IBS and Cholecystectomy: Does Gallbladder Removal Affect IBS?
Last updated: May 2023
I just had my gallbladder removed recently and now I wait to see if it will change my IBS. While it is different for everyone, I have plenty of people telling me to expect chronic diarrhea. I have IBS-M. That means I already have bouts of chronic diarrhea.
Differences in medical opinions
My surgeon told me to expect diarrhea at first. He said it resolves for most people but could take weeks or months to resolve. The information I was given stated it was uncommon for people to experience chronic diarrhea after an initial adjustment period. I was told to stick to a low-fat diet and that would likely prevent chronic diarrhea.
My primary care physician said it is fairly common to have lifelong chronic diarrhea after gallbladder removal but I may not notice any change after living with IBS for decades. She said I may notice no changes or I may even see some improvement in symptoms after dealing with gallstones and pancreatitis for a while. It is a wait-and-see deal, but she expects that it will either be the same or better.
Sticking to the low-fat diet
It has only been a little over a week since surgery, but I have managed to stick to a low-fat diet. In fact, I have been sticking to a diet with almost no fat for fear of making recovery worse. At this point, my bowel movements are not solid. It is not exactly a liquid, but it is not really solid, either. I am not trying to make it worse.
While I like to think this is temporary and just a part of recovery, is it really? Will this become permanent or will it improve? Only time will tell. Eating a low-fat diet is supposed to help, so that is what I am doing. At the very least, I will know it is not related to my diet if there is no improvement in symptoms.
Noticing IBS symptoms during recovery
I have restricted my diet a great deal. I am trying to avoid foods that cause gas or bloating and stick to low-fat foods. My options are limited and I feel starved most of the time. However, I feel like it is important to stick to the recommended diet and try to keep my IBS in check as much as possible during recovery.
Still, I do notice symptoms of IBS and I wonder if this is an overlap of symptoms from IBS and gallbladder removal. How would I know? I still have lots of gas, but that is expected after laparoscopic surgery. I have bloating caused by gas. Is it IBS or from the surgery? I do not know. All I know is that I am not trying to add to the misery and have adjusted my diet.
Waiting to see what the future holds
Will having my gallbladder removed affect my IBS? Will it get better or worse or stay the same? There is no way to know what the future holds. Only time will tell. It seems that many people experience IBS-like symptoms after gallbladder removal, and some of them have these symptoms for a lifetime. Well, I already have all of those symptoms. Maybe I will not see a change at all.
Have you had your gallbladder removed? Did you notice a change in symptoms? Did it make your IBS symptoms better or worse? I would love to hear about your experience.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?