Help for Digestion after Gall Bladder Removal
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Angela
Posted on: June 3, 2002

In my early 20s I had my gallbladder removed. I am now in my early 40s. Since I turned 40 my digestive system has went bonkers. My food sits at the top of my stomach and it takes me forever to digest my foods. I am also curious about my liver because I believe it has been affected since my gallbladder operation. Can you give me some general information regarding the liver functions after the gallbladder is removed. And also information regarding the digestive system?

The liver makes and excretes bile for digestion. The gall bladder normally concentrates the bile and controls the flow of bile needed for digestion. With no gall bladder, instead of an increased flow of concentrated bile to the stomach as needed at mealtimes for digestion, the unconcentrated bile, produced by the liver, flows to the stomach continuously in small amounts. Since bile plays an important role in the breakdown and absorption of fats, you can improve your digestion by limiting saturated fats and by eating smaller amounts regularly instead of eating three meals daily.

It is important to replace saturated fats like meat and dairy products with unsaturated fats like flax seed and olive oil. If all fats are avoided, you risk heart problems and nutritional deficiencies. Flax seed can be taken as freshly ground seeds, or a refrigerated oil. Olive oil can be used in cooking.

Even without a gall bladder, you can stimulate the production and flow of bile from the liver with bitter herbs. Dandelion root is a common herb used to stimulate the secretion of bile. A dandelion root tincture (or tea, if you like the taste) should be taken 15 minutes before you eat.

Soothing digestive herbs that help to expel gas from the digestive system include cinnamon, chamomile, fennel, ginger and peppermint. You can take these digestive teas after or between meals.

Other helpful supplements include digestive enzymes, especially lipase, which breaks down fat, and the fat-soluble vitamins E and beta carotene.

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