Diet for Gallstone sufferers?

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Hi There

I have increasingly had bad episodes of gallstone attacks.

I know I should be avoiding high fat, high cholesterol foods, but is there anything in particular that I should leave out completely?

More importantly, is there any guide as to what is OK to eat?

I really am completly drained by these attacks. I have had 3 severe attacked in the past 5 weeks, two of which have landed me in A&E.

Each time my symptoms have been a little different but one thing that is constant throughout each has been excruciating and paralysing pain throughout my abdominal area, up to my chest, and down my back.

My last attack was Tuesday and the pain nearly had me in tears. I didn't know what to do with myself. I couldn't sit, stand, lie down ... nothing. All I was experiencing was pain and difficulty breathing. I had no choice but to go the A&E where they gave me some Codeine and did blood tests. Luckily the pain subsided, but only after some 6 hours.

Before that my last attack was 3 weeks ago where I had the same pain, but on top of that had a temperature, jaundice, dark urine, pale stools, back pain, intense itching and nausea. It turns out it was caused by a stone blocking the bile duct. I was in pretty bad shape for a whole week.

Overall my experiences have drained me of energy and I really REALLY do not want to go through anything else like this again. I am booked in to see a specialist and I hope they will book me in for surgery soon.

In the meantime, I want to make sure I do everything I can to avoid another possible attack as I do not know how much I can cope with the pain. Tuesday night was the final straw for me ... I would have rather someone knocked me out than have gone through that. It was sheer agony.

Thanks

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  • Posted

    i was on an almost fat free diet for 6 months awaiting surgery, like you i had jaundice and as a result did not drink alcohol in this time either - a bit of bad luck as i got sick 8 days before christmas sad sad . i found i exsisted on lots of fruit and veg and wholegrains. i also decided that if i was going to have these dietry restrictions enforced on me i was going to make the best of what i ate. as a vegetarian i did not have the problem of hidden fat in meat, but worked out how to make many of my favorite meals without adding fat, curries, chilli, pasta sauce etc, i took salad to work in a lunch box to eat at lunch instead of buying a mayo laden sandwich, i snaked on fruit instead of crisps, i also learned how to make my own soups and how to use herbs and spices in my cooking. i learned so many cooking skills in that time.

    i hope you find ways of enjoying food you like that you can eat and that you find relief from your stones soon.

    vix

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  • Posted

    Although staying to a low fat diet usually helps unfortunately it does not help completely. I am due to have my gallbladder out on the 25th having suffered attacks for well over 18months (not knowing it was gallstones).

    I have lost 3st 6lbs and food has become an enemy. I found that cheese, any form of crisps, yoghurt, chocolate or any milky drinks or fried or battered food in general, roasted potatoes etc and oily fish are the worst offenders. I manage to tolerate wholemeal toast with a thin spread of Bertolli light and marmalade for breakfast. I don't usaually have lunch as my appetite is much reduced at the moment (mainly out of fear) and at night I have a jacket potato with either baked beans, tuna or prawns and light salad cream. I do have Rich Tea biscuits with a cup of tea with Lactofree milk in it. I seem to be ok with making a 2 egg omelette mixed with 2 tablespoons water and a sprinkling of mixed herbs and cooking fat free in a non stick pan. Sometimes I am ok with pasta, sweetcorn and tuna.

    It is really boring to see everyone tuck into their food and you can't have anything. One treat I seem to get away with is a Crunchie.

    Having said all this an attack can come on and you can't for the life of it think what you might have eaten to cause it. When it happens to me (I am just getting over a vomitting attack) I do not eat or drink much for two days. The attacks usually take 2 - 3 days to subside.

    Good luck and hope you get as good a Consultant as I saw.

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    • Posted

      I'm very similar to you.   I've only recently been diagnosed with gallstones after having a very painful attack.   And like you I've lost weight - food definitely is the enemy.   I didn't realise I would be allowed rich tea biscuits .... yum, that's something I can add to my diminished list!   I also poach an egg and quite often have that for breakfast.  My appetite is very reduced because I seem to be "full-up" after the tiniest meal.  The longest I've experienced an attack is 11 hours and that was VERY tiring - you must have been totally exhausted after 2/3 days.  I've had various tests and I'm seeing the surgeon in a couple of weeks, although my doctor has told me that the surgeon requires even more tests.   So, I hope to have something done SOON.
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  • Posted

    Thanks guys. I have tried to restrict myself more and more, but it seems it has got to the point where I am afraid to eat anything.

    On top of that, I LOVE food ... everyone knows that there is something wrong with me as I am not eating like I usually do. sad

    A few things that I have noticed about the attacks is that they usually start in the evening. Each time I have had one it has been on a day where I have eaten a lot (although sometimes the attacks might start some 4 or 5 hours since I had last eaten anything).

    I have also noticed that bread, cheese, meat, especially Pork, and chocolate make things worse. I am guessing these don't come as much of a suprise.

    I will definitely start eating more soups, salads, fruit and rice/pasta.

    I'm not sure about totally cutting out all fats. I would have thought that saturated fats are the ones to avoid, although it would probably be a good idea to minimise fats in the diet anyhow. Is it OK to take Cod Liver Oil or Fish Oil tablets? And how about fish like Tuna and Sardines? I can handle not eating meat, but cutting out fish too would be difficult.

    In the meantime, I just want to get my appetite back as my stomach feels very acidic, which in itself may be contributing to the nausea.

    Thanks

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    • Posted

      I was advised before leaving the hospital after my first attack of pain to stick to less than 5% fat in a meal, to eat smaller meals , avoid spices, avoid alcohol and go to skimmed milk. I did this but what you can eat is greatly reduced and boring and soul destroying. I only had 2 painful attacks in 18 months following this regime and lost 3 stone. So this is only a diet you can follow while waiting for Gallbladder removal. While this worked for me it may not be so for others as we all have Gallbladders that are in different stages of function. Eventually the Gallbladder stops working over time and with some people it can be quicker than others. This is why for some certain diets work and for others nothing works which mean the Gallbladder is useless.

       

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    • Posted

      Two things here:  I'm a firm believer in raw virgin coconut oil and this type of oil is ok.  Having said that I'm so afraid to eat fat I haven't take it for weeks now, although I use it topically on the soles of my feet.  Secondly, perhaps your nausea should be treated with something like Omeprazole to counteract the acid.
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    • Posted

      It's anything with fat or grease in it........I am currently eating fruits & veggies ..............I can't drink coffee or tea......too acidic for me.............fresh tuna cooked with out grease, canned without oil............you would have to ask your DR about cod liver oil & fish oil tablets...................I was told a very low fat program to avoid pain.  I hope that you feel better now.

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    • Posted

      That kind of oil is considered a fat with the gallbladder.............I would ask your Dr about this one.
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  • Posted

    you still need to eat!! there is no point in getting scared of food - food is your friend and a good uptake of protien and vitamins will help you to get over your surgery!! malnutrician will prolong your recovery!! yes you will get protien and iron from pork and chocolate - but if these foods cause pain you will need to find alternatives!!

    you need to find a diet that suits you - you need to eat - even if that means changing your eating habits. lots of fruit and veg, very lean cuts of meat cooked with no extra fat, boil or bake potatoes instead of roasties, add no fat to sauces - find low fat recipies of your favorite dishes - make dishes from scratch rather than use convience foods (know what you add to it). my main sorce of protien used to be cheese and nuts and i had to find alternatives i now eat these but less than before i use a lot more pulses.

    it is all about finding altrenative foods that suit your needs.

    sorry if i sound preachy - but low fat is the best way to get the nutrician you need - to be fit for surgery- and find a way of eating that does not cause you pain and suffering!!

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  • Posted

    A few other things I have thought of. I also have two other conditions - Barrett's muscosa and a large hiatus hernia so its a little difficult to know what is causing what. I avoid onions, use vegetable oil instead of olive, tuna in brine, no meat, no bananas I found I had attacks 2 days after having chicken so have stopped eating that. I can have a Chinese meal of prawn chow mein and ask the people for no onion in it and to use vey little fat. You need to get wholegrains to help your acidic tum. Wholemeal bread, pasta or brown rice. My Consultant told me there is fat in all meals. Its just knowing how to prepare them and which fats to avoid. It's a miserable time. I am quite prepared to always have low fat type foods but just want to get rid of the fear of an attack. I have just had to cut a holiday short because of an attack on Monday evening, resulting in being sick 3 times on Tuesday and feeling really unwell until Thursday evening. Lets hope there is some relief for us soon.
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    • Posted

      I hope you are feeling better now.  My daughter has had a problem for 3 weeks and finally went to the Md.  They ordered a test and her gallbladder is not funtioning properly.  It will be removed Dec 30 2016.  She can only eat plain white crackers, chicken noodle soup and water, some cooked veggies, white rice and baked potatoes and no meat.
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  • Posted

    gemini, i know nothing about your barrets mucosa - and my hernia was incisional rather than hietal - as it is you have 3 different conditions, it may be worth seeing if you can get help from a dietician (ask your gp) who can guide you with recipes and plans as to what you can eat for best results.

    good luck for your surgery on the 25th - let us know how you get on.

    vix

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I am waiting for surgery to have my gallbladder removed and I have found that living on a fat free diet cuts down on pain, I have also found that I cannot tolerate white bread, coffee, any red meat, eggs, oily fish (altough can eat tinned tuna) and potatoes. I suppose it is a matter of trying foods and then eliminating if necessary. I am eating pasta, rice, loads of fruit and vegs, chicken, seafood, wholemeal bread, quorn - strangely enough I can tolerate chillis and curries, it doesn't seem to matter how hot and spicy it is as long as it is fat free. One thing that does surprise me is I cannot even tolerate skimmed milk which seems strange as it is fat free. I am avoiding alcohol (feel my liver is getting enough of a battering as it is without adding to it) I drink herbal teas and water but not sparkling as anything gassy sets me off as well!

    I found it really hard to start with as I love cooking and used to cook with loads of olive oil, cheese ect! but this is probably what caused my gallstones!!!! it is just a matter of adapting recipes, cooking with a spray oil and I have found Rosemary Conley recipes very helpful as she follows a fat free diet.

    Good luck with your tests, hope this helps :D

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  • Posted

    [quote:6216b28a11=\"Benji\"],,, cooking with a spray oil ,,,[/quote:6216b28a11]

    Yes with 2 or 3 sprays and you can make remarkably good low fat roast potatoes :D

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