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IBS Worse After Cholecystectomy

I’ve had mild IBS all my life, but it never actually affected my life. I was having mid tummy pain on and off so my doc had an ultrasound done. They found sludge in my gall bladder. Although I had had only 2 bouts of gall bladder colic in the last 10 years it was decided it was best to remove it. No stones. Both my GP and GI doc said it shouldn’t change my life. Well, I had it out about 4 years ago and it has been down hill ever since.

I think the cholecystectomy has exaggerated my IBS tenfold. First problem was the urgency. If I had to go, I’d better get to a toilet FAST. Embarrassing to say I had a few accidents while shopping etc. I had to learn the signals my body was sending when I needed to go. I was having lots of back pain, so I went on an antidepressant medication called Pamelor, (10mg) a low dose since I was not depressed. It has been known to help nerve pain. Well, low and behold, my IBS symptoms practically disappeared. So I felt fine for a few years, then I had to stop it as it was causing my heart to palpitate.

Boy, then the IBS kicked right back in but worse. I would have one sweaty, painful, crampy awful day….5-10 trips to the toilet. This would be followed by 2 days of really normal, almost hard stools. Then it would start all over again.

Now it seems I have mostly difficult days….the more fruit and veggies I eat, the worse it is. Here’s what I’ve tried, to no avail:

  • Getting off coffee
  • Taking digestive enzymes
  • Watching fat intake
  • Watching dairy
  • Taking Benefiber in water every night
  • Eliminating diet carbonated drinks

Nothing has got me back to even semi normal……I have not been able to really identify foods that cause a flare up. My life is very affected as I am worried about going out sometimes, and forget any trips to the Amazon or Africa.

(My doctor said the reason I was better on Pamelor was because it is mildly constipating.). But I think it calms the gut too.

Anyway, that’s my ugly story. Still searching for relief, but I will say I wish I still had my gallbladder!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Chris Hall moderator
    10 months ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, @linda1465! There are so many people in this community who’ve had their gallbladders removed only to find that IBS reared it’s ugly head! It can definitely be tough to identify the foods that trigger your symptoms. Have you ever considered keeping a food diary? If not, we have a great article that talks more about it. Also, I thought I’d share this article with you about the low-FODMAP diet. This gives you some pretty good guidelines on what might be a trigger food. Of course, everyone is different and has different reactions to food! Consulting a registered dietitian can be a good option to help you with trigger foods if the option is available to you. I hope this helps! Take care. – Chris, Team

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