When you hear the word “gallbladder”, your first thought probably isn’t about losing it. Yet with statistics showing that up to 90% of adults have their gallbladder removed at some point in their lifetime, it’s fair to say that this little organ often gets a bad rep. Luckily, if you’ve recently undergone gallbladder surgery and are worried about what it may mean for your waistline, there is good news. Since removing your gallbladder means you no longer have access to the fats stored there – fats which are mostly inaccessible by any other method – this should in theory mean your stomach will be smaller! But why exactly does having your gallblAdder surgery result in a bigger stomach afterward?
Why Your Stomach Is Bigger After Gallbladder Surgery
Weight Gain Due to General Recovery Process
After surgery, you will be given intravenous fluids to replace the fluids that are lost during the procedure. These fluids contain a lot of sugars and electrolytes and will cause you to gain weight as well as be almost impossible to digest. When you go home, your diet will be largely liquids and soft foods, which are very low in fat – especially healthy fats like those found in coconut oil and avocados. This is due to the fact that it takes time for the digestive system to heal and be able to break down fats again.
Weight Gain Due to Nourishment Needs
The removal of your gallbladder means that you will no longer be able to store fats there. As a result, you will need to find alternative ways to get the nutrients found in fats – such as vitamins A, D, E and K. This is especially important if you are on a low-carb diet, as eating more protein without fats can put you at risk of becoming vitamin-deficient. In these instances, it is important to take vitamin supplements and eat foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins. These include salmon, eggs, butter, and dairy products such as full-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Weight Gain Due to Changes in Taste
If you happen to suffer from dysgeusia after gallbladder removal, this is likely to influence your eating habits. Dysgeusia is a medical term for a change in the way food tastes after surgery. You might find that all food tastes stronger – especially strong-tasting foods like broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and broccoli stems. Or you may experience a loss of taste altogether and only be able to taste certain foods, such as sweet and salty flavors. These changes are due to the sudden drop in bile salts after the surgery and the fact that the digestive system has to find a new way of breaking down food. The good news is that these changes are temporary and will subside after a few weeks. In the meantime, it is important to make changes to your diet to ensure you are getting enough nutrients.
Weight Gain Due to Medication
If you are taking supplements after your surgery, you may be consuming higher amounts of fat-soluble vitamins than are recommended. In this case, it is important to monitor your intake of vitamins A, D, E, and K, as consuming too much in one go can cause nausea and vomiting. When taking supplements, it is best to spread them out over the day, consuming small amounts at regular intervals.
Safety Precautions After Surgery
- Nausea and vomiting are common after surgery, so it is important to eat small, frequent meals. Avoid eating a large meal within three hours of surgery.
- Avoid grapefruit juice for one week after surgery and for six weeks after the removal of your gallbladder. Also avoid the use of supplements that contain vitamin C or citrus-based ingredients, such as orange juice and orange tablets.
- It is advisable to consume only clear liquids with meals and snacks for at least three days after surgery. This will help prevent nausea and vomiting by preventing the digestive system from absorbing fat-soluble vitamins that cause them.
- It is best to avoid hot or spicy foods, as they can increase your heart rate and blood pressure which can cause you to faint or feel dizzy if they are consumed too close to your surgery date. You should also avoid alcohol, hot spices such as curry powder or capsaicin (which is found in chilies), garlic, onions, coffee, tea, or other strong-smelling foods during this time period until you are fully recovered from your procedure and able to tolerate them again without side effects.
- It is also advised not to drink alcohol for a week before the procedure (as you will then be more susceptible to dehydration) and not drink alcohol for at least 12 hours afterward (to prevent alcohol from interfering with any anesthesia used during your procedure).
- If you are taking pain medications, it is best to take them with food or a small snack rather than on an empty stomach. You should also avoid caffeine, nicotine, and strong-smelling foods for at least one week after surgery.
- Drinking plenty of water is important for hydration and electrolyte balance (for example salt, potassium, etc.). It is recommended that you drink 2-3 liters a day during the first 24 hours after surgery and then 1-2 liters a day after that.
- It is also important to eat low-fat foods for the first week after your surgery as this will help your body adjust back to normal eating habits. This will provide you with the essential nutrients needed to aid in healing and assist in reducing the risks of infection and blood clots post-surgery.
- Your doctor will ask you to avoid sexual intercourse until at least three weeks after surgery, as this can lead to heavy bleeding if you are not fully healed from your procedure. After three weeks it is safe to resume sexual activity without any complications occurring if done correctly (i.e.: use protection).
After gallbladder surgery, you will likely experience some initial weight gain while you heal. This will be compounded if you have a high intake of fat-soluble vitamins from supplements and a low intake of healthy fats from food. To minimize your weight gain and get your diet back on track, try to eat small, regular meals containing foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins as well as healthy fats from coconut oil and avocados. While your body will probably heal faster than expected, it is important to be patient, as sudden weight loss can be just as harmful as sudden weight gain.
What is a gallbladder stone?
A gallbladder stone is a small, hard mass in the gallbladder that can form from the substances that are normally stored there. The most common substances found in gallstone stones are calcium, cholesterol, and bilirubin.
What is a gallbladder attack?
A gallbladder attack is a sudden pain felt in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen. This pain may be felt in the same place where you feel your gallbladder. The pain usually lasts for only a few minutes and then goes away.