Silent Reflux After Gallbladder Removal

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I had my gallbladder taken out in, and not long after that I began getting silent reflux symptoms. I've never had reflux issues in the past, only a sour burp once in a blue moon. Has this happened to anyone else? I'm not sure if this is common, or just me being an odd duck.

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  • Posted

    You can read on this site about people's different digestive experiences after their GB has been removed.  There is a wide variation.   It appears to be fairly common.  A few of them, as I did, fall into the same category as you.  After my GB surgery I was fine for about 4 months then started getting heartburn and reflux.

    ?I looked for natural coping strategies.  I now take digestive enzymes before each meal.  When the heartburn gets worse I mix a teaspoon of magnesium citrate powder in a glass of water.  This usually helps considerably.

    ?Additional advice is to eat smaller amounts about every 3 hours, and chew your food well.  You will soon identify what food and drink upsets your digestive system.  Not everone has the same experience or solution.  It can be trial and error.

    ?I have come to believe that people are lucky if they have no post operative digestive problems.  Despite what the medical professionals say,  we need our GBs.

    ?Personally I steer clear of PPIs.

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    • Posted

      I don't get heartburn, but do get the silent reflux symptoms of acid feeling in the throat, post nasal drip, constantly clearing the throat, feeling of a lump in the throat, and so on. Prior to the surgery, the GI put me on Prilosec, but I didn't like it. I have anxiety, and that med sent my anxiety through the roof. Aside from that, I didn't have many symptoms of reflux at all. They just hit me after the surgery.

      My gallbladder went back, and kinda up, then tried to form itself in the shape of the liver. By doing that, it fused itself to my liver and I ended up with a 5th incision. The surgeon said that if the had known about the fusion, I would have had to have the traditional surgery. Even though it's said that my gallbladder wasn't working at all, I wonder what doctor's consider not working. For example, if it's only working at 10%, is that considered nonfunctional? My gallbladder was also half calcified, but I wonder if it was still working a little bit, because once it came out, all the refulx started. The gallbladder was loaded with stones, fused to the liver, stretched out, half calcified, and had no bile in it. I was told that it should have been taken out years ago, because it had gotten to the point of being dangerous. After everything I went through prior to surgery, I can believe it because I was extremely sick, and looking grey. A stone had come out, and lodged itself on my pancreas, liver enzymes were off the charts, and so much more.

      So, no PPI's, but what do you think of H2 blockers? I'm not sure about digestive enzymes, as I'm still new to this, and I don't eat every day.

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    • Posted

      Hi psyched out.

      ?I am not a medic and just like you i am trying to make sense of the effects of GB removal.  I have experienced different medical issues and always try to educate myself as much as possible in respect of each condition  Experience has taught me that doctors don't have all the answers and sometimes don't make correct decisions.  The best person to take the informed decisions, is you.

      ?What I have found in reading about post GB digestive problems is that removal of the GB is obviously removing the sac that stored the available supply of bile produced continuously by the liver.  This sac would deliver a quantity of bile to the small intestine when instructed to do so in response to a message resulting from the amount and type of food in the small intestine.

      ?Post surgery the bile will continue to be produced by the liver but is no longer stored and called upon in the required quantity.  If you think about the physiology of this, this bile is now constantly dripping in a small quantity into your small intestine whether there is food to be processed or not.  This means the bile can either be acting on your small intestine where there is no food to process, or it can be there in insufficient quantity to act on possibly increased fat or whatever.  This can have an obvious effect on your digestive processes.  Improperly processed fat can lead to diarrhoea, and I would postuate that no food present can lead to irritation of the intestinal wall.

      ?From previous reading into PPis before my GB problems I am not in favour of them.  It would take a few paragraphs to explain why.  Suffice to say that doctors hand these and H2 blockers out too readily and inappropriately in my opinion.  They can be a temporary palliative but lead to greater problems and significant side effects with longer term use.

      ?I am more in favour of a more natural approach to these problems.  These are some of the things I would recommend.  1. Drink about 2 litres of water a day, but not with meals.  2. To prevent acid reflux, sore throat,  and post nasal drip, raise the top end of your mattress.  Not the pillows.  3. For acid refux during the day, sip one teaspoon of magnesium citrate in a glass of water.  This is generally good for your health any way, but could be a problem if you have loose bowels.  4. Eat smaller amounts at least every 3 hours.  This gives that dripping bile something to work on.  5.  Incorporate 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground flax seed/linseed daily into your breakfast or soups etc.  Ths is beneficial to the gut.  6. Consider taking a digestive enzyme that incorporates a fat enzyme before each meal.  This supports and assists your impaired digestive system to obtain nutrients.  Look for a vegetable based one.  I am not allowed to say which one. 7. Supplement with good quality 5000iu vitamin D daily because you can become deficient after GB removal.  It is important that you take vitamin K2 with the D3.  You may want to get a D3 blood test to assess your levels first.  With your specific problems I would guess that you may already be deficient.  8. Consider taking a good quality probiotic.  Look into producing your own Kefir.  It is healthful and high in beneficial flora for your gut.

      9. Be sensible about your diet and look for alternative sources of beneficial fats like linseed, and nuts etc.  Fats are very important to your health.  Following your Gb removal you may have problems with long chain fats.

      ?10. Eradicate or drink alcohol in moderation.

      ?I could go on.  It is important that you educate yourself.  We are unique and can respond differently to different diets etc.  I don't know about your body and history, I am only aware of how my one functions.  Read around each of these 10 steps that I have mentioned above, don't just accept them.

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for all of your information, it's greatly appreciated!

      I don't drink alcohol, so that's at least one good thing. lol However, I do take vitamins such as super B complex, multivitamin, vitamin C, garlic, fish oil, cinnamon, and recently added biotin. I'll definitely look into everything you said. smile

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    • Posted

      I also developed silent reflux 4 months after my gb removal. For the last several months I've been going to a GI doctor, had endoscopy, tried several PPIs, otc meds, etc without any relief. I feel as if I've swallowed nuts ad bolts and it's lodged in my throat and chest, constant sore throat, after a few bites feeling full, indigestion, asthma, no appetite. I can go on...

      My surgeon, GI doctor said it's not related to the gb removal. And my GI Dr even said he was puzzled about my symptoms since the meds weren't working. He referred me out to another GI doctor, a private one and he said developing or exacerbation of gerd/LPR was common after gb removal!

      Two different doctors and such different answers.

      That's how I found this discussion thread. Never take just one or two doctors opinions. Medicine is really an art more than science.

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  • Posted

    I'm having some issues with this also.  As long as there is no after phantom gall bladder pain, I 'm okay with it.  The pain I had after was worse.  Also I'm having some lower intestional issues but just finished a natural cleanser.   We shall see.

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  • Posted

    Hi, i had my gallbladder taken out 2 days ago, and today on the 2nd day havnt been able to sleep due to the burning in my throat. I hope its not bile reflux ;(
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    • Posted

      I also get the burning in my throat, but it's not constant. However, I've been getting hot flashes, and heightened anxiety, which started a month or so after surgery.

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  • Posted

    Hi how you doing now? I had my gallbladder out too and having same anxiety cold suets reflux and I feel sad how long did it last for you ? Thanks
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  • Posted

    I had my gallbladder out a week a go and having really bad anxiety depress and acid reflux I need help how long did it last for you guys thanks any advices? My mouth tastes like salted taste but it started right after 4th day I had to go to ER Dept .to get checked they said everything was ok but this burning feeling inside my body and felt like I just have had eaten lots of salt terrible

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    • Posted

      The hot flashes from the surgery lasted a month, maybe a little longer. Doctor's tend to dismiss it, but my opinion is that it's from the body working overtime to try to heal itself inside and outside.

      I currently have that really salty taste in my mouth, that alternates with a metallic taste, but I'm not 100% sure what it's from. I have recently found out that I have a deviated septum, and a cyst in my left maxillary sinus cavity. That could easily be causing the bad tastes, or it could be from digestive problems. I really don't know.

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    • Posted

      Oh wow hope you get well soon thanks I think this is defenetly related to the gallbladder being removed I can't believe that the docs don't tell us anything before the surgery it's not fair and knowing what people go thru after worse they should prepare us and supports after help us to feel better you know?

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    • Posted

      Most doctors don't believe the after effects of the surgery, unless it's something common. That's why it's always best to be your own advocate, and don't blindly trust someone just because they're a doctor. They're humans, and make mistakes like the rest of us, but the vast majority don't believe associated problems unless they were taught them in school. Occasionally you'll run into a doctor that's much better. You can hire and fire a doctor just like you could a mechanic. At the end of the day, they work for you. smile

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    • Posted

      Yes cause even thoug I take medecines I still have that really bad burning in my stomach not good I need to feel good again we need to get back to normal
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