Gallbladder removal and pale stools

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Im new to the site and would love some guidance, advice or just any sort of help!

I had my gallbladder removed at the end of march of this year (2019) after being taken in for emergency surgery as they found the 4cm gallstone had compacted into the bile duct. Worst pain I have ever endured. Surgery went ok and they was able to remove it through keyhole surgery rather than open. Healed nicely and no problems until now.

For the past few months my stomach has had trouble settling. Before my gallbladder removal I was on a diet of meals being no more than 4g of fat. Its all i could take without being in pain. I was on that from September 2018 to March 2019. Once i could start eating again, I tried slowly incorporating food back into my diet but my stomach has other ideas. I get cramps, wind, i feel sluggish and going to the toilet can be uncomfortable and not nice 😦 This past month it has really bothered me. I'm switching between constipation and loose bowel movements and sometimes go 4 times a day, everyday. Since surgery I get a gripping sensation where my gallbladder was but the pain isn't enough to stop me from what I am doing. As of recent i have noticed that my stools are a mix of dark brown (normal) colour and pale (very light brown, like clay) colour. Today it was mostly clay coloured and looked like someone had just attached a normal coloured stool to it.

I went to my GP last week and I am not happy with how it went. She just told me it was my IBS playing up and prescribed me antispasmodics... not answering any of the questions i asked (at this point I didn't have pale coloured stools that i knew of)

I am not sure what this all is. What i can do and how to help myself. I am stuck in this cycle of not being able to eat properly and using the loo so much that its getting embarassing.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    I had mine removed in June. I have had pale stools, clay stool, yellow, you name it. Doctors don't seem to care one bit. I've lost 30 pounds being unable to eat many foods. I have stomach burning and esophagus burning, possibly bile reflux now. I'm so sorry you're having these issues. Have you tried digestive enzymes or ox bile supplements?

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  • Posted


    i had mine removed 2 years 3 months ago.

    my stools have been pale ever since , and i agree with joannes. post.

    doctors dont care at all about our concerns about stool color.

    it scares the hell out of me , and gone on and on and on about it , but it just falls on deaf ears every time ,

    i have come to understand that doctors reasons for this is not that they dont care but more that they have not a clue as to why this is , which makes it even more worrisome.

    they just look at you as if to say well i no what that means but im not telling you , or i dont have a clue what it is .

    and thats that im sorry to say.

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  • Posted

    Hi Bumblebee,

    I really do empathize with your situation having read your message a lot of what you said resonated with myself having been through surgery July 2018. It takes the digestive system over a good 6 months to settle from the surgery. the organs are moved around during the operation a d the fact that for a year your body has been on virtually no fat diet whilst dealing with large gallstones mine were the same size as yours.

    You also had to deal with the trauma to your bile duct. This takes time to adjust i can totally relate to your comments the stools become more of a clay consistency due to the fat breakdown in the bowel.

    we don't have the gallbladder to aid in the breakdown the foods we consume as before.

    The liver is now having to play an even bigger roll in the digestive process.

    I totally agree with the comments on here that there is not a lot of advice from our care providers. Its only 9 months since your op which is not that long. since my own experiences a long the way i started my own website to try and help others going through these adjustments.

    Please refer to your Doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms or pain your not sure of. hope this helps to some degree.

    take care Joanne

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. I feel a little less stressed knowing that people are going through similar things and its not just me!

      i would love to check out your website if you are happy to give it out!

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    • Posted

      Hi I'm so glad it helped in any small way my youtube site is Jo Frances just type that name in under Gallbladder pain symptoms, should come up on there i have only done 3 videos i really need to do more had a lot on if you like the videos please leave me a comment like, and share if you wish too. i want to help as many people as i can to give each other support. Please remember your not alone out there.

      kind regards

      Jo x

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  • Posted

    it was my understanding that pale stools were a result of too much bile. Im waiting the GB removal but had a couple of occasions where id passed a pale stool. i visited the doc who said it could be an indication that too much bile was passing through ie my GB was poorly and bile was simply passing straight through.

    I was told to eat smaller meals 4-5 times throughout the day and i have to say the pale stools did stop.

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  • Posted

    I had mine out January 2019 and for the most part haven't had many issues aside from more fatty meals going right through me. Occasionally I do get lighter colored stools but they go away quickly. I assumed it was due to the lack of gallbladder, I'd never experienced it before it was removed.

    As far as the pain goes, I had to go back to the surgeon shortly after removal as I was experiencing the same pain I felt before the removal, and he said it was probably from what I'd eaten, but he mentioned Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction which he said is somewhat rare but it does cause pain in the area the gallbladder was removed. I believe he said it was fixable, and to let him know if I continued feeling pain there. I never had to follow up as it stopped after that. If the pain continues, maybe check with them about that.

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your replies. Its given me something to think and talk about to a Dr... see if they understand.

    Im trying to get an appointment but as its so close to christmas I have to wait a month or longer so im going to try and push for a sooner one cause i cant deal with this for another month.

    ive started to now get pain, which comes and goes, on my left side. A mirror to where gallbladder pain was located. It feels really swollen and full. Like someone has put a balloon in there. My partner felt it when it flared up and said it felt swollen and it was a little tender to touch. Any ideas if this is related or not?

    I feel like its all happening with me these past few months.

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    • Posted

      I experienced most of my pain on my left side just below ribs. This was before gallbladder removal 5 months ago and then post op the same pain returned which was disappointing. Doctor said there's really very little in that area to cause concern but that it's probably due to splenic flexure which is gas caught in sharp bend in intestine in that area.

      Do you have IBS? I had it before GB removal and since too. I find it I watch my diet and keep a food diary I'm able to control symptoms. I'm told it can take a year for the digestive system to adjust. I take a good probiotic and a digestive enzyme before main meals which has helped alot.

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    • Posted

      Hi Becky... Great name (not bias because my name is Becky or anything)

      I do suffer with IBS which calmed down a lot before and during my gallbladder issues... but since having it out the Dr said it could be my IBS flaring up which some of the symptoms make sense and point to IBS but not all...

      I've been struggling with my eating habits because of my gallbladder. As I said I was on a 4g fat diet and lost a lot of weight (put some back on once it was removed) but since last year i'm 2st (as of now) down in weight. I can't get my eating habits back to where they were and still stuck on a 4g diet on most days which is why my stomach probably is causing havoc.

      I went to the Dr at the start of this week and getting some blood and stool tests done but they are concerned cause now my blood pressure is quite high. It just feels like a never ending nightmare of problems.

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