A body shows the internal organs with a dark space in place of the gallbladder. Tattoos on the arms show a nauseous emoji face, an expressionless emoji face, and a thumbs up and a thumbs down.

IBS and Gallbladder Removal

A gallbladder removal surgery may be more controversial than you may think. For many people, having this surgery leads to the development or worsening of IBS symptoms. The connection between the two is not well known but is a growing concern in the community—as discussed here.

To learn more about your experiences with gallbladder removal and IBS, we reached out on the IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Facebook page to ask you: Has gallbladder surgery worsened your IBS?

More than 150 of you shared. Here is what you said.

“Mine is 100 percent worse.”

For many of you, your IBS became noticeably worse after your gallbladder removal surgery. You have learned to live with the fact that eating anything means a sudden trip to the restroom, no matter what.

“Yes, it has—10 times worse. Everything runs straight through me.”

“Mine is 100 percent worse. After everything I eat, I run straight to the bathroom!”

“I did not have IBS until I had my gallbladder removed.”

Sadly, many of you had no symptoms of IBS prior to having your gallbladder removed. That surgery triggered IBS—sometimes suddenly, and sometimes years later.

“I did not have IBS until I had my gallbladder removed. I started having trouble a few years after the surgery.”

“My gallbladder removal caused my IBS unfortunately.”

“Yes! I did not have it before It was removed!”

“I generally have it under control by following the low FODMAP.”

Several of you shared that the difference-make in your IBS was not whether or not you have your gallbladder. Rather, what has helped you take control back is changing what you eat. Whether you are considering a gallbladder removal surgery or have already had yours removed, it might be worth taking time to explore your food. Avoiding certain foods, such as hydrogenated oils, may relieve symptoms. It is free to experiment with your diet, and just may be the help you seek.

“I found a new doctor and asked for a second opinion about having gallbladder removal. I still have mine and I now have my IBS under control. Your diet has a lot to do with living a normal life.”

“In trying to diagnose my stomach problems, my physician removed my gallbladder. However, that was not the problem. My stomach problems persisted and then I was given the diagnosis of IBS. Now, I manage my own care with diet.”

“My IBS got worse for about 6 months, then I spent a lot of time checking food labels. I found a LOT of food additives were to blame, especially added oils. Palm, canola and others are all GMOs and often hydrogenated. EVOO is the only oil I can use, in moderation, and Kerry butter. Also, preservatives like citric acid, BHA, BHT, and nitrates and nitrites all cause problems. I drink 1% milk. No soda, alcohol.”

“Yes, definitely, but I generally have it under control by following the low FODMAP diet. This works for me!”

“There was no discernible change.”

Many of you shared that you found no noticeable difference before and after the surgery. Instead, life has been the same, and you are grateful to not be experiencing a worsening of symptoms.

“I have had IBS for more than 50 years. I had my gallbladder removed 10 years ago. There was no discernible change for better or worse regarding my IBS.”

“My gallbladder removal had no effect on my IBS.”

“I was lucky that it did not affect mine.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who shared so candidly about your IBS. We so greatly appreciate how much information you all share to help make this community one of connection and learning. Thank you!

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