Digestive Support after Gallbladder Removal

A few years ago, I had my gallbladder removed, an experience shared by a great many people. Approximately 500,000 gallbladder surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year due to gallbladder disease.

My only symptoms had been two episodes of intense pain after eating a meal fairly high in fats.

Initial testing indicated I had no gallstones, but bile from the liver was not being re-directed into the gallbladder appropriately. 

Bile is a yellow-green liquid made in the liver. A healthy gall bladder is a pouch that should store the bile until the small intestine needs it to help digest fats.  

After the surgery, additional testing of my gallbladder showed the presence of small gallstones and chronic inflammation. 

The recovery period for me was fairly quick, but I did need to re-evaluate my diet.

What does bile do without a gallbladder?

Without a gallbladder, bile was now continuously pouring into my small intestine, which caused changes in bowel movements. Bile can produce diarrhea and loose stools.

Fats may not be broken into smaller bits. These bigger clumps of fat can cause problems in the gut as well.

This is a perfect example of knowing what changes are occurring in our bodies and determining how to adjust to the diet.  

In my case, increasing my intake of the enzyme formulation Lypazyme helped in firming the stools. Lypazyme contains 3 types of lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fats.

When taking enzymes for fats, there are two approaches

1. If you are only concerned about occasional high-fat meals, you only need to take the lipase enzyme product with those high-fat meals. 

2. If you need help with the fats in every meal or aren’t sure which meals are high in fats, you can take enzymes with all your meals.

Add other enzymes for diet changes

I try to limit my fat intake but must admit I am weak in resisting my favorite high-fat foods.  More vegetables and salads are in order, so I make sure I take some No-Fenol for digestive support of the fiber, though not too much as it may soften stools. I also add in Zyme Prime when I want digestive support for starches.

I am happy to report that the small changes in my supplement intake got me back to my old self. Things happen as we age, so be prepared to adjust your enzyme intake accordingly.

- Devin Houston, PhD