View Full Version : gallbladder removal

05-03-2006, 06:02 AM
Hi everyone,

I've been having attacks from gallstones recently and my Drs. are talking about removing my gallbladder. Although the attacks are pretty awful (I've been to the ER twice in three weeks), all I can think about is "will this make my IC symptoms worse"?

Has anyone had their gallbladder removed? Did it make your IC symptoms worse, better, or did things stay the same? Did it have any other impact on your health?

Best wishes, little bear

05-03-2006, 11:31 AM
I had my gallbladder out 6 yrs ago (they took my appendix at the same time) .. so this was 4 yrs before I was diagnosed with IC.

It has some of the diet as IC - stay away from grease and spicey foods. I felt much better about 3 days after I had mine out -- so I had pizza (MMM!!! I was soooo tastey!)

Good luck!

05-03-2006, 12:51 PM
I had my gallbladder removed December 15th. I felt so much better afterwards! It had no effect on my IC whatsoever. The first 24 hours were just a little rocky but I never had to use pain meds. In fact, I've had IC flares that were much more painful. I had some discomfort from the gas that was used to distend my abdomen, but it wasn't that bad and dissipated within a few days. Until that happened, bending was hard for me to do so standing up (including after being on the potty) was difficult so my hubby helped me. I was so proud of myself when, on day 3, I was able to go to the bathroom and stand up afterwards all by myself, just like the big girls do! By day 3 after surgery, I felt pretty darned good. Around that time I was craving pancakes and made my hubby take me out to eat....polished off a stack with no trouble at all. Ten days after surgery was Christmas Day and I was back to feeling normal. It took my system a little while to adjust to eating a normal (IC) diet but I never had to restrict my diet other than keeping it mild for a few days right after surgery.

I made one mistake in talking to the anesthesiologist. I joked about making sure I didn't wake up in the middle of surgery. He must have taken me seriously because I had a horrible time waking up afterwards. Instead of being in the recovery room for about an hour to an hour and a half, they had to keep me there for 3 1/2 hours before I was awake enough to go back to outpatient nursing.

Maybe it was because of the anesthesia, but I had one big bonus after surgery. For 3 days I had absolutely no bladder discomfort. That was wonderful!!! Then my bladder woke up and said "Hey! Remember me?" When this happened, it was no worse than before surgery---everything stayed just the same, no worse and no better.

I would caution you of one thing. If your doctors say you need to have your gb removed, don't delay. Mine was acting up for over a year and I kept quiet about it because we were going through a hard time (hubby's father died, losing him was hard and one of hubby's siblings started causing all kinds of trouble for the rest of the family). I didn't want my husband to have to deal with me going through surgery on top of all that. BIG mistake! Waiting made things worse for me. My symptoms were getting so bad I was begging for surgery and getting on the surgical schedule took time. The worst thing was that my gb had become so diseased it became very fibrous and had become attached to my liver. Thank goodness I had a skilled surgeon who was still able to cut my gall bladder free from my liver and remove it without having to go to a full abdominal incision. It was a close call. I was very VERY foolish to wait so long for surgery.

05-03-2006, 01:10 PM
I had mine removed by laparoscopic surgery and was back at my desk working 11 days later. It didn't flare my bladder at all.


05-03-2006, 02:11 PM
Just want to wish you good luck!! :grouphug: Hope this gives you a lot of relief!:grouphug:

05-03-2006, 03:16 PM
I had my gallbladder out after IC. The only problem I had was retention due to the anesthetic and the initial pain killer. It lasted about 12 hours. I had to catheterise (sp?).
The doctor and I had suspected that would happen before and had planned for it.
It was great not having any more gall bladder attacks.

05-03-2006, 03:20 PM
Yes, it can get deseased, mine already had gangrene.
So, please dont delay.
Even with my gall bladder in such bad shape, I recovered rather quickly.
Take care,

05-04-2006, 05:40 AM
Hi everyone,

Thank so much for all of your replies. I scheduled my surgery and feel much better about it after having read all of your posts.

One more question, I'm having laproscopic surgery and I work at home writing at a desk--do you all think I can get back to it after a few days? If not, how long do you think it might take based on your experiences (although I know that we're all different as far as these things go)? Also, what did you all do to pass the time while you were waiting to bounce back)?

Best wishes, little bear

PS I'm so glad that everything turned out well for you, even with your complications Annie2 and Bianchi.

05-04-2006, 12:29 PM
I would think that you could back to it while working at home. Just give yourself some breaks.

05-07-2006, 06:57 AM
Thanks so much Snuph!

Best wishes, little bear

05-10-2006, 06:09 AM
My IC was an end-result of having my gallbladder out (they catheterized me and didn't know I had a urethral stricture -- the resulting inflammation seems to have started the downward spiral...long story.)

I had to have my gallbladder out because it was diseased, although my boyfriend has gallstones and so long as he is careful about managing his diet, he does not have many attacks. (He does not want to remove it unless it becomes medically necessary to do so.)

Even after your gallbladder is removed, I recommend you stick to a low-fat, high-fiber (soluble and insoluble) diet. Your body has to adjust to not having the gallbladder to store bile (which helps digest fats) and your liver then tends to dump more bile salts into your G.I. tract, which can cause diarrhea and bloating in some people. I'm not saying this to alarm you at all. I just find that doctors don't tell you that you need to watch your diet (as if taking out an entire organ is no big deal!) afterwards. Mine didnt and I went through a lot of digestive misery until I learned to modify my diet. I never ate anything low-fat in my life (I have a quick metabolism and am very slim) until after my surgery and realized my body could no longer tolerate the foods I used to eat.

Anyway, good luck with the surgery. You should recuprate pretty quickly and the scar is not too noticeable after a while!

05-10-2006, 04:19 PM
Thanks poetgirl,

I really appreciate your message. I agree that sometimes Drs. don't give you nearly the kind of information that you need. My Dr. is an escellent surgeon, an oustanding record performing this operation. But, she doesn't believe that diet will be an issue after the surgery. But, I think that, if high fat food brought on the attacks when my gallbladder isn't working right, they could well be an issue after I don't have one at all. Of course, it would be nice if that isn't the case, but I'm preparing myself just in case. And your letter has really convinced me not to brush this off. Also, I've got to admit that I'm afraid of what could happen as far as effects after surgery are concerned, in part because I read on the web that, even if surgical complications are avoided, some patients can develop chronic diarrhea after surgery.

Thanks again for your post--although I want to be as optimistic as possible going into the surgery, I also want to be as informed as possible as well.

Best wishes, littlebear

05-11-2006, 05:44 AM
I'm glad you found my response helpful. I certainly didn't want to alarm you, although it sounds like you had already come to similar conclusions. I wish I had known about some of this prior to my surgery -- I still had to have the surgery because my gallbladder was inflamed and diseased -- because I could have prepared myself a lot better post-surgery.

Ironically, the first meal I was served in the hospital after surgery was a plate of greasy bacon and eggs. I took one look at it and felt nauseous (we should trust our bodies!) I refused to eat it. You have to wonder what they're thinking sometimes!

I have IBS-D, which was made worse by my surgery but that should come as no surprise, really. The severity of it comes and goes. I'm trying to better understand how to balance the soluble/insoluble fiber in my diet, because that's supposed to help with not only the IBS, but also to absorb fats and bile salts the body can't process as well on its own. Of course, none of my doctors have told me what to do -- I've had to figure it out on my own.

It's good that you're in that mindset already -- it will help you get situated once you recover from surgery. If you experience no complications, you should recuperate pretty quickly since the scars are pretty small. Good luck!

05-11-2006, 09:53 AM
Hi Little Bear,
I actually confirmed (figured out)the diagnosis of IC after my gallbladder was removed. I developed a nastier (than typical) bladder infection afterwards, but I think so much of that was due to inability to pee after surgery. It was like my bladder didn't want to wake up after the anesthesia (and I had the lap version of surgery). So make sure you can pee afterwards, and keep drinking, and get up and walk after the surgery as soon as you can.

I don't have any more of those nasty gallstone attacks (yeah!), but it did affect my IBS symptoms (causing me to go to poop a lot more often - sorry for being so graphic). In turn, I think the more frequent bathroom trips worsened my pelvic pain and IC discomfort (whether it be pelvic floor or bladder itself?).

I wouldn't say that I would have decided against surgery, because I don't have to tell you how extremely painful it is to have an attack. Never mind the risk of pancreatitis when a stone gets stuck. It's the worst!

I don't want to scare you, and you may have a totally different response to the surgery. My surgeon didn't tell me all the after-affects I could expect, or he downplayed them, and basically told me risks of the surgery itself. Many people have their gallbladders out and never miss a thing - hopefully that would be you! Follow Poet's advice about the after-diet.


05-11-2006, 10:44 AM
I had the same thing happen as poetgirl, I had my Gallbladder out 02/15/06 and the cathetherizaton is what brought on all my lovely symptoms..

05-11-2006, 02:23 PM
I believe the reason many drs don't emphasize watching your diet after surgery is because, for those with advanced gallbladder disease (severe enough to require surgery), the gallbladder is no longer functioning and the body has already had some time before surgery to adjust to digesting foods without the gb's assistance. Even so, I think it is a good idea to watch your fat intake for awhile afterwards. Even though my gallbladder was fibrous, totally non-functional (and, instead of many stones, had formed one giant stone), I found fatty foods just didn't have much appeal to me for a few weeks.

In addition to IC, I have ulcerative colitis and the big "D" is a constant problem for me. The surgery really didn't make this problem any worse for me. I do take meds, of course, for my colitis and they help to control this. I was really afraid of having severe diarrhea after surgery, but it did not turn out to be a problem in my case.

My surgery was a lap also. I went home 6 hours after surgery, never had to have a cath and, though I had some hesitancy the day of surgery, I was finally able to void and retention was not a problem.

My experience was that the first 3 days were uncomfortable but not horrible. Sitting up was the most uncomfortable position because of the gas still in my abdomen. Once this dissapated, sitting was not a problem. If all goes smoothly for you, I would imagine you will be back to sitting at your desk and working within a week to 10 days. I spent the first 3 days reclining on the sofa, watching Christmas specials on TV and reading. After that, I did whatever I felt up to doing. I resumed cooking, sitting at the computer, a little light walking and by Christmas Day, 10 days after surgery, I was almost totally back to normal. Now that we are retired, we spend winters in Florida. We had hoped to leave by the 1st of Jan. but my doctors thought it would be better for me to wait until a month after surgery before doing any extended travel, just to be sure there were no complications or digestion problems. So, though I was chomping at the bit to head south, we waited til mid-January to travel.

Good luck to you! Hope all goes smoothly and you are soon feeling much better without those nasty gb attacks to worry about anymore!

05-11-2006, 03:37 PM
Thanks so very much everyone! You all have been so very helpful in so many ways.

Best of luck with the soluble/insoluble diet, poetgirl (I've made a note to look inot this myself). Thanks, too, for your good thoughts Lisa.

I'm so sorry to hear that poetgirl and beachmama came down with their IC symptoms as a result of post-op cathing. This is really something to stop and think about.

And, Annie2, I really appreciate your posts too--they have been so descriptive and full of your experiences.

Thanks, again, to you all--you've given me so much really good info.

I hope that you all are feeling relatively symptom free and that you are enjoying a beautiful spring.

Best wishes, littlebear