Pain and diarrhea years after gallbladder removal

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I had my gallbladder removed just over 5 years ago.  It was barely function and I had no choice but to remove it.  I was doing great after the surgery, but about 6 months to a year later I started having pain exactly like I did when I had gallbladder attacks.  It even radiated into my mid back and increasingly got worse with each one I had- lasting sometimes up to 30 minutes.  While the pain is nowhere near as frequent as it used to be, it still happens on occasion.  Around the same time I also started to have a lot of digestive issues.  I would have to run to the restroom almost immediatley after I ate.  It started off very minor and progressivley began to get worse to the point where I couldn't eat a meal without going to the bathroom after.  I visited my gastroenterologist many times during this period and was eventually perscribed Welchol (colsevelam).  It worked great for a while, but then I started to have to take more of it in order to get the same results, even though the doctor told me I was eventually supposed to ween off of it.  Currently I take 2 pills a day and sometimes will have to take more before meals and STILL have diarrhea occasionally.   Has anyone had any luck with finding something that fixes this issue? The surgery was laparoscopic.  We've talked to other doctors about it, who all denied that  it was caused by the laproscopic surgery, but FINALLY one admitted that the two things are definitley linked together.  I'm at a point where I'm tired of having to deal with this issue.  I'm 19 and in my first year of college- I shouldn't be worried about going out because of my issues.  It's a constant thought in my head and has lead to me not being able to do things. Anything would help- I just want a normal life without having to rely on medication.

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  • Posted

    Sorry you're having these problems, which I think are related to excess bile being excreted into your small intestine by your liver.  I have the same difficulties, but I take cholestyramine, which is powder in a packet, mixed with juice nightly.  Sometimes, I need to use immodium, too, but the cholestramine does help me significantly. 

    Of course, it's upsetting to have to be reliant on medication but you may not have much of a choice in that. Though the doctor told you that you were supposed to wean off of the colsevelam, that's not very realistic of him or her.  Many people on this site will need to take medication for bile acid malobsorption for life.   

    An additional tactic to take is to eat low fat or no fat.  Try the FODMAP diet, to see if it helps.

    Best of luck to you! 

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    • Posted

      I recently switched to a powder form of colsevelam, but it gave me bad stomach pains. What is the medicine you use like? Is it very reliable? My issues with Welchol is that I can't rely on it. I've also done the FODMAP diet and had a small decrease in the number of stomach upsets I had, but it wasn't a significant enough improvement that made me want to do it longer term

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    • Posted

      So, how are you taking the colsevelam?  The cholestyramine may be a similar medication. It's light yellow and in powder form in a little packet. I spent years mixing it with orange juice and it really upset my stomach.  Let's face it, it's nasty stuff.

      I now mix 4 ounces of papaya nectar with 4 ounces of water with the powder and shake it up thoroughly.  Then I drink 3/4 of it, wait 10 to 15 minutes and drink the rest.  But I take it once a day at bed time.  

      I can understand about your reluctance to modify your diet, but unfortunately, not chosing to will only give you more trouble in the long term.  I use grass fed butter and coconut oil to cook with and stay away from high fat meats such as sausage. Can't eat pizza or Italian food.  What's helped me is to make sure I eat at least one cup of white rice or a small salad with tomatoes and a packet of salmon each day.  

      Others have been helped by using a fiber supplement, there are several formulations on the market.  You might want to look up bile acid malobsorption on line to see what others have done to manage the condition.

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  • Posted

    Hello from the States -

    I am so sorry you are going through this.  How awful and limiting to just having normal everyday life.  I had my gall bladder out 2 years ago in March, thinking it would fix everything - finding out each of us reacts differently to that GB removal. I started having serious pain and issues again in November, and have been to a regular doctor and two specialists since.  Terrible digestive pain and upset the whole digestive process.  Don't give up on searching for answers - especially on this site, and online- some people have no problems the rest of their lives, others like myself simply can never again eat even a semi-regular diet.  I would still try again in the interim a totally LOW (I mean like next to no) fat diet as it can't hurt anything. Lynda who has already responded seems to have some good thoughts and very similar experience to yours.  Part of the frustration is the waiting game, to be able to figure out WHAT is causing htis so much after surgery, like myself, and having no real answers yet- I know how that feels.  Please know you're in my thoughts and prayers today-

    Pulling for you to make it through this-


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    • Posted

      Thank you, I really appreciate your thoughtfullness.  I am planning on starting a food log (again) and taking it into another doctor to see if we can pinpoint a specfic thing that could potentially be causing the upset since it has started happening on strange occurances while I am on my meds.  I will definitely keep your suggestions in mind. 
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