If you still have symptoms or now have new issues since your gallbladder removal, the answer is a resounding NO!
Are you aware that nearly 500,000 to 700,000 gallbladder removal surgeries or cholecystectomies are performed annually in the United States at a cost exceeding $6billion? I’ve seen reports saying it is one of the leading surgeries done in this country. According to a study in Clinical Gastroenterology abdominal pain persists in up to 50% of patients after their gallbladder is removed, physicians need a better way to determine who will benefit from surgery and who needs other treatments.
Did you have your gallbladder removed and you still have issues or have new issues? It’s possible those symptoms were just the top layer to a deeper underlying issue that wasn’t identified. I will provide a checklist at the end of the article that you can use to help identify potential underlying issues to your unresolved problems. There are a host of what have become labeled as gallbladder symptoms.
The most common symptom seems to be pain in the upper or upper right section of the abdomen that comes and goes. Other commonly seen symptoms are nausea and vomiting, changes in bowel movements, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn and gas.
These are miserable symptoms to have and if you have had any of these, its likely you went to your doctor. Most doctors today advise gallbladder removal with any diagnosis of gallbladder related issues. Small to large gallstones with few to no symptoms are common. A low functioning gallbladder if often diagnosed. All of these issues commonly leads to the the same diagnosis in thousands of people followed by removal of the gallbladder. However it does not mean the same condition exists for each person and often times there are other factors that haven’t been addressed.
Over the years of working with hundreds of patients, I to used to treat a symptom. In medical institutions across the country you learn protocols such as a patient presents with for example abdominal pain on the right side and has a change in bowel patterns. You take those few symptoms and then fit them into a few options for a diagnosis and then provide treatment. It’s really as simple as that. No other factors are taken into consideration. But its really not that simple.
What I have learned over the years is that every symptom is a conversation we need to have with our bodies. But so often we shoot the messenger so to say that we miss the point. Then we forget and later a new issue pops up and we think what is this, I was doing really well. But if you look back, oh yah my body tried to tell me this and I took a medication to suppress the symptom or I had that organ removed. That action shut down the conversation so your body had to speak to you in a different way to get your attention!
Let’s say you had your gallbladder removed after experiencing common issues and you followed your physicians suggestion. Will your digestion be great afterwards? Thats what we assume and hope for too. We want to be pain free, bloat free, and eat whatever we want. There are people that does happen too. Out of every 10 cholecystectomies, 4 people will still have symptoms. Are you one of those people?
There are typically two scenarios. The first is someone who recently had their gallbladder removed and is still waiting to feel better. They still have pain and have diarrhea that has gotten worse. They feel full and bloated after eating. They have low energy and try to get through the day. Or they have new symptoms such as constipation since the gallbladder removal.
The other scenario is someone who had their gallbladder removed years ago and thought all was well. Then they start having diarrhea and bloating and can’t understand why they can’t eat the foods they used to eat. They have put on weight no matter what they do and become lost and frustrated.
A visit to their doctor typically results in a brush off or a suggestion for an anti depressant.
Let’s address the first scenario. Recent gallbladder removal without improvement in symptoms needs further workup. Remember I just said and I can’t emphasize this enough, every symptom is a conversation, so learn how to have that conversation. What would that look like? Let me give you an example. The goal is to identify the underlying issue to the group of symptoms. That requires a thorough history and assessment . We are so used to just focusing in on the physical issues we can forget about our daily lives and the choices we make that impact our health. Questions such as what a typical day looks like is important.
Lifestyle factors can be just as important as the physical manifestations your body is showing yet we rarely give much attention to these issues. Things like how much sleep you are getting. We hear over and over again how important sleep is as that is when the body heals and restores itself for the upcoming day. What your stress level is as that has a direct effect on your digestion and your hormones. Stress really affects every part of the body. How are your relationships?
Now I’m not saying changing these above issues will change your diarrhea or bloating but they are part of the healing process and strategy.
the physical side, there are key areas to investigate. Initially what you eat and drink every day. If you have made these dietary changes and have not seen results, its time to dig deeper and answers tend to lie somewhere within the digestive system.
For instance, hydrocholoric acid is needed to break down proteins in the stomach. As we age and as we experience stresses that acid decreases challenging our bodies to digest and absorb nutrients to give us energy. Next, and we won’t get detailed in the anatomy for this particular conversation. In general, the food moves from the stomach hopefully partially broken down into the small intestine where you need enzymes and bacteria to further digest and absorb the nutrients.The liver and the missing gallbladder need to produce bile to digest fats. These areas can be stressed and not functioning properly.
Here’s the checklist of possible underlying issues I mentioned earlier. Have you been checked for these?
1.Low HCL hydrocholoric acid.
2.Imbalance in your microbiotia-(the bacteria in your gut)(you can actually test for a variety of different bacterias)
3.Deficiency in digestive enzymes Deficiency in vitamin or minerals necessary for proper absorption and utilization.
4.Infections such as parasites or other viral and bacteria. There are to many to list here but one of the most commonly well know is H Pylori.
5.SIBO has also getting a lot of attention now. This is bacteria specifically within the small intestine.
8.Liver dysfunction, meaning inability of the liver to detoxify. The liver one of the main organs that detoxify for our bodies and it overtaxed due to our environmental and personal stresses and of course our diets.
While this list isn’t exclusive, it will provide many answers to your unresolved issues. It is common to have more than one of the above. From working with people over the past several years, I have found they typically have two or three factors involved and sometimes more. While everyone is different there seems to be patterns of similarity that have commonly included: food allergies, pathogens and a need for bile salt support due to the lack of a “filter” that the gallbladder once provided.
The key is to identify the main factors and restore the imbalances or deficiencies. Once these things are done then the digestive system can begin to heal. If you need some help to know where to start to identify your underlying issues, please schedule a free 20 minute consultation @ drsechler.com