Did you experience a lot of symptoms/complications after having your gallbladder removed?

Posted , 17 users are following.

I’m conflicted on what to do. Since I have been eating a low fat diet, I have not experienced any dreadful gallbladder attacks. My only trigger foods seemed to be greasy, fried, & fatty things. However, I have been thinking about having it removed to avoid more issues later on. After reading some of the discussions on here & a couple other sites, I am not so sure I want to. I have seen others saying that they do not feel better post OP & still have a lot of discomfort & digestive issues. That worries me greatly, & it is making it harder to come to a decision. I just want to feel normal again, but now I am afraid I never will. I thought removal would be the answer, but now I am not so sure. Any input is welcomed. 

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  • Posted

    I'm in the exact same situation. I have decided to get mine out for a variety of reasons. These are, in no particular order:

    1) I am worried about things like the gall bladder getting infected, or having a bile duct blockage that makes the situation urgent and requiring emergency surgery. I have a few other things going on medically, and I don't want to be in a potential life and death situation and trying to explain what I need. By planning in advance I can avoid this and have everything in my record and the doctor/anaesthetist on board with what things I need done. I can also hopefully avoid the possible need to have open surgery, that requires around 6 weeks recovery time.

    2) I don't want to always be looking at food as a potential problem. I want to (hopefully) be able to eat a wider variety of food, without fear that I may be in pain for hours/days or weeks, like my last attack.

    3) I don't want to have the constant fear that an attack can come on at any time. (The last one came about by fatty food, but stayed around even when I ate the most boring food)

    4) I just want this all behind me, and knowing I have surgery coming up in the next few months (I'm awaiting a date) means I can not plan anything major like a holiday or whatever. I would hate to have an attack that causes me to miss a holiday or important event in my kids life if I leave it. 

    5) I have had 2 surgeons, independent of each other, suggest that I am a very straight forward case. They've both suggested that the stories I'm hearing of people who still have issues may not have necessarily been as clear cut as me, and may have had other contributing problems. 

    6) In my real life, i know of 3 people who have had theirs out. One has multiple gut issues and having the gall bladder out did not help, but it was a long shot for her anyway. Another was not symptomatic  but chose to get hers out as she is elderly and didn't want potential surgery at a later date, when she may have not been as strong. She has had no complications since. The last one still has the same problems post surgery, and regrets having his out. However, after talking to me he agrees mine should come out. I also keep telling myself that generally people on forums are the ones with issues, and the rest are out living their lives. It seems like a huge portion of people have issues, but maybe in the big scheme of things, it's a small percentage. 

    So I am not concerned about the surgery itself, but I am worried that i will go through all this as still not have a solution. If I'm going to have problems, then I may as well have problems WITH all my body parts. However, I'm hoping that I'll be one of those ones out living my life and eating normally.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, it's a tough call either way.

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    • Posted

      Hi Kim

      You seem very well organised and informed and I don't want to be negative but I want to point out to you that by having keyhole surgery you will still feel unwell and unable to do much for at least six weeks if not longer, the surgeon is still going through all the layers of skin fat and muscle to get into the abdomen and you are still going under a general anaesthetic  all of which take their toll plus you are having an organ removed and the body takes a long time to adjust to this. I know that open surgery takes longer for the wound to heal but no one can guarantee that it won't end up as open surgery until they commence.

      One thing that you have to consider is that by leaving it the problem won't go away and the older you get the harder it will be to recover, also you do run the risk of gallbladder cancer which although rare is a possibility (I have known two people with it) - I am not suggesting all that you dash off and get it done but many many people recover extremely well, I know many of them and don't have issues. Like you say it is a difficult dilemma and I hope you come to the right decision. I am in no way a dr but have been through this myself, mainly convincing myself there was nothing wrong, had it out and bingo it was severely diseased.

      Best wishes

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    • Posted

      Hi Joanna, I'm sure everyone is different but multiple medical professionals have said keyhole surgery is about a week's recovery. Even with a reasonably physical job I've been told that I can probably go back to work in about 2 weeks. With everything going well, I'll be in hospital overnight only. I know open surgery can occur any time, but I feel it's more likely to happen in an emergency situation where the gallbladder may be in worse shape.

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    • Posted

      Hi Kim

      It is amazing and laughable that you think that you will be recovered after a week, my very experienced surgeon said to take it very easy for at least a month, I work in administration and he was cautious that I may be able to go back to work within 2/3 weeks at best.  Good luck with your operation, for your information most keyhole surgery is done as a day patient these days.

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    • Posted

      Hi Joanna I agree about length of time. I’ve been told 2-6 weeks after keyhole as everyone is different. After my hysterectomy I was 3 weeks in my house moving but carefully and it was 2 months before I could get about as before.  So I am prepared and preparing my boss for 3 weeks possible longer. That is as you say they do it keyhole and do not have to go to an open procedure.  I’m doing everything they’ve advised my eating carefully and trying to avoid stress.  They told me if I can avoid flare ups best I can it’s a better operation and potentially better post op outcome. X
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    • Posted

      Luaghable? OK then. We shall agree to disagree. I am in Australia and keyhole is an overnight stay at the least. BTW, the 2 surgeons I have seen are also very experienced. 
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    • Posted

      Thank you for sharing, Kim. I can relate to many of your concerns. I too worry that it will becoming infected or that a stone will block the bile duct, & I get a lot of anxiety after I finish a meal. I’ve been dealing with gallstones now for 5 years. However, I was constantly being told that my issues were from acid reflux. I actually just found out that I have gallstones back in June when I went to the ER. I don’t remember what it is like to eat a meal & not worry if I will pay for it later. It truly does make you feel miserable. I often get so frustrated that I end up crying over it all. I hope your surgery goes well. Do you have a date yet?

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    • Posted

      Thanks. I am awaiting a letter that will give me about 2 weeks notice of the surgery. I'm a category 2, which means I should be operated on within 2 months. So, for now, I wait.

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    • Posted

      Hello,

      Yes, seven weeks ago I had my GB removed, the larger 'keyhole' site by my belly button is where I believe they take the gallbladder out, this is still tender and definitely had been sore the longest. I have in no way wanted to deter or contradict anyone on here as our journeys are all different but you must be kind to yourself after surgery, even the site where they cut and clip where the gallbladder was from your liver is going to take while to settle. Taking it easy for a few weeks is going to give you a much better outcome long-term.

      Very best wishes💛

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    • Posted

      Most surgeons say 3 weeks recovery for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, but everyone is different in how quickly they recover from surgery. You can’t drive after one week as it can invalidate your insurance and lifting things can cause hernias and split stitches, so take care.
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  • Posted

    Hi, I had mine removed in March and I am glad I did. It was so full of stones that it became infected in the end and every attack became more painful and longer in duration. Worst ever was almost 24 hours sad Only difference to life now is eating much better than before - more varied and much healthier. Surgery was not as painful as a bad attack for me.

    The fear of having another art was enough for me. I was having them every week. Had a few minor issue with digestion at first but by eating small amounts and low-fat I have managed to sort all that out.

    Always people with bad experiences but mine was mainly positive.

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    • Posted

      Most people recover well. Many of those who post here are the unlucky ones who don’t. They are seeking help. The others who do recover well don’t tend to post because they are fine.

      What is the alternative? Keeping a sick gallbladder can lead to all sorts of problems, some life threatening. 

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  • Posted

     Good morning. I found this thread by accident after discovering that my my abdominal/chest  pain was in fact gallstones.  I’ve been under the weather for weeks with a pain in my back right shoulder blade for months.  This I attributed to bad posture.  My diet being a yo yo dieter is almost all low fat even when I slip.  This time  it was ice cream and crisps. I’ve also been stressed at work.  3 July I thought I had a vicious panic attack.  Why? I work in mental health and my clients describe panic attacks as a tightening chest etc and because I practiced what I preach and breathed the pain left me.  3 weeks later it was back and worse!  I felt sick this time so made myself vomit. This episode went on during the night.  I still could explain away my 2 episodes and constantl shoulder pain. Till last Thursday the 8 August. After my all bran, skim milk breakfast the pain hit me, stronger and nastier. I collapsed to the floor thinking I was having a heart attack. I was rushed to hospital. I was scared.

    24 hours later I’d had bloods and scans and was on an urgent list for removal.

    I’ve read lots of pro and against surgery but for me it’s a no brainer.  I’d sell my soul to the devil rather than have another attack and to be free of this nagging body pain will be wonderful

    I’ve spoken to the surgeons and pre assessment team who know I’m nervous but I’ve got to deal with that like I did when I had endometriosis and my womb was removed.

    I’m not sure my comments help but I hope they add positively to your thinking.

    I’m 50, married 3 daughters about 3 stone overweight (12 3 - losing fast right now) 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I can totally relate. Gallbladder issues are no joke. Have you had your surgery yet? If not, I hope all goes well & you can finally be on the road to feeling better! 

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    • Posted

      Not yet. We are going to Greece Monday and because the return flight on the 30th is more than 4 hours I have to wait until October x
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