Diarrhea and cramps after gall bladder removal

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paula43
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/20/2006 11:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I had my gall bladder removed 5 weeks ago and have been fine. Two days ago I ate loads of fatty foods and a lot of ice cream. I knew I might have a problem but just wasn't thinking. That night I was in the bathroom with diarrhea like water and again today. It's yellowish. I have read about Questran and other similar drugs and will talk to the dr. if this continues. I would like to know if the cramping is normal with the diarrhea. I am now just having rice, bananas and toast and plenty of fluids but I wonder if it would be ok to take a small amount of Pepto Bismol? I don't want to stuff myself up with this since it's not normal diarrhea but post-op bile salt diarrhea and I don't know if Pepto or Koapectate could be harmful. Does anyone know? Thank you.

7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 6/20/2006 11:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Paula,
Welcome to Healingwell!! :-)
Keri seems to be the expert on this subject... I'm sure she'll be along shortly.
Welchol seems to be the drug of choice for post gallbladder surgery. And yes, cramps are normal for ANY type of D.
I hope you feel better soon.
Take care.
Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
 
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Keriamon
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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 6/20/2006 1:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Lil's right, on all accounts, lol.

Yes, you can get cramps, even with bile diarrhea. Yes, you can take anti-diarrheal meds for it. Imodium has a tendency to stop me up, so I only take 1/2 of one at a time or some Pepto Bismol pills (which have never constipated me, no matter how many I wind up having to take).

That you've only had diarrhea once since your surgery sounds good! I had diarrhea a lot before and after mine. You may want to try treating yourself with just a dose or two of Caltrate 600 w/vitamin D calcium pills. That's all Inape (Linda) on here takes for her bile. Start out taking one a day. If you start to get constipated, skip a day or try cutting your pills in half. If you are still a bit watery, try two pills a day.

Welchol is what I take because I have a bit more bile than the calcium alone can handle. I take one a day and usually one calcium pill a day too, but I've been a wee bit on the constipated side lately, so I have stopped the calcium for now.

paula43
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/20/2006 2:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much Lil and Keriamon. I put a call in to my GI dr. and am awaiting a callback. I have a few questions, maybe you know the answers. How long do the drs. wait to see if we in fact have a problem? I have had 2 episodes of diarrhea, one followed a cheeseburger but everyone said his is usual in the first month.

Also, can I take Calcium Carbonate (Tums) rather than Calcium Citrate which you recommended? I can't find one that's chewable and I have trouble swallowing big pills but I am grinding a Citrical up now, will do whatever I have to to get rid of this!

I am concerned that my intestines are really sore because the pain comes in waves and I have had the runs on and off all day. I've had this before in my life but wonder if it's worse without a gallbladder, like will the bile harm me permanently?

I was hoping for a good outcome and am really upset about this. Does Pepto Bismol help the cramps? Thanks in advance for any words of advice and reassurance. I felt great until Sunday night but had eaten so many fatty things, I guess this proved that I can't get away with it. I also have a lot of burping.

josey
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 117
   Posted 6/20/2006 11:49 PM (GMT -7)   
i can understand why you loaded up on junk , i have bad gallstones, and im waiting to have the surgery, so as you know, its low-no fat for 3 months now, and pronly the next few.
so dont feel bad.
i think it could be because your body isnt used to having fat, and its trying to adjust, but i would definutly call your surgen and talk to him/her about it. they need to know this kinda stuff i think.
good luck, and again, dont feel bad, i dream of chips and would kill for some chianese food, so its all good :)
feel better soon

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 6/21/2006 7:55 AM (GMT -7)   
It's not that your body is unaccustomed to fat, it's that it can't process it. When you eat fat, your gall bladder releases just enough bile to break the fat down. When you don't have a gall bladder, you get several problems going on. You don't have enough bile to mix with your fat when you eat it and so it doesn't get broken down properly--and can cause diarrhea. And you don't have a little sac to store yoru bile in, so it drips from your liver constantly and you can end up with too much bile in your intestines when there's no food in there to absorb it and thus, diarrhea. It's basically a timing problem now with not getting the bile when and where you need it in the right amounts. You can try never eating anything fatty again, but I have found that's impossible to accomplish. The best I made it was 4 months before I went crazy for some pizza. Like any extremeist diet, people just can't stick to it. And I found that going too low fat made me constipated. That's a normal reaction for normal people, but was even worse for me because my guts aren't properly balanced to begin with.

The best thing to do is practice moderation. I take my Welchol so that I can eat normal foods with normal amounts of fat, but I pick and chose my fatty foods. For instance, I never eat fast food except when we are traveling, and even then I try to avoid it. I almost never eat any fried meats anymore. I very rarely eat out and really can't tolerate doing it more than once a week anyways. Gravy and biscuits is right out. I only occasionally eat sausage and eggs for breakfast since that tends to sit too heavy on my stomach in the mornings. And I can't have any caffeine except in a mug of herbal tea; that was my trigger before and still is and will make me sick even with my regular dose of Welchol. But I can eat pizza (Red Baron suits me, as do deli pizzas, but pizzas from PIzza Hut, CiCi's, etc. are too greasy) and once in a blue moon I can have some of my grandmother's fried chicken. I can tolerate Chick-fil-A because they use peanut oil which is a good fat, unlike the partially-hydrogenated crap everyone else uses. And I eat a little cheese most days and can have a cup of creamy soup for lunch and make French recipes for supper with cream and butter. Fat doesn't bother me so much as caffeine and grease. Everyone is different, so you will have to find out what things you can have and what you can't have.

Calcium carbonate is what you have to have. But I'm thinking Tums doesn't have a lot in it? I take one 600mg calcium pill a day, but you can take up to two. The other reason why Caltrate 600 w/ vitamin D specifially is recommended is because it has a low amount of magnesium in it. Since calcium carbonate is constipating and normal people don't want to be constipated, they add magnesium into most calcium supplements in order to get them balanced. The Caltrate 600, according to Inape (Linda) is the best kind to use because it's the most constipating. Other formulas won't work as well or not at all.

I have gotten pain with my bile diarrhea before, but the calcium really helped it. I think that the excess bile irritates the intestines and causes the pain. Calcium can both help absorb the bile and it helps soothe intestinal irritations. As far as I am aware, though, the bile will not permanently harm your intestines.

I don't know if Pepto will help the cramps, but getting the diarrhea stopped usually eases or stops them. You can always take an OTC pain pill (not aspirin) to help with the pain. Heating pads or hot water bottles also can help.

It is my understanding that your body will take 6-8 weeks to adjust to not having a gall bladder. After that time, what you have in terms of reactions and bowel movements is pretty well what you can look forward to from now one. So your doctor may be reluctant to prescribe you something before that period of time is up, but, personally, I would stay on him about the Welchol. You don't have to take it when you don't need it--in fact, it can be constipating, so you shouldn't take it when you don't need it. But you can take it when you are about to eat something you know will bother you or you can take one if yoru guts get stirred up; it works better than either imodium or Pepto in getting your guts settled back down. Or, you may be like me, that, in order to eat a normal diet, you have to take one or more every day as a matter of routine.

paula43
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/22/2006 6:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Keriamon, thanks again for the very thorough explanation. I read that if you take Questran, you have to take it every day. You mentioned that you take Welchol just as needed. Is it a different form of cholestyramine? If it comes to me having to take something, I'd rather take something as needed. Yesterday was horrible, I had pains all over my belly but took some Metamcuil and pepto and calcium carbonate. I even took Tylenol...didn;t know what to do. Had a lot of gas with the diarrhea. This morning it wasn't yellow, still have it but a little firmer...yesterday it was like water. I hope this normalizes soon. I am on a totally fat free diet until the diarrhea stops, just rice, bananas and toast,chamomile and ginger tea.

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 6/22/2006 7:50 AM (GMT -7)   
I take Welchol everyday because I almost always need that doseage, but if I change up my diet in some way and start getting constipated, I will sometimes skip it. And I can always take additional dosages if I get into something that really tears me up.

Several people on here have complained that Questran gives them gas and/or bloating. I have never had this problem with Welchol, nor heard of anyone else having it, so it is what I recommend. Also, I believe Questran comes in a powder that has to be mixed with water, whereas Welchol is a pill. The powder form might be right for you since you can't swallow big pills (and it is about the size of your typical vitamin), but I think it's horribly inconvenient; how do you take one in the car while on a road trip? I do a lot of reenacting and can't keep a glass, spoon and water on hand all the time for when I need some medicine. I want a swig of something liquid and my pill and I'm good to go. I've even taken a pill with nothing more than a little melt from some ice when we've been going down the road. I like instant medicine. I have found the Welchol takes no more than 30 minutes to work. If I'm not perfectly normal in 30 minutes, I take another one. Since the Questran is a powder, it may work a bit faster. But I don't think 30 minutes is a terrible length of time; Pepto pills take as long to work for me.
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