Europe.
However, the greatest risk for developing gallbladder disease poses obesity. Even moderate
overweight can raise the risk, while the New England Journal of Medicine warns that very obese face a sixfold
Gallbladder disease treatment, risks and diet
One option for gallbladder disease treatment are drugs: they are prescribed for small stones or if a person cannot tolerate surgery.
And another option is surgery, which is most often the solution for gallbladder problems. The treatment involves removing the gallbladder, and in most cases is done by using laparoscopic surgery.
However, even after surgery certain risks are still present. To avoid any sort of complications, patient must strictly follow healthy diet. One must eat low-fat, high in fiber and preferably organic food. Refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated oils must be avoid. Highly recommended are probiotic products, such as yogurts, etc. Although, it is often recommended to avoid (overconsumption) of dairy products.
Since with the removal of gallbladder, liver may be 'overload', patient must reduce all kinds of chemical overload on the liver. This includes pre-packaged food, minimizing use of perfumes, cosmetics and even personal care products.
Why is diet and elimination of all those products so important?
Once the gallbladder is gone, there's nowhere for that bile to collect. Instead of that, fat from pommes frites (not to mention bigger sins) cannot be modulated as it was before when person still had a gallbladder. And without bile (its function was to break down the fat), the small intestine can become flooded with water. This happens because the fat draws water from surrounding regions of the body. This can be combined with activities of intestinal bacteria, which can cause bloating, bad restroom experiences, and stomachaches. This is the main reason proper diet is so important during patient's recuperation. On the long run body adopts to the gallbladder 's absence over time, and few months after the surgery patient should be able to resume more or less regular eating habits.
So, gallbladder is gone. Now it is important to educate yourself in getting better and eating healthier. If you follow the suggestions above, your digestive system will operate to its fullest and will help you to alleviate many of the side-effect from gallbladder removal.