Gallbladder Surgery Recovery Time
Some people recover quickly from a cholecystectomy, while others take longer, feeling discomfort and even pain for 2-3 months after gallbladder removal. In most cases, that will resolve over time.
Of those who tell me that they feel great right out of the gate, I often wonder if they are not just so relieved to be free of the attacks, the pain, the nausea, the tenderness and other gallbladder symptoms, that they don’t notice minor discomfort.
But maybe there just aren't any symptoms to speak of!
For those who call me asking how long it will take for the pain to go away and if it is normal to feel pain after gallbladder surgery, I say this: “Discomfort is common for 2-3 months.”
I have seen it last for 12 months and then suddenly disappear.
Apart from any pain resulting from scar tissue or other surgery-related issues, the symptoms listed below are related to the possible side effects of no longer having a gallbladder.
The symptoms have a root cause, some of which are due to the side-effects of having no gallbladder; some are due to something totally different, such as food allergies or inflammation; and some are a combination of several underlying things going on simultaneously. The links lead to more in-depth information.
Symptoms After Gallbladder Removal
- severe pain
- mild discomfort
- gas and bloating, distension
- burping, belching
- feelings of fullness
- heartburn, new or worse
- acid and bile reflux
- Barrett's esophagus
- dumping syndrome
- weight gain
Gallbladder Attacks After Removal
How could anyone have gallbladder attacks with no gallbladder? Well, technically, they can’t. But if you had gallstones, the attacks were brought on by gallstones blocking the neck or a bile duct. After surgery, stones can still form in the bile ducts and liver, producing the same symptoms and pain.
So even though the gallbladder, its neck, and the cystic duct have been removed during cholecystectomy, it is still possible to develop a stone inside the bile duct. This condition is called choledocolithiasis.
If you had your gallbladder removed due to a low-functioning gallbladder without stones, you are not likely to experience any severe pain like you did before. However, other gallbladder symptoms may be present and may arise over the following months and years. These are primarily due to insufficient, less concentrated bile, or an imbalance in bile acids creating toxic bile.
Attacks are only one of several problems people may experience after gallbladder removal. While some problems are just annoying, others cause excruciating pain. But all of them have an underlying cause. It may take some sleuthing to find that cause in some cases. Others are rather easily understood and can be resolved with a little effort.
You can use diet to prepare for surgery and to support your recovery afterward, but if you have any symptoms whatsoever, following our Diet After Gallbladder Removal makes sense.