Diarrea after gall bladder removed!!!

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/4/2007 11:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi I am new to this site, I came upon it while trying to look for info on why I have been having diarrea so bad. The bad news looks like this is something that happens alot. I wish I would have been warned of this.. I had it removed sept 13, which was a emergency I thought I just had heartburn. But starting vomiting, and my eyes were turning yellow. I had alot of stones which some were blocking my bile duct, after surgery, I had to go back under the next day to get a stint placed from my bile duct to my intenstines, which I still have in, this does not come out until nov. I was in the hospital for 5 days, came home and ended up back in the emergency room the next day, with severe pain. Which was caused from not having a bowel movement for 10 days.. Ever since then I have not had a solid bm.  And it just keeps getting worse.. Doc, sent me to lab for test.. Have not heard results yet.. I was reading this site and there were some meds that were mentioned which can help.. I go back to my doc next week and would like some info,, so i can be prepared for visit.. I am getting released to go back to work next week, and am scared because of constant diarrea.. I work construction and bathrooms are not easy to get to and sometimes very messy. Any help would be helpful... Thanks

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/5/2007 12:47 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Electric, welcome to the forum.  I'm sorry to hear about your gallbladder nightmare; it sounds like it was pretty rough (and continues to be).

Many times, people have an initial period of diarrhea post-gallbladder removal that clears up on its own after several weeks.  Some people have long-term diarrheal problems.  Either way, there is a drug called cholestyramine that acts to bind the bile acids produced by your liver.  Your gallbladder normally stores some of these bile acids but now that it's gone, there's a little acid overload in your small intestine.  The body normally will compensate for this in a matter of time, so hang in there.

Cholestyramine is actually primarily used as a cholesterol-lowering medication but it works for this issue as well.  There is a powder, called Questran, that can be taken with food, and there's also a pill form called Welchol.  Definitely ask your doc about those.

Best of luck and keep us updated.

Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 10/5/2007 9:24 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm on the Welchol myself. My gall bladder will have been out 5 years in February and I have D if I don't take the Welchol regularly.

However, it does take everyone's body 6-8 weeks to adjust to not having a gall bladder. While I very much recommend the Welchol to people who have D after that point, I would recommend that you tough it out until then. That's because your symptoms may change radically between now and then. A few fortunate people's symptoms clear up totally, while some's D goes away, but heartburn replaces it, or some people can switch over to C. So I'd recommend that you wait and see what course of action your body winds up deciding to take, then treat that. After 6-8 weeks, what you're left with is pretty much what you'll be like for a very, very long time.

Also, right after I had my gall bladder out, I had to be VERY careful about what I ate. Doctors who tell you that you can eat anything you want are lying (or just don't know any better). Eat bland food (no Mexican or Italian, much less Thai), and avoid meat. The only two meats I could tolerate just after my surgery were fish and chicken; pork and beef made my guts worse. Also no caffeine--including no de-caf coffee, which still has too much caffiene in it. Also, stay low-fat. After the 6-8 week mark, you should be able to add some of those things back in. I can have spicy food and all forms of meat now. I still can't have caffeine, though, and I have to be a bit particular with my fats. I can't do fat from fried foods, but fat from dairy seems to be okay. Basically, I had quite a bit of D after my surgery, but when I figured out what was making it worse, I changed my diet, and was better. After a while I was able to add most stuff back in (caffeine, though, had been a trigger for my gall bladder attacks even before I got it out). But it was the Welchol, really, that allowed me to go back to an almost normal diet (I almost never eat fast food and I can't tolerate eating out more than once every week or two--food like that is too greasy).

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/5/2007 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the info.. I have already dropped 5lbs, because of this. I am afraid to eat anything. I went and bought some over over the counter anti diarrheal medicine. Because I have to go back to work on Monday. I am still getting some heartburn, but not as bad as before I had the GB removed. I already cut out coffee.. And noticed no pop, gets me very nauseated. What are some bland foods that help? Any suggestions..Thanks

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 10/5/2007 3:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Chicken (not fried), rice (not fried), bread, chicken or turkey sandwiches, tuna or chicken salad, turkey bacon (cooked in microwave), chicken and/or turkey hot dogs, chicken soup, egg drop soup.

Unlike someone with IBS, you should be able to tolerate vegetables. I used to be able to tolerate fruits, but apples are a no-no now, as are all fruit juices. Probably because of the fruit acid on top of the excess acid (bile) that I already have. But veggies should be okay and cooked fruit in moderation.

Also, just because something's not spicy doesn't mean it has to be bland. Garlic and onions and cinnamon and rosemary and orgeno and things like that are okay for me. Just stay away from chili powders and ground red pepper and jalopenos and things that are hot like that. You should also stay off tomatos for a while, since they are acidic like fruits (heck, they are a fruit!), but you should be able to reintroduce them later.

I can do milk and diary products, but because of the fatr content, you might have to start with skim milk. I drink 2% because that's all acidophillus milk comes in, but I'd never attempt whole milk: too fatty. Although I can tolerate ice cream pretty well, but I don't eat that as often as cereal. How often you eat something can make a difference. You will eventually find that you can have somethings--like fajitas from a Mexican restaurant or pizza--but you can't have them too many days in a row. I ate out twice last week and had some stomach problems Monday because my guts aren't used to greasy restaurant food, even though I didn't have anything fried and all the components of my meals were things I could normally tolerate. But restaurants just don't cook as lean as I do, so I paid the price for two rich meals back-to-back. Now, this week, I've been careful about what I eat at home.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 10/5/2007 3:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh, bananas are a non-acidic fruit and are naturally constipating as well, so they should be okay for you (I don't like them myself). Now, what I do like is dehydrated banana chips. Boy, those will REALLY give you C if you eat more than a handful of them. You can always see if you can treat your D with them. :-)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 185
   Posted 10/6/2007 5:07 PM (GMT -6)   
This is what has helped me for more than 9 years with almost daily attacks of urgent diarrhea after having my Gall Bladder removed. Calcium is known to be constipating so if you are that IBS type do not take it. All calcium is not the same. Here is the what and how to take the calcium information if you suffer from diarrhea.

Calcium is an OTC supplement we all do not usually get enough of. No Rx is needed to purchase this.

When you take calcium about 40% of the dose gets to the bones the rest is eliminated in our waste. The calcium goes to the intestines and soaks up excess fluids and binds them together and they are gotten rid of in our waste.

This is a process that can be continued by taking the calcium carbonate on a daily basis thus giving a more formed BM.

There is calcium carbonate which helps us with diarrhea and there is calcium citrate which is more easily absorbed by the body and gets to the bones but is not as helpful in controlling diarrhea.

A lot of the calcium supplements contain a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. Magnesium is not helpful for us with diarrhea only causing more in most cases. So, do not purchase this combination. It will only make things worse. Also if you are taking a multi vitamin with magnesium this may be a source of some of the problem if you are having diarrhea. Also for me vitamin C and E seemed to cause me stomach upset.

The dose to take is different for everyone. I must take 3 a day one at each meal and it does not make a difference if I take it before during or after just take it regularly. Taking them at least 4 or 5 hours apart is also necessary so the calcium has time to go through the system and soak up excess bile and water. Sometimes, because of the long number of hours between dinner and breakfast it may be necessary to adjust your timing to taking one at bedtime with a small snack to get better results if you are a person who usually suffers from diarrhea in the mornings.

The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with Vitamin D and Minerals in the purple and white box. This information is from the many users that have sent me emails and of the posters on the web site. I hope this will help anyone wishing to try it and I am always here to answer any questions for you. I have a lot of feed back form many users.

You must also have some testing done to be sure you are not dealing with anything more serious. This is most important.

There are other things to consider. If you take any other meds check the side effects and also check with the Doctor or Pharmacist to see if taking calcium will interfere with your other medications and how you might take them. I know if you take thyroid meds it is important not to take the calcium at the same time but maybe 4 hours apart. The calcium will soak up the thyroid medication and you will not be getting the benefit from it. You should also look at the side effects of any other meds you may be on this can contribute to the success or failure of using calcium to help to control your diarrhea. You may also consider if you are constipated and taking calcium this may be the reason for your constipation. You can most likely switch to another form of calcium to relieve this also.

The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium, you may have some gas or indigestion but this usually goes away soon after taking a regular dose for a few days as your body adjusts to the added calcium.

Starting with 1/2 tablet doses with each meal will lessen this problem and it may be enough to control the diarrhea attacks without making you constipated.

Constipation can be a problem so be careful not to take too much. It is safe for most of us to take 1800 mg a day as long as your body processes calcium correctly and you do not have some underlying problem. Check with your Doctor.

I had my gall bladder removed in 1976 and from that time on I had suffered urgent attacks of diarrhea. Went through a lot of test but nothing else could be found. I took many of the meds for bowel spasms and cramps over the years but nothing ever seemed to help. I started to take a calcium supplement to help prevent bone loss in later years and from the first day I felt relief. I was pretty much a prisoner to the bathroom or had to go without eating to be able to leave the house.

I must take 1 tablet with each meal and the diarrhea does not come back if I miss taking it I get diarrhea. It is a trial and error situation to find the right amount that may help you.

The way it works is the calcium carbonate it a binder and when you take it only about 40% of the calcium gets to the bones and the rest is gotten rid of in our waste. During that process it gets to the intestines and soaks up excess bile and water and helps give a more solid BM. Now that you have no gall bladder the bile fluid goes directly into the intestines and causes irritation and diarrhea. The calcium carbonate soaks this up and no more diarrhea. It works great for a lot of us and you just have to take the calcium regularly and do not miss.

I started with Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals and it does seem to make a difference in the ingredients of calcium... This one seems to do the best job for most. You can buy other store brands of calcium with the same ingredients that work just as well but they need to have the same ingredients. I get Member's Mark Brand from Sam's Club you get 300 tablets for 8.99. Let me know if you need more help. You won't be sorry if you try it.

I suggest starting with 1/2 tablet with each meal at first this may be enough to control the diarrhea if not in a few days up the dose to 1 tablet with each meal or any combination there of. The side effect is constipation so if you feel it coming on just cut the dose. It is important to use a calcium that is as much alike as the Caltrate brand from the feedback I have gotten.

Let me list the ingredients:

Vitamin D 400 IU (The sunshine vitamin needed to help the body absorb calcium)

Calcium 500 or 600 MG (This should be calcium carbonate form) (Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium is vital to muscle and nerve function, blood clotting and metabolism.)

Magnesium 50 MG (No more than this amount because magnesium will cause you to have diarrhea but because calcium is constipating the magnesium helps to counter act that effect) (Magnesium is essential to build bones and is needed for muscle function, energy metabolism, trans-mission of nerve impulses and to make genetic material and protein.)

Zinc 7.5 MG (Zinc is necessary for some metabolic processes, normal growth and sexual development, and proper immune system functions.)

Copper 1 MG (Copper promotes iron absorption and is essential to red blood cells, connective tissue, fibers and skin pigmentation.)

Manganese 1.8 MG (Maganese plays an important role in metabolism and is also needed to build bones and tendons.)

Boron 250 MCG. (Improves calcium and magnesium retention. Similar improvements can also be seen in Vitamin D deficient post-menopausal females.)

There are other brands with the same ingredients so get something as close as you can. Then start with 1/2 tablet with each meal and in a few days if this is not enough to control your diarrhea then up the dose to 1 tablet with each meal. If you feel you are becoming constipated then cut back on the dose. You may have to stop the calcium completely then start back after you have a BM at a lower dose.

It has been working since the first day I started taking it July 1998 and as long as I take 3 a day (this is the amount I must take it may be different for you) I remain diarrhea free. No cramps, bloating or diarrhea.
The dose you take with each meal is not the dose that is helping you at that meal it is the prior ones that have time to works their way through you system to soak up excess bile and water in the intestines.

It also works for those of you who still have the gall bladder.

Take Care,


Suffered Urgent Diarrhea Attacks After Having Gall Bladder Removed in 1976. This is now controlled by taking Calcium Carbonate.

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