Can removing your gallbladder help you to lose weight?

We don’t believe that the gallbladder, or its absence, can help or hinder your weight loss efforts. However, we delved deeper to explore possible answers to the question, “Can removing your gallbladder help you to lose weight?” We looked into academic journals to find the effect of gallbladder removal or cholecystectomy to weight.

Surgery - Can removing your gallbladder help you to lose weight?

What we found out was contrary to what we initially believed!


What is the effect of the gallbladder and its removal to your weight?

There are contradicting accounts as to whether patients gain or lose weight after a gallbladder surgery. Some patients reported weight gain, while others reported weight loss.

Can removing your gallbladder help you to lose weight?

It’s more likely for patients to lose rather than gain weight right after surgery. In fact, this is true for other surgeries as well and not just for cholecystectomy. Liquid and bland diets are not exactly the type of food that will make you gain more pounds.

If you had a tough time losing weight before the surgery, you would surely find this significant reduction in weight a blessing.

However, this effect is only short term. For long-term adherence to this new weight, you will have to make intelligent food choices and strictly follow your health regimen.

Can gallstones cause you to gain weight in the first place?

If the removal of gallstones and the gallbladder result to weight loss, then is it possible that the gallstones were the reason for your excessive weight in the first place?

The answer to this is no. Although obesity and gallstones often occur together, it’s because obesity is an identified risk for developing gallstones. In short, excessive weight causes gallstones and not the other way around.

Can gallbladder removal cause you to gain weight?

In a study conducted in Ireland, it shows that weight gain is possible after cholecystectomy. It’s not the direct result of gallbladder removal but the tendency of patients to indulge in food which they carefully avoided before. Thinking that they don’t need to fear gallstone attacks anymore, they eat as they please.

Thus, there’s a good chance that patients will gain weight after cholecystectomy, although it’s not the direct effect of the surgical procedure.

What’s the real cause of weight loss post-cholecystectomy?

Your reduction in weight after the surgery is actually the result of a combination of things.

Special diet – your doctor will prescribe a bland diet for you to avoid stomach upset. It will also be low in fat. Remember, you just had your gallbladder removed. There’s no storage for bile anymore. It will take some time for your body to adapt to its absence.

Reduced appetite – the discomforts of surgery will diminish your appetite. Full recovery will take several weeks, enough time to lose significant weight.

Side effects of the surgery – diarrhea, nausea or vomiting will make you lose weight even without trying. Diarrhea, especially, usually takes a longer course than nausea or vomiting.

Pain medication – some pain meds cause constipation, which adds to the loss of the desire to eat.

All these factors come into play and cause weight loss, albeit short term in nature. This temporary state, though, can act as your launch pad to a permanent healthy weight. Is that possible? Read more about this below.

What can you do to attain long-term adherence to your healthy weight?

Wouldn’t it be great to hold on to your ideal weight for the long term? Easier said than done, you’d say. Truth is – it’s actually easier than you think. Take note that the most difficult part when you plan to slim down is taking off the excess weight. In the case of a post-cholecystectomy patient, that part is over.

If that sounds like you, think of yourself standing at the crossroads. It’s what you do afterwards that will make you gain or lose weight after your gallbladder removal. Your present weight would probably be within a few pounds of your ideal weight. That weight is your clean slate – you’re starting fresh!

Of course, we share your excitement, and we’re not here to dampen your spirits. But there are a few things that you shouldn’t forget as you work on maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Gallstones are formed from bile. Even without a gallbladder, the bile continues to trickle from the liver. Stones can still form and get stuck in the common bile duct.
  • If you think that you can now eat without restraint, you’re wrong. Your risk of developing gallstones remains the same. You can’t change most risks, like your age and gender, but you can definitely modify your lifestyle.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Choose lean protein, healthy fat sources, low-fat dairy, high-fiber fruits and vegetables. Don’t follow extreme eating habits like fasting or skipping meals. Eat small meals spread throughout the day.
  • Be physically active. Refer to your doctor for the appropriate regimen for you. The diet and exercise program you choose must be compatible with your overall health condition.

The takeaway

Can removing your gallbladder help you to lose weight? Yes and no. You’ll experience significant weight loss during the recovery period. But that’s all there is to it. It’s highly likely that you’re going to regain the weight you lost in no time if you do nothing.

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