Symptoms Of Gallbladder Disease — Jackson Surgical Associates

2. Leaky gut

When someone has leaky gut syndrome, the walls of the small intestine become inflamed and irritated, allowing toxins to permeate into the blood stream and become stored in our cells. Leaky gut is also known to be the cause of many gallbladder diseases.

4. Hormonal changes and menopause

Aside from the fact that gallbladder problems usually happen during the peri-menopausal age or later in life, hormonal changes also contribute to weight gain after gallbladder removal through their role in chronic inflammation.

Studies show that a decrease in estrogen corresponds with a rise in the cytokines which causes inflammation in the body. Cytokines play a crucial role in aiding cell to cell communication during immune responses but pro-inflammatory cytokines can also stimulate the movement of cells towards trauma or infection sites.


Diet plays a major role when it comes to weight management. Whether a person has gallbladder issues or not, eating much more than your body needs would definitely cause an increase of weight. This is often the case with patients who have had their gallbladders removed.

In a study following subjects post-cholecystectomy, 75% of patients gained weight just a few months after the operation. In other studies, they have identified that females are more likely to gain weight after gallbladder removal.

Here are a few assumptions from research papers as to why this happens:

  1. Patients tend to make an effort to lose weight as preparation for the surgery and they fail to maintain their weight loss after it has served its initial purpose.
  2. Many of the patients who have undergone surgery were overweight to begin with
  3. Patients were not able to restrict themselves to a healthy diet, indulging in unhealthy fats just as they used to. Many patients also eat high-fat food that they weren’t able to eat before because of the gallbladder issues. They end up ingesting more calories than they need. This attitude may be brought about by the thought that gallbladder removal will be able to solve all their problems. However, that is not the case.

Faulty fat digestion and metabolism

When the gallbladder fails to work properly, the quality of the bile produced and circulated is affected significantly. It can get too thick or can turn into sludge, causing stagnation. Over time, this can lead to gallstones that may impair the emptying of the gallbladder.

When this happens, the much-needed fats and fat-soluble vitamins are not absorbed by the body. In order to cope with less fat, our bodies go into starvation mode, preserving and holding on to the fat they already have. This can be a reason for weight gain for those with gallbladder problems.

For those who have undergone cholecystectomy, the body still experiences drastic changes. Without the gallbladder’s regulating function, bile is secreted into the small intestine at a slow and steady rate.

The bile produced by the body may be insufficient in amount or too diluted to do its job efficiently leading to faulty digestion and metabolism of fat. Apart from weight gain, this can also manifest in either diarrhea or constipation.

Gallbladder sludge: Symptoms, causes, and treatments

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Regardless of the eventual diagnosis of your gallbladder disease, most of the symptoms will be the same. This is one of the reasons it is hard to know exactly what the actual specifics of your particular issue are without several tests. The most common symptoms are indigestion, gas, bloating, burping and belching; especially (but not necessarily) following a meal. Symptoms most often occur after meals containing fat, as the disease related to the ability of the body to digest fats; but as the disease progresses it can become unrelated not only to fat intake, but even to food intake. The disease may progress to creating a constant tenderness or discomfort under the rib cage on the right side, which is unrelated to food intake. The symptoms are similar to those of a gallbladder attack but with lower severity.

Even if it does not seem to be connected to food now, the indigestion you experienced likely often followed a meal. What caused or is causing the problem with fat digestion could be one of many things: a stone could be blocking the bile flow, or the gallbladder could be distended due to stones or inflammation. The gallbladder could be not emptying fully (biliary dyskinesia), and lack of bile causes improper fat digestion. There could be infection in the gallbladder itself causing tenderness; or tenderness could simply be due to stasis of bile causing distention. Or the problem could start in the liver, with stasis of bile there via the formation of sludge or tiny calculi, which slows bile flow. Constipation and weight gain can also be symptoms of gallbladder problems, though these are not usually as relatable to fat intake.

Specific Gallbladder Diseases

Biliary Dyskinesia

Also called acalculous cholecystopathy, biliary dyskinesia is a disease or condition of the gallbladder that occurs without the presence of gallstones. It could also be termed “functional gallbladder disorder” or “impaired gallbladder emptying”. Some causes may be chronic inflammation or the gallbladder, an issue with the smooth muscles of the gallbladder, or the muscle that contracts the Sphincter of Oddi (and regulates bile flow) being too tight.

Symptoms include right upper quadrant pain, with the absence of gallstones. Any of the listed gallbladder symptoms may accompany this problem, as it results in a lack of concentrated bile from the gallbladder, which is necessary to digest fats.

There is evidence that stress may play a large role in causing this problem. The biliary dyskinesia kit is designed with that in mind.


Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder. Acute cholecystitis is nearly always due to gallstones, but may also be due to bacterial infection or chemical irritation. Chronic cholecystitis can occur with or without stones (acalculous cholecystitis is without). If there are no stones present, the medical treatment used is often antispasmodics and/or laxatives. The products in the gallbladder attack kit work very well for the pain in this particular case. Choledocholithias Choledocholithias is a condition where gallstones form in the bile ducts. This can be very painful, and symptoms can vary depending upon where the stones are and if it they are actually blocking bile flow. A stone can block the neck of the gallbladder, which causes distention and inflammation (cholecystitis). In the common bile duct, stones can cause a backing up of bile into the liver (resulting in obstructive jaundice), or into the pancreas (causing acute pancreatitis).


Cholelithiasis is the medical term for gallstones. Gallstones are solid, crystalline precipitates in the biliary tract, usually formed in the gallbladder. They consist mainly of calcium, cholesterol, and/or bilirubin. See the page devoted to gallstones for more information.


Cholangitis is inflammation of the bile duct. Acute cholangitis is most often caused by a bacterial infection resulting from stagnation of the bile in the duct. Choledocholithiasis (a gallstone that gets stuck or lodged in the bile duct) can create an obstruction that results in an infection. Infections can also be caused by a stricture or narrowing of the duct itself, such as in Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (see below), or may accompany a cancer. In this condition, something blocks the free flow of the bile, which causes a stagnant condition that allows the bacteria to take hold.

Symptoms associated with cholangitis are pain, fever, chills, jaundice and abdominal pain.

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

PSC is a hardening of the bile ducts of the liver, which obstructs the flow of bile and causes inflammation, leading to the breaking down of and eventual hardening or fibrosis of the bile ducts within the liver and outside the liver both (intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts.)


Cholestasis is the impairment of bile flow due to obstruction in small bile ducts (called intrahepatic cholestasis) or obstruction in large bile ducts (called extrahepatic cholestasis).

Symptoms of cholestasis are caused by the blocking of the secretion of bile, which results in the bile backing up into the bloodstream. This can result in jaundice and excess bilirubin in the blood, which would make the urine dark and the stools pale or chalk colored. The excess of bile salts in the systemic circulation may cause intense itching and skin irritation, and there may be fat in the stools. The clotting time of blood may be impaired due to malabsorption of fats and Vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that many clotting factors depend upon.

Gallbladder Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 8,750 people will be diagnosed with gallbladder cancer in 2006. Statistics show that gallbladder cancer occurs five times as often in Native American people in New Mexico than in whites, and that women are normally more susceptible than men.

There are rarely any symptoms early on in gallbladder cancer. It is so subtle that it is often only discovered when the gallbladder is removed for other causes, such as gallstones. Otherwise, gallbladder cancer is usually quite advanced by the time it is diagnosed.

If caught early, removing the gallbladder and affected tissues in bile ducts is the standard treatment for gallbladder cancer.

Gallbladder Polyps

Gallbladder polyps are growths or lesions that grow in and protrude from the lining of the gallbladder. They’re usually benign and rarely cancerous. 95 percent are non-cancerous, and ten percent are the result of inflammation, with most being the result of cholesterol deposits.

Gallbladder polyps usually produce no symptoms, and therefore need no treatment. They may be found accidentally if an ultrasound of the gallbladder done for some other reason. There is rarely any pain involved, and any pain that is there is most likely due to something else (such as gallstones). Occasionally, the polyps may grow large enough to require surgical removal.

How to Avoid Weight Gain After Gallbladder Surgery

The fear of gaining a few pounds is common especially during the holiday season. Unfortunately for many people with gallbladder concerns including those who have had cholecystectomy, the struggle of weight gain after gallbladder removal is constant the whole year round.

You may be one of many who are hoping to know the reasons behind this. Some causes are directly related to the surgery while others are less direct. To help you understand the problem of weight gain during gallbladder surgery recovery or even long after the procedure, we have researched and listed five possible causes of weight gain after gallbladder removal.

  1. Metabolic changes
  2. Faulty fat digestion and metabolism
  3. Diet
  4. Inflammation
  5. Insulin Resistance

Looking at the different causes of weight gain, we could see that the common solution is keeping a healthy diet and lifestyle after gallbladder removal. Food choices, daily habits (including rest and exercise), and overall diet after gallbladder surgery can greatly affect recovery and post-operation quality of life. Here are some ways to help you prevent the dreaded weight gain:

  • Eat right and be cautious of any possible vitamin deficiency
  • Reduce inflammation with supplements and avoiding pro-inflammatory foods
  • Take supplements that enhance fat digestion
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Be sure to include moderate exercise in your daily routine
  • Manage your blood sugar

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com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/lifestyle-300×202.jpg 300w,×182.jpg 272w,

jpg 611w» sizes=»(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px»>Eating right means a lot of things – it means that you should eat moderately, eat on time and eat the right things. To lose weight, many resort to starving themselves and skipping meals, only to binge a few hours or days after.

However, our bodies do not operate that way. That often just results to weight cycling or the rapid losing then re- gaining of one’s weight. Moderation is always the secret. But of course, moderately eating the wrong food will not do you any good.

If you were cautious about your pre-operation diet to avoid gallbladder attacks, you should treat your lack of gallbladder as a condition that needs as much care as before removing it. This is always true, but even more so for the first few months after gallbladder surgery.

It also means being aware of your blood sugar levels and keeping them balanced, not letting them get too low or too high. Have your glucose levels checked by your doctor. To over simplify, balancing blood sugar requires eating no sugar or refined carbohydrates and eating small frequent meals.

Make sure you have all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Some may think that eating less would automatically cause weight loss, but the lack of some vitamins and minerals will actually contribute to weight gain.

Having low levels of iron, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 can alter your metabolism, drain your energy and compromise your immune system. Stay away from processed, high-sodium, high cholesterol and sugar-loaded foods.

Given the role of inflammation in weight gain, you should also make an effort to avoid any food or activities that will aggravate or start inflammation. Watch out for common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy and peanuts.

Triggering allergies will cause a wealth of problems beyond weight gain. Include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet such as beets, fresh or dried turmeric root, coconut oil, chia seeds and many more. You can never go wrong with a diet rich in omega-3, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.


Although inflammation is not a direct result of gallbladder removal, it is still a common cause for weight gain among those who have undergone cholecystectomy. There are many ways that inflammation can change our body’s homeostasis or normal balance as proven by a number of studies linking chronic inflammation to weight gain.

Inflammation causes leptin, the “weight control hormone”, to be less efficient. This hormonal disruption affects our hypothalamus, increasing our appetites and slowing down metabolism. Inflammation in the gut also leads to irregular appetite and increased sugar cravings. Inflammatory cytokines, released by fat cells also cause weight gain.

Insulin Resistance

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com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/diabetes-300×195.jpg 300w, 472w» sizes=»(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px»>Insulin resistance may be listed as one of the causes of inflammation.

However, its prevalence (over 80 million Americans suffer from this) and the sheer number of complications it can bring about demand that it be listed as an independent concern that anyone should be cautious about.

Similar to inflammation, this is not directly caused by cholecystectomy but it is a very common condition that can develop within the same high risk group as gallbladder diseases, probably because insulin resistance is one of the causes for the formation of gallstones.

Insulin resistance is a precursor for the development of type 2 diabetes and it is most often associated with fatigue and weight gain. It is a condition wherein body cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin which helps in the absorption of glucose from the bloodstream.

This leads to a build-up of sugar in the blood. High levels of insulin can induce the feeling of lethargy and can fuel sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Insulin resistance can not only cause weight gain, but it can also cause localized areas of fat growth.

Aside from the obesity threat that this condition poses, studies show that women who are insulin resistant are also at risk for hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Metabolic changes

Although surgical removal of the gallbladder is not as incapacitating as taking out other organs, its absence can still have a significant impact on our bodies. There are numerous changes post-operation that alter the body’s metabolic and digestive processes leading to weight gain after gallbladder removal.

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