Foods to Avoid When You Have No Gallbladder

Stirring bacon in a frying pan, studio shot
Frying bacon in a pan. (Image: Howard Shooter/Dorling Kindersley RF/Getty Images)

The gallbladder is a small organ that sits next to the liver and is important for storing bile. Sometimes hard deposits, known as gallstones, form in the gallbladder and will clog up the ducts, resulting in intense pain. Gallstones can be treated by surgically removing the gallbladder, but you might need to avoid certain foods after your gallbladder is removed.

Bile and Diet

Bile is made by the liver to help the body digest fats. Fats and oils do not mix well with the water-based environment of the digestive tract, which means bile is needed to emulsify fats and oils in the diet, which helps keep the fat from forming large globules that are hard for the intestines to absorb. Bile is stored in the gallbladder, where it is released in response to large, fatty meals.

Low-Fat Diet

One of the main dietary restrictions that you must follow after removal of your gallbladder is to avoid fatty foods, such as fried foods and red meat. Your liver will continue to produce bile after the removal of your gallbladder, but you will only have limited quantities in your intestines, which means your ability to absorb fats from your meals will be impaired. Consequently, you will need to avoid foods with a high fat content.

Other Restricted Foods

You might need to follow several other food restrictions after gallbladder surgery if you react poorly to foods. For example, spicy foods may irritate your digestive tract. You may also need to avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, as these may also be problematic for you after your gallbladder has been removed. However, as you recover from surgery, you can incorporate many foods into your diet as long as they do not cause side effects.

Benefits

The main reason to follow a special diet after gallbladder removal is that it can help reduce the frequency and severity of side effects. After gallbladder surgery, your ability to digest certain foods will be reduced. This means that if you eat the wrong foods, you could develop diarrhea as a result of undigested foods. Fatty and spicy meals may also cause abdominal pain, and other foods might give you gas.

Considerations

After you have your gallbladder removed, you may find it easier to have several small meals each day instead of the usual breakfast, lunch and dinner, as this will place less of a burden on your digestive tract. While you are recovering from your surgery, you may benefit from following a specially designed "bland" diet. A bland diet, according to MedLinePlus, consists of soft and low-fiber foods that are not spicy or high in fat. This diet can help reduce side effects while you heal after your operation.

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