How to Treat and Prevent Diarrhea after Gallbladder Surgery?

The gallbladder is a small but significant organ in the body. It is responsible for bile formation that helps in the breakdown of fats. Sometimes, the gallbladder can become infected requiring medical or even surgical intervention.

There are various reasons behind a gallbladder surgery. The gallbladder could be inflamed; there could be gallbladder stones development; and many more. No matter the reason, the patients experience extreme pain which can lead to the ultimate decision of surgical removal.

Diarrhea after Gallbladder Surgery

Gallbladder surgery refers to the different surgical procedures involving the gallbladder. This could include surgical removal of the gallbladder or the surgical removal of gallbladder stones. Such surgical procedures place the patient at risk for experiencing side effects or complications.

  • Diarrhea is one of the most common complications after gallbladder surgery.
  • Chronic diarrhea is defined as loose bowel movements of more than three times per day, lasting for a month or even longer.
  • 20% of patients who have undergone gallbladder surgery, experience this complication.
  • In most cases, the diarrhea eventually resolves while for the rest, the complication resolves at a much slower pace.
  • Patients experience chronic diarrhea after surgical procedures involving the gallbladder because of too much release of bile in the intestinal tract.
  • The gallbladder is responsible for storing bile. Without it, there is little or no regulation at all of the bile that enters the intestines.
  • This is not a medical emergency nor is it a major medical problem, it is simply a nuisance.

Controlling Diarrhea after Gallbladder Surgery

The good news is that diarrheal episodes after a gallbladder surgery can be controlled through diet.

  • The BRATY diet is a recommended diet for patients experiencing chronic diarrhea after a gallbladder surgery.
  • B is for bananas, R is for rice, A is for apple, T is for tea and toast, and Y is for yogurt.
  • This diet helps control diarrheal episodes and the control is even more effective with the addition of foods high in fiber.
  • Fiber should be part of the diet for patients who have undergone gallbladder surgery because it helps add bulk to the stool preventing loose, watery bowel movements.

Diarrhea after Surgery Treatment

Treatment of diarrhea after a gallbladder surgery should be consulted with a doctor. Common treatment options include:

  • Anti-diarrheal medications. This, however, is not recommended for long-term use.
  • Medications that help impair bile acid absorption such as aluminum hydroxide and cholestyramine. Bile can act as a laxative in the intestines when not in regulated amounts. Impairing absorption can also help to decrease the instance of diarrhea after surgery.