Provided By: Dr. Maria Palafox

Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located just under your liver in the upper-right section of your abdomen. Its job is to store bile, a fluid that your liver manufacturers for the digestion of fat.

Some people develop problems with their gallbladder. It may become inflamed and painful. Or it may produce hard deposits called gallstones. These conditions can block bile within your gallbladder.

When your gallbladder becomes blocked and inflamed, it may require removal. Surgery to take out your gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy. Gallbladder removal is one of the most common types of surgery. Fortunately, you can live a healthy life even without a gallbladder.

If you need gallbladder surgery, you can count on Dr. Maria Palafox, a general surgeon in San Antonio, Texas. She has extensive experience performing gallbladder removal surgery.

Here, Dr. Palafox shares five tips for avoiding discomfort after gallbladder removal.

Tip 1: Take some time off

Although gallbladder surgery is a relatively straightforward, low-risk procedure, you want to make sure you give yourself enough time to recuperate afterward. Allow a week or two of recuperation time before returning to your normal, everyday activities. Keep in mind that your energy may not return fully for up to six weeks.

Tip 2: Eat a bland diet

Your digestive system benefits from a rest after surgery. To give it a break, choose foods that are easy to digest, such as clear broth and gelatin, soon after surgery. Gradually add in soft solid foods for a few days, along with low-fiber foods such as white rice, white bread, and cooked vegetables. Avoid raw produce, which can be more difficult to digest.

Rather than eating large meals, choose smaller, more frequent meals and snacks that are easier to digest. Eating smaller meals also helps prevent gas and other symptoms that can occur during the first few weeks after gallbladder removal.

Tip 3: Avoid fatty foods

After your gallbladder removal, bile goes directly from your liver into your digestive system. For the first few weeks, this shift may interfere with your body’s ability to digest fats, which can result in bloating, loose stools, and gas. These symptoms usually improve, but until they do, cutting back on dietary fat can reduce your discomfort.

Avoid fatty foods such as:

  • Fried foods
  • Baked goods
  • Fatty meats
  • Processed meats such as sausage and bacon
  • Full-fat cheese and butter
  • Creamy sauces and soups
  • Full-fat salad dressings
  • Ice cream
  • Heavy cream

If you usually drink whole milk, try nonfat milk instead.

Tip 4: Add fiber back into your diet gradually

High-fiber foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans are great for your overall health. But during the first few weeks after gallbladder surgery, you should avoid them because they can increase the bloating and gas that sometimes occur after gallbladder removal.

Tip 5: Avoid spicy foods

Don’t worry; you can eat foods like salsa, hot sauce, and your favorite spicy dishes in the future. But during the first few weeks after having your gallbladder removed, you may feel more comfortable if you avoid spices.