There are no scientific studies proving definite weight gain after gallbladder surgery. But there does seem to be a rather large number of people that gain weight after having their gallbladder removed and struggle to rid themselves of the excess poundage.
There is a study that showed that there were increases in the Body Mass Index (BMI) of patients who had their gall bladders removed. However, this study concluded that overeating due to the elimination of nausea symptoms experienced from an improper functioning gallbladder was to blame for the weight gain. But this can’t be true in every case. For many people have no gallbladder symptoms (stomach pain from gallbladder attacks) or gall stones before their gallbladder stops functioning and immediate surgery is performed.
Gallbladder removal surgery is a very common general surgery. The gallbladder is not a necessary organ; however it does have some important functions. When your gallbladder isn’t functioning properly you may experience gallstones or discomfort when eating certain foods (often high-fat foods).
Many people report weight loss right after the surgery. But for most, this does not seem to last.
What Does Your Gallbladder Do?
Your gallbladder holds bile from the liver until it is needed when you eat to help digest fats in the intestine. Your gallbladder:
- Aids Digestion
- Helps Absorb Fat Soluble Vitamins
- Eliminates Waste Products
- Assists in bile salt function – Bile salts are made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder then released when we eat.
When your gall bladder is removed bile is secreted into the small intestine slowly but constantly, this slow dripping may not be enough bile to do its job effectively. Not only can this effect digestion, fat metabolism, but can cause diarrhea or constipation.
Possible Causes of Weight Gain after Gallbladder Surgery
Hormone Imbalance – There are several hormones involved in the functioning of your gallbladder. (A hormone is a protein that is used to deliver a message from one part of the body to another). These hormones can be thrown out of balance causing various side effects unique to each individual.
Faulty fat digestion and metabolism
Poor Diet (over eating high fat foods that used to cause discomfort)
Inflammation – Inflammation affects the efficiency of Leptin (weight control hormone) which leads to increased appetites and slowing metabolism. Inflammation can also be caused by food allergies.
Insulin Resistance – Many people develop gallstones because of insulin resistance.
Can taking a bile salt supplement help?
Bile salts are produced in the liver, sent to the gallbladder and then on from there into the small intestine. Bile salts make it easier for your body to digest and absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Even after gallbladder removal your liver is still making bile salts. Now rather than pooling in the gallbladder and waiting for food to hit your stomach to be sent in to aid digestion your bile salts are being dripped into your intestines constantly. A Harvard Study finds that there is no reason that you should need a supplement of bile salts.
However, there are people who claim this has made all the difference in their weight management after gallbladder surgery. When we don’t have enough bile salts in our bodies we can develop nutrient deficiencies from improper absorption.
Benefits of Bile Salts
- Aids in Digestion and Fat and Nutrient Absorption
- Eliminate Cholesterol
- Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
- Affects Gut Bacteria
- Triggers the Release of Glutathione
- Eliminates Bilirubin
If you decide to take a bile salt supplement, talk with your health care professional first and always start with a very low dose and work your way up until you get the results your desire. Too much bile salt can cause diarrhea.
To Lose Weight
- Eat healthy
- Manage portion control
- Manage your blood sugar – To balance blood sugar limit sugar and refined carbohydrates and eat small frequent meals.
- Supplement Vitamins and Minerals – A lack of vitamins and minerals can contribute to weight gain. Low levels of iron, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 can slow your metabolism.
You are not alone if you are struggling to lose weight after having your gallbladder removed. Do not get frustrated and discouraged. Chatting with others on forums or blogs can help. By sharing what works for you may be able to help someone else.
Check out this YouTube Video This video is an easy to understand explanation of causes of weight gain after gallbladder surgery.
Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15732228 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317659.php https://www.gallbladderattack.com/blog/5-reasons-for-weight-gain-after-gallbladder-removal/ https://www.health24.com/Medical/Digestive-health/Tests-and-procedures/Gallbladder-op-Control-your-weight-20130210 https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-its-made-cholesterol-production-in-your-body https://www.advancedsurgicalnj.com/2018/03/the-truth-about-gaining-weight-after-gallbladder-surgery/ https://healthfully.com/do-weight-after-gallbladder-removal-5686346.html https://hormonesbalance.com/articles/gallbladder-hormone-balance-connection-mean-dont-gallbladder/ https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gallstones/dieting https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/do-i-need-to-take-bile-salts-after-gallbladder-surgery https://draxe.com/bile-salts/ https://www.healthline.com/health/bile-salts#function
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