(Note: I originally wrote this article in the summer of 2010. I survived on this diet for six months, but ultimately decided to give up my gallbladder to a surgeon.)
My gallstones diet advice: Ugh, my health has destroyed my productivity lately. Due to a mysterious stomach ailment, I’ve had a lot of “stomach” pain, visited the ER several times, met a lot of doctors, had many tests, and lost thirty pounds in less than seven weeks.
At this time we don’t know if it’s the main cause of the problem yet, but one thing going on for sure is that I have gallstones. Gallstones are quite literally stones that form in the gallbladder. As I’ve learned, the gallbladder is a little organ that sits below the liver (see the images below), and stores bile that is produced by the liver. When your body chemistry is out of whack (or perhaps because of hereditary factors), gallstones form, and the gallstones can then cause a lot of pain (though you can also have gallstones and never know it).
After all this, I now realize the actual “stomach” is just one small part of our overall digestive system, and these days my primary focus is on the gallbladder and gallstones, specifically improving my diet to reduce my gallbladder pain.
My gallstones diet advice
Looking at this from a positive standpoint, it turns out that gallstones pain makes for a wonderful biofeedback mechanism. Eat too much, and the gallstones give you pain. Or eat a little, but too much of the wrong food, and the gallstones give you pain. Living with gallstones is like having a natural Lap-Band procedure, and I've found that by eating a "gallstone diet" I've been able to avoid pain and continue losing weight, which in my case is a good thing. (Even after all the weight loss, I could still stand to lose another 10-20 pounds.) As I update this article, now 12 weeks after my initial problems, I've lost 38 pounds and my cholesterol level is down to an amazing 140 — that's how healthy a good gallstones diet can be for you(!).
For the last eight weeks I've been paying real attention to what I eat, and the resulting gallbladder pain, or non-pain. Based on keeping a log of what I eat, I thought I'd share my gallstones diet advice here, in case it will help anyone else currently suffering from gallstones pain.
Gallstones diet Rule #1: Drink a lot of good fluids
Rule number one of my gallstones diet advice is to drink a lot of water. Whenever I have any gallbladder pain, I immediately start drinking water, and the pain subsides in roughly an hour. Or, if I just drink a lot of water from the morning on, the pain never gets too bad.
That being said, I don't happen to like water, so I usually add a wee bit of lemon juice and Equal to it, and it has a decent flavor. From time to time I'll also drink Gatorade or their G2 product.
Juice is also good. A product named Juicy Juice is actually made from real juice, so I've been focusing on it. I've read that grape juice is supposed to be very good for gallstones and gallbladder pain, and I've had no problems drinking it.
To summarize, okay drinks so far are:
- Water, with or without lemon
- Juicy Juice grape juice
- Gatorade and Gatorade G2
- A little bit of coffee (see the next section)
(An image showing the liver, gallbladder, and related organs.)
Gallstones diet advice - Foods that are okay
Next, here's a list of foods that I have been able to eat in my gallstones diet without any gallbladder pain:
- Saltine crackers (I lived on Saltines, chicken broth, and Gatorade G2 for five weeks)
- Chicken soup with rice
- Tomato-based pasta sauces
- Olive oil
- Cereal (with just a bit of milk)
- Small amounts of Smart Balance (fake butter)
- Fruits like apple sauce, peaches, pears, and grapes
Oreo cookies Even though they have a lot of fat, I have been able to eat some Oreos, though I never have more than one at a time.
Coffee Plain coffee seems to be okay, though I don't drink more than 1-2 cups all day. (Three weeks ago I couldn't even think about drinking coffee, so be careful here.) Also, I only add skim milk to it any more; the days of cream, whole milk, or even 2% milk seem to be gone.
Avocados I've read many pages of gallstone diet advice, and avocado advice varies. Personally, I've had five avocados now in the form of a simple guacamole recipe I make (avocado, salt, lemon juice), and I've had no problems with them, typically consuming nearly a full avocado in one sitting with some saltines.
Fiber I've been told to load up on the fiber. I already had to do this because of scar tissue pain in the area where my appendix used to be, but the doctor tells me to add even more. (As fiber supplements go, Metamucil is the best fiber product I've used, Citrucel the second best. I've found that other products cause, er, tons of bloating, "intestinal distress", and other socially unacceptable behavior, lol.)
(Gallstones in the gallbladder and duct system.)
Gallstones diet advice - Foods that definitely cause pain
Chocolate I love chocolate, but it's now one of the worst foods for me. Chocolate used to be my favorite food group in the food pyramid, but recently I've tried chocolate chip cookies and Starbucks caffe mocha, and both of those cause gallstones pain. I can slip in very small quantities with a lot of water, but at some point you ask yourself if it's really worth it.
Milk I originally wrote that "Milk in all forms seems to cause problems", but as an update, I have been alternating skim milk and 2% milk in my gallstones diet, and while I still don't drink much, it has been okay. (The short story here is that I wasn't getting enough fat in my "gallstones diet", and was constantly light-headed. My doctor told me to try a little more milk, and it has worked out okay.)
High fat content I've read that any food with high fat content is going to cause gallstones pain. As I've mentioned, I don't eat much meat, and I don't eat much fried food, so I don't know all the details here yet. (But Avocados do have a ton of fat in them, and for some reason I've been able to eat them with no problems.)
Gallstones diet - Foods I don't know about yet
Here are some food products I like but haven't tested much yet, so the jury is still out on them.
Cheese I've had only two meals lately with small amounts of cheese, but given the problems I've had with milk, I assume this will be a problem. People who have had their gallbladder removed tell me that foods like pizza and ice cream can't be eaten too often without side effects.
Ice cream I have had a little bit of ice cream at night the last week, and while it hasn't caused any immediate problems, I have had gallstones pain when I wake up in the morning. Again, I drink a lot of water immediately, and the pain goes away.
Soda I used to be identified by always having a can of soda in my hand, but I've had very little soda in the last three months. I do mix some diet Sprite in with my water from time to time to get a different flavor, but the ratio is probably at least five parts water to one part Sprite. I have no idea how a full can of soda would do, and with the pain of intestinal distress still in my memory, I won't be going there any time soon.
Fatty meat Again, I don't eat much meat, so not eating it isn't a real problem for me, except for Gyros. I have had some small amounts of chicken, and haven't had any problems from it. I'll be trying some Gyros next week, and you can be sure I'll have a big bottle of water (and fiber) with me.
Tomato juice Because I don't like vegetables I used to drink a glass of low-sodium V8 juice every day to make sure I was getting some sort of vegetable intake every day. I haven't gotten back to this practice yet.
Spicy foods I love spicy foods. I could put hot sauce or jalapenos on just about anything. When I lived in Texas there was a place that made a "deathburger" -- a hamburger with hot sauce, hot pepper cheese, and jalapenos, and I could eat those every day. Next to a daily cup of coffee, I miss spicy foods the most. I put some hot sauce on some rice yesterday and I seemed to get away with it, so I'll be trying that again soon. :)
Gallstones diet advice - update
It's now mid-August, 2010, and I've learned a few more things. First, because I lost so much weight so fast on a nearly fat-free diet, I started getting very light-headed and dizzy. In short, the doctors recommended that I try to get more fat in my diet, so I have added in more "good fats" by adding in Smart Balance butter, olive oil, 2% milk, and even a little low-fat ice cream. Again, you still shouldn't have much overall fat in your gallstones diet, but a ratio of 10-15% fat seems to be working just fine.
When I added some milk and ice cream back in my diet I also took a look at the bottle of Hershey's Chocolate that has been sitting still in my refrigerator for nearly four months now. Sure enough, it doesn't have any fat in it, so I've been adding a little bit of that to my ice cream to help satisfy my chocolate cravings.
Gallstones diet advice - summary
I'll keep updating my "gallstones diet advice" here as time goes on. While the doctors try to determine if something else is happening, there are no immediate plans to remove by gallbladder, so living with gallstones is the current plan.
One thing I forgot to mention when I wrote this article is that regular exercise also helps me. The only two things I really do right now are (a) walking and (b) mild yoga exercises, but I find that both of these help with the gallstone/gallbladder pain that I currently have. I don't know why, but I assume that any boost to the metabolism is always helpful to the body.
I'm a recent victim of an attack of gallstones, and the first thing I did after I accepted that I would have to change my lifestyle dramatically is figure out how I could still eat chocolate. You mentioned that you are a fellow chocoholic, so I thought I'd share my answer with you. Baking chocolate. The powdered kind you buy in the baking isle at the store. One serving size of that has VERY little fat in it, and I find that if I mix a tbsp of that into my oatmeal, with a little sugar to balance the dark chocolate, it's very satisfying for those chocolate cravings. You can mix it into anything wet, so you might also try a tbsp over that tiny bit of milk in your breakfast cereal and turn those rice crispies into cocoa crispies. :) Best of luck.....
Hi Alvin, I have recently been diagnosed with two large gallstones and a thickened gall bladder wall. I have had two attacks in the past week which resulted in hospitalisation. I have done a lot of googling about diets which all seem to contradict each other so I have found your advice to be the most common sense approach. Please keep us updated on your progress as will I. Thanks for sharing your experiences and best of luck...
I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with also. If it helps to know it, changing my eating habits really has made a world of difference, and I've been able to live with the gallstones so far, with very little pain lately. I figure any diet that lets me have some chocolate can't be all bad, lol.
Just wanted to share the past week since changing my diet. I have had no problems with avocado or tomatoes, which Ive been told on other forums to stay away from.
I am even able to drink a can of Diet Coke each day although I have just been sipping on it all day.
Very small amounts of red meat with no fat have been fine along with heaps of fruit and vegies.
I wash everything I eat down with water just to be on the safe side.
Im in Australia and have come across Uncle Tobys Apple delight bodywise bars which have very little fat and sugar content (a very hard task) and they get me through the tummy grumbles with no problems at all.
I have found if my tummy is feeling a little upset eating an apple helps settle it.
The only thing I have been unsure about is salt. Has anyone had troubles with using salt? Seeing as all the flavour has been removed from diet due to lack of fat, I would like to add some taste using salt.
Thanks again and keep us up to date Alvin.
With my recent weight loss, my blood pressure is very low these days, so I've probably been getting a little too much salt in my diet lately, mostly from the canned soups I've been trying. I also use a little sea salt in oatmeal, which I usually have five times a week. I use the sea salt in my simple guacamole recipe, which I've been having 1-2 times a week, though I've gotten a little tired of it lately.
I just added a little soda back into my diet like you have, just one can a day. It's amazing, but after everything I've gone through, one can of soda a day is a really nice treat.
In other updates, I've had absolutely no problems with canned chicken and tuna, which I added back in two weeks ago. I've also had small portions of ice cream lately, with no bad side effects. In fact, if a doctor were to ask me about any aches or pains these days, I wouldn't even mention my gallbladder or gallstones as a problem. Proper eating really has an amazing affect(!).
Best wishes to you on your diet!
Yesterday after an ultrasound scanning I was told that I had a 5mm gallstone. The ultrasound doctor pressed on my gall bladder to see whether it hurts. There was no pain and the walls were thin and healthy. His advice to me was not to get the gall bladder removed and instead try to live with it at least for next 7-8 years. I'm 32 years old and will try to go for gall bladder diet with alot og exercise. So far I have lost 7 kg in 6-7 weeks and trying to not loose more so quickly. Only had one gallstone attach yet = the worst thing I have tried in the life. Beside that my stomach gets filled up with air few hours after a mean (any meal).
I will write about my experiences with food. Currently I have given up spices and coffe. Eating apples helps my stomach to calm down.
Please keep us updated on your progress as will I. Thanks for sharing your experiences and best of luck.
Its been nearly two weeks since my last attack. A change to a high fibre diet has made a huge difference.
I have been experimenting with alot of different low fat foods such as Skinny Cow icecream, small amounts of cheese, cottage cheese, pasta, rice, eggs and homemade flour recipes, all in small quantities of course and so far no problems. I still have no problems with tomatoes or avocados. Mashed potato with milk only, seems to be fine and all the fruit, vegies and salad anyone can digest.
I recieved a letter from the public hospital saying that I had a considerable wait time before being considered for surgery. I have decided this wont kill me as I am 36 years old and losing the kilos would be a huge benefit to my health anyway.
The only negative so far is that I like to entertain at home and dont mind a few beers with friends but havent been game enough to even experiment.
Any thoughts on alcohol?
Thanks guys and keep up the good work...
I haven't had much alcohol since all this started, so I don't know. I'll have to try an experiment, lol.
Thanks for your other comments. I didn't mention salads above, but yes, they are also good.
I suffered a recent attack and have been living off of wheat toast and yogurt, I appreciate this greatly, I needed the advice.
I am also a gallstones sufferer and am on the waiting list for an appointment to have gallbadder removed in hopefully 6-8 weeks. I am nearly scared to eat food because the thoughts of the pain is so bad but at the same time not being able to eat really depresses me. I have been steering clear of dairy, eggs, oil, pork, lamb etc. So far by just eating plain old fashioned meals - meat, veg and potatoes I have had no attacks.
I am eating out this evening with friends and really unsure what to pick - hopefully there is a plain chicken or fish dish that I can have with baked potato and salad. I am also curious about alcohol?
Hey guys, just a quick update. I have been pretty much able to eat anything in small quantities. Although I have steered clear of chocolate and chips (crisps) and all deep fried food.
I have had no troubles with dairy in small amounts but only consume the low fat variety including milk, cheese, and yoghurt.
Still have not tempted fate with alcohol as of yet.
To be honest this is probably one of the best things that has happened to me, I am feeling great and have lost a truck load of weight.
Sensible choices seem to be working for me, every now and again I may get a twinge of pain but a big drink of water usually subsides it within minutes.
Keep up the great work everyone, and thanks again for all the support.
Please let us know how the surgery goes and the after affects.
Okay, I'll take the hit for the team tonight and try some alcohol. :) I do like a good margarita, lol. From what I've read, fat intake is the real problem, so I don't think this should be a problem, except the liver and gallbladder do seem to have a very close relationship in there.
I did try a Cafe Mocha at Starbucks two days ago, and that didn't seem to be a good idea. I drank less than half of it before I started feeling a little something in the upper-right quadrant, and immediately drank some water. I didn't have a long-term problem, but it was a bit of a scare.
Also, thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences here.
Hey, I was diagnosed with gallstones earlier this month. I was told to stay clear of foods with high cholesterol and so far it's worked out. I have noticed that eating salmon triggered an attack though. I'm also lactose intolerant (yay me...), but I've been able to drink my lactose free milk without any problems. From what I remember the taste isn't too different from normal milk, maybe slightly sweeter. Also, other foods that I've been fine with are yogurt, pancake mix, canola oil, chicken (white meat, sans skin), and all forms of rice (like cereal and crackers). I'm fortunate to have an appointment with a surgeon soon and plan to ask to be refered to a nutritionlist. If I find out any more info I'll be sure to leave a comment.
Hey guys, just wanted to let you all know, I was out of milk this morning so I skipped breakfast. This was not a very wise decision on my part as it seemed to lead to excrutiating pain in my side, back and sternum. I spent a couple hours at the shops enduring the pain and came home with a bottle of no fat milk and ate breakfast about half and hour ago and the pain is slowly subsiding. I am unsure if it is at all related but I cant put it down to anything else. So my advice is dont skip meals.
I finally tried a little alcohol experiment, and had a little bit of wine the last two nights. I didn't have any problems with it, other than the need to go to sleep a little earlier than normal, lol. To be clear, I would never try something like this when I was having gallbladder/gallstones pain, but because I seem to be in "maintenance mode" right now, it wasn't a problem.
I was a little worried, because the liver and the gallbladder are right there next to each other and work together, but really, I didn't have any problems.
Oh yeah, that reminds me, you're absolutely right. It is related. Do not skip meals. One of the causes of gallstones can be from rapid weight loss or fasting as it causes the liver to secrete extra cholesterol into the gallbladder. Which if you already suffer from gallstones will lead to pain or an attack. There are many resources about it. Most just say from "rapid weight loss", so I dug around more for the reason and that was what I discovered. But I too found out the hard way. :( It's really damned if you do, damned if you don't. I was scared to eat anything because I didn't want another attack, but in turn caused one from not eating...
I’m 18 and was diagnosed with gallstones a few weeks ago. Because I’m going to university next week, we spoke with the doctor and I agreed that I would try and control the attacks with my diet until at least Christmas, and I’ll be having an operation to remove my gallbladder in a few months.
I’ve been trying to find foods to eat for a bit now, and I’ve already cut out most fatty things, like crisps and chocolate. I’ve changed the type of food I eat (like, wholemeal bread instead of white, dairy-free butter, low fat cheese, no carbonated drinks, etc.) and I’ve been okay. The attacks have made me almost scared to eat at times, but I’m trying to experiment with foods to see how it affects me. I guess it’s all about trial and error, and eating small portions... Well, I tried a little bit of Chinese curry sauce tonight with rice and a few cups of water and it seems to have gone okay :) And I tried some pizza the other day – I didn’t have an attack last week after eating a thin crust pizza (6 inch) with a glass of diluted juice, but I had pains after having the same meal this week, the only difference being that the 6 inch pizza was thick crust. Haven’t tried alcohol yet… Though I remember the last time I went out drinking with friends and came home tipsy after four glasses of Southern Comfort with lemonade and lime (this was before I knew I had gallstones), I had an attack that woke me up at 3am and lasted for quite a while. So maybe alcohol might be one of those things that are okay in moderation?
I’ve got a question though – for the past week I’ve been getting really dizzy and light-hearted at times, although it only really happens for a short time when I get up in the morning and before I go to bed at night. Other than that, I feel perfectly fine and haven’t had any problems. I’ve been drinking a lot of water and fruit juice too. Could it be because of the change in diet?
Thanks for sharing all your experiences though. It’s been helpful :)
I'd check with your doctor on the light-headed feeling. As soon as I mentioned that to my doctor they drew blood and did a lot of tests. The only thing they found was that my "specific gravity" was something like 1.005 (or maybe 1.0005), which is basically water. (I was super-hydrating myself to keep from passing out.) I had also lost all the weight and didn't lower my blood-pressure medicine, so we dropped it slightly. By doing that, and adding a little bit of fat back into my diet I was better in about three days.
I went through the same light-headed problem another time (earlier), and the doctor thinks that based on some of the other unpleasant symptoms I probably passed one or more gallstones at that time.
Again, I can only suggest talking to your doctor and letting them run the tests. It's the only way to find out what's going on.
Wow, it's like we all went through the same pain, the same fear of food and then the enlightenment of what we could and could not eat. I had my first 2 attacks (an hopefully my last!) almost 6 months ago. My baby was just 3 months old and I felt like I couldn't have any surgery so I radically changed my diet.
Like you, Alvin, I dropped about 20 pounds in less than 2 months and haven't looked back since. And like another writer, in many ways this has been a blessing in disguise. It forced me to change my ways, all for the better. I've never drank much alcohol, coffee, or pop, so those were never a problem. I don't normally eat anything spicy so that wasn't an issue. I have, for now, given up dairy and eggs and corn. I eat organic dark chocolate without milk ingredients in it. I also try not to eat too much wheat and choose more with spelt or kamut or rye. I eat all meat (not daily though and then the amounts are very small) and mostly eat fish. Fruit, veg, and whole grains (quinoa, rice, rice pasta, barley, oatmeal, that kind of thing).
For fats, I love avocado and it's been good to me. I usually eat about 1/4 of an avocado a day. I even bake some wonderful muffins with them if anyone wants the recipe! I don't eat anything deep fried or fatty (like skin on chicken). I miss french fries and cheese and eggs! Mostly, the miss the convenience of the old life - that I could go anywhere and eat anything. But I don't miss the pain or the extra fat I was carrying!
So good luck to everyone. My surgeon suggests I have it out, but I'm not convinced. I'm taking some naturopathic supplements that are supposed to help break down the stones and I'm going to get some follow-up ultrasounds to see if they've shrunk and them make decisions from there.
The doctor had mentioned that I have stones present. I had so much pain for about a week but now have changed my diet to soup, crackers, veggies, cottage cheese, fruits, juices and water. I still drink coffee and that doesn't bother me or cause me pain. I have an ultrasound this week to determine if they are caught up in my ducts or not and to see where to go from there. I feel pretty good otherwise and haven't had any pain so I hope I don't have to have surgery. I haven't had any alcohol so I don't know how my body would react to that. I have lost almost 40 pounds in a short period of time so that maybe why I have gallstones :(
Wow - I found more practical and reassuring help from this site than from all my considerable research into these ?!@#! gallstones so far - thanks! I'm a vegetarian, under-to-normal weight female who just had gallstones confirmed by ultrasound. Waiting 6 weeks for surgery and wondering if maybe I could avoid it altogether if I just follow Dr. Ornish-type diet/lifestyle changes. I am almost afraid to eat (just like many of you were) but the suggestions and input here are giving me hope. I wanted to comment on exercise as my first attack was during time I was not physically active and yet was consuming larger-than-usual meals. Same with second one that put me in hospital. Now I am back to exercising daily and so far no recurrence, but still afraid every day I will eat wrong thing...so thanks, Alvin, and everyone else because the info really helps.
so will you decide to have the surgery or are you going to try to live with the gallstones? My ultra sound came back that I have gallstones but my gallbladder was normal so now I am really confused as to what to do. The doctor said I should have surgery but I am terrified because I had a very serious head injury and am afraid to put under general anesthia. I don't know what to do? What would you guys do in my case???
I thought I'd update you guys on my situation. I had the surgery. My GP and the surgeon highly recommended I get it done. Mostly because the size of the gallstones (2 that were 2cm in diameter) were too big to break down orally. The surgeon said it could take almost a year and there are no guarantees that they wouldn't form again. Between worrying what to eat everyday and having to take potentially costly medicine for the rest of my life, I took their suggestion. Also, I figured it's not going to cost me much, I'm young and it's not going to interfere with anything important going on in my life at the moment. It really was well worth it.
I had it 3 weeks ago and I feel almost completely better. I'd say I'm about 95% well. It still hurts slightly to bend down or lift heavy objects. The operation took about an hour. I was registered at the hospital at 7am and I left to go home around 1pm. I had 4 small incisions on my abdomen. 2 on my right side, 1 a few inches above my belly button and 1 just above it. I was prescribed percocet for the pain. The nurse said I'd feel well enough to walk around after 48 hours, but it took me a few more days to feel comfortable to get up if it wasn't to use the bathroom. After a week the incisions had healed on the outside and I could walk around a bit more freely. I found the percocet was giving me bad nausea, so I tried to limit myself to only taking what I needed. By the end of the week the pain wasn't as bad that I didn't need to take it at all. The surgeon told me that it takes 3 weeks for the inside wounds to heal. He also said that it's different for everyone and to do things as I feel comfortable doing them.
I'm at the 3 week mark and will be seeing him again soon for a follow up. I can happily say that last week I was able to eat ham (with the fat, OMG) with no pain. A few days ago I had chocolate (holy crap!) and had a peaceful uninterrupted sleep. Right now I can't wait to get my hands on some pizza lol. So, if you can get the surgery I'd highly recommend it. It's a small procedure and the recovery time is very speedy. And it's so worth it to not have to worry about what to eat.
Also, if anyone does get the surgery I would advise you to move around as much as you can. It helps you get better faster. If you can walk around for a few minutes a day around the house it will help. And from my experience, if you get prescribed percocet try to only take it as needed. It gave me constipation and it is not fun dealing with that and healing abdominal incisions.
I'm glad to hear about your gallbladder surgery success, congratulations!
My gallstones problem has flared up again for some reason, though I don't know why, because I've been eating well, with the possible exception of drinking too much coffee. So for the last three days I've eaten very little and drank a lot of water, and it has been getting better again, but slowly.
I'm going to go back to the doctor and check on the medicine that's used to dissolve gallstones, and if for some reason that's not a good idea, I'll probably opt for surgery.
(As a brief aside, the thing that kills me about this is that I watched some people at the Talkeetna Roadhouse yesterday morning chowing down on a huge breakfast scramble, and I thought this isn't fair, I rarely eat that poorly, why did I get gallstones? But I know my dad had his gallbladder removed, and two of my sisters also have a gallbladder/gallstones problem, so I'm assuming it's hereditary.)
I'd be most interested to know if you are more suseptable to diarrhea post surgery particularly after eating high fat foods. My biggest concern about having the surgery is having that possible life long complication as I have been suspetable to diarrhea all of my life even with my gallblader. I am waying a life of resricted diet verses a life of potential chronic diarrhea. Your experience in this regard, particularly after you were off the percocet, would be appreciated.
A week ago I went for a ultrasound and the docter told me that half of my gallbladder were fulled with gallstones,I`am losing a little weigth without a diet is it something to worry about.I have a appointment on the 24November with a surgeon to decide what is best to revome or treat me with medicine,I`am worried cause I have pain in my stomach and on the left side of my abdomen Iam worried that is something more serious.
Anonymous - Make sure you talk to a gastroenterologist about your stomach/abdomen pains. As I've learned, there can be all sorts of reasons for abdomen pains, and a gastroenterologist is the only one who can run the tests to find out what's going on. Best wishes.
I have been diagnosed with gallstones and have lost 40 lbs in a short period of time. I had one attack back in September when I was eating pizza, eggs, cheese, bacon etc.,.,on vacation. My next doctors appointment with a surgeon is December 2, 2010. I hope not to have any more attacks until then.....I really don't want to wait a month to see him but he specializes in stomach, gallbladder stuff so I want to see him. Do you think I should wait or see someone else????
If you decide to see somebody else, don't view the "wait" as a waste of time. Look at it as a chance to get your gallbladder and body ready for surgery. Eat better, get some rest and get "prepped" for surgery. The longer your body is in better health before the surgery, I would think the better the surgery and recovery. I'm not a doctor or medical professional, it just makes sense.
I guess if it was me, I'd wait to see the specialist and in the mean time, perhaps cut out/cut back on the pizza, eggs, cheese and bacon, and up the fruit, veggies and non-trigger foods. Not only will you hopefully feel better, but you'll be healthy for it.
Hi Karen, I personally don't feel comfortable making any suggestions like that. If it helps to know it, when I had my appendix removed I didn't have a choice of doctors; my appendix was about to burst and I got the doctor who was on call in a small town in Alabama, but everything turned out fine. I will say that my gastroenterologist gave me the names of three surgeons he recommended, and I appreciated that approach. Best wishes!
Thanks Tania, I haven't really decided what to do because I don't know if I should wait 6 weeks or not. The doctors say it can get inflamed and infected or a stone can get stuck in the ducts. I don't want that to happen. I may call the specialist back and see if I can see another doctor that he recommends at an earlier date, then see if it's ok to wait to see him after.
thanks Alvin, I guess I could call the doctor and see who he recommends for me to see and then see him when I am scheduled to see him just to make sure I am ok and my gallbladder doesn't become infected and inflamed in the meantime....
@alvin - Thanks! :) I'm sorry to hear your gallstones are giving you more problems. From what I've learned from talking with the surgeon, the triggers differ between people and it really could be anything, which really sucks. Like he said that a lot of people have trouble eating broccoli, yet that had been one of the things I had been eating and it didn't bother me. I too feel like it's hereditary (my brother, uncle, aunt, grandmother - all who have had the surgery). Especially since it's more common among females and older people. It really isn't fair. I hope your doctor can give you some options to ease your discomfort.
@Bill - Diarrhea was something the surgeon and I discussed. I've had problems with my digestive system most of my life and I was concerned the impact of not having a gallbladder would be with it. He told me that chronic diarrhea after surgery is not common and that like only 2-3% of people experience it. I personally didn't experience any after. There were a couple days of very soft stools, but I attributed that more to eating foods that were quite easy to digest. Right now, things are business as usual in that area.
Alvin, did you have the gallbladder surgery or are you living with gallstones right now like I am???? I wasn't sure if you did or not? I am waiting to see a gi in 5 or so weeks to make a determination on what to do. I would like to avoid the surgery and just have them dissolved but I hear that isn't a 100%.
I had an attack back in September and really haven't had much pain since I have changed my diet completely. I do drink coffee though which really doesn't cause me any pain. I do get light headed and dizzy at times because of not eating much and that makes me nervous. I just don't feel like myself any more ever since the first attack. Is that how everyone else feels that has gallstones currently????
Karen - I haven't had the surgery, but I'm going to my gastroenterologist to talk about it in a few hours. After restricting my diet, drinking a lot of water, and walking a lot every day, I do feel better, but I can definitely tell that the stones are there ... it's more of a discomfort than pain, and it seems to be causing other digestion problems. I don't like the idea of continuing to live in discomfort like this, and I want to see if I can start taking the medicine to dissolve them, or opt for surgery.
I have to say, I've felt less energetic since all of this started, but I don't know if that's due to my diet, the gallstones, or other factors (stress, work, etc.).
When I eat very little, like now, I also get light-headed, and I've found that taking in a little fat from low-fat cheesesticks, Smart Balance butter, and avocados helps.
Now how long have you been living with them or waiting to see the doctor???? I have no energy as well and I feel better after I eat which isn't much but it is little things just to keep me going. I agree, I just don't feel the same and know that the gallstones are there and I know they either have to give me something to dissolve them or they will probably recommend surgery which I really don't want to do. They do have the laser method which I don't know how well that works but it is an option to break down the stones and dissolve them without surgery. Good luck at the doctors and let me know what they said! thanks
First off all, this website has helped me tons. For the last 3 weeks I had been getting sick anywhere from 3-10 times a day, with alot of stress at work. Expected it to be an ulcer. The doctor placed me on meds for ulcers while I waited for lab and ultrasound results. She advised me to drink milk. The meds didnt really work and was severly nautious. Felt like morning sickness and severe bloating but I knew I cnt get pregnant any longer. After the lab and the sonogram was confirmed I have several small gall stones. I was advised to contact the doctor to explore treatment. I called, and the nurse but alarmed that I had no options. They only handle surgeries not oral treatment. Her response " they will only return, your gall bladder will need to be removed." very sweet RN but I thought wow. I wasnt ready for that! I see the surgeon next Wednesday to discuss the operation. Because of this website, i am considerring changing my diet and trying that first. I want to hear what the surgeon says, but I like options. Thanks everyone!!!
Also my lack of energy is down alot also. Very fatigued. Has anyone else experienced sever bloating. Feel like I am gonna burst. Upper stomache 2x larger than before and very sore. I have lost a few pounds, but my clothes it snug from all the bloating. Anyone else pre diet have sever bloating?
My "stomach" problems started at the end of May, though really there were symptoms before that my doctor and I never figured out. But I've been on this diet since June.
I just met w/ my gastroenterologist, and he totally dismissed the method of dissolving the gallstones, and suggested surgery. He said if my discomfort was constant, which it is, one of the stones may have moved, so they're probably going to do an ultrasound before the surgery.
A friend of mine is a nurse practitioner, and she also told me the "dissolving" approach wasn't very feasible. It takes up to two years, and you have to eat a very restricted diet, though I don't know if it's any more restricted than what I have been living with.
I'm actually fine with doing the surgery now. As the doctor said, my "quality of life" will be improved after the surgery, and I do look forward to being able to eat foods I can't eat right now.
Good luck again to you as well!
Yes, I've had some bloating problems as well. Sorry, I don't know what to do for that. I try to walk or exercise a fair amount, which helps a little bit.
I've already had an Upper- and Lower-GI, and there isn't anything else major wrong in the plumbing, so my gastroenterologist is more or less saying there isn't anything else for him to do other than remove the gallbladder and see if things are better after that. I'm sure hoping the bloating and a few other symptoms go away after the surgery.
Hey guys, been a while since I commented, I fell off the diet bandwagon since the warmer weather has hit over here. BBQs and takeaways on the beach are harder to accomodate for when you are restricted. I have experienced some discomfort on occasions after eating hot chips (fries????) and hamburgers etc, but it was the reminder I needed to get back on track.
I too am very tired all the time. I dont think I am getting any closer on the waiting list to have surgery as of yet. I have noticed a new problem though but am unsure if it is related to the gallstones or not. I have had very sore joints particulary my knees, fingers and wrists. Has anyone else experienced this? Also does anyone find lying or sitting in a particular position help ease discomfort? I generally get my attacks while sleeping early into the mornings and have heard lying a certain way can sometimes help ease the pain. I also gave Zumba a go, I think the very vigorous exercise moved my gallstone around causing pain and nausea so back to just walking for me.
Thanks for any advice in advance.
I have had a problem with my knees being painful, which I thought was weird after losing 30 pounds. I've been taking Osteo Bi-Flex for a few years for finger joint pain, which I assume is mostly from typing ~8 hours a day.
When I get uncomfortable like I was the last few weeks, I couldn't find any really comfortable position. Or one position would be okay for a while, and then not okay. I did end up sleeping a few hours in a reclining chair, so maybe I thought that position was better, or just different. I 've also had to go very light on the yoga, as certain positions also cause more discomfort than others, even simple side stretches.
This reminds me of the phrase the doctor used yesterday, "quality of life". I have to say, although I've felt much better the last few days, I sure don't like thinking about this issue every day, and I am looking forward to having surgery and being done with this. (Sorry, I know that's contrary to the initial title of this article, lol.)
Alvin I am with you, I am over the wait, I just want to have the surgery and be able to enjoy life without worry like my friends and family.
Sleeping in a recliner makes sense, next time I have problems I will prop myself up with pillows and see how it goes.
Thannks again to everyone for the advice and support and good luck to everyone.
I also experienced joint pain and found that Icy Hot Roll On helps quite abit. I elevate my knees with a large body pillow. The only way I can sleep most of the night. I meet with the surgeon today and plan on requesting for the surgery November 18th in 2 weeks if he is available. I found that eatting 2 packets of oatmeal seems to help. Keeps me full and doesnt irritate my stomache. I also read that cinammon calms the stomache. Helps a tad for me. The doc said to use Gas-X and that did not work. Seems I dont have, what one would call normall gas, more the need for constant burping. Not too attractive for a female, but oh well. I have found that Maalox Total Relief in the Purple bottle helps calm my stomache. Especially in the morning. I use this about 3X a day. I am nervous about the surgery but choose to not stay miserable. The diet is not providing enough relief. QUESTION: Appologize this is gross, but anyone experince BLACK BM's? For me, this is the norm for the last week. I always heard black bm's meant blood. Just curious if that is common with gallstones. Everyone on here is wonderful...thanks for all the support! Good luck, I will keep you posted after the surgery.
Yes, black BMs mean blood, and I would definitely talk to your doctor about that asap. When I told my gastroenterologist I had black BMs and blood back in June, I had my Lower GI within a week, and he would have done it earlier except he was going on vacation.
While we're in the neighborhood, I also learned that pale BMs can mean a gallstone is blocking the flow of bile, which is also not good for you. I had that one in late June or early July. Amazing what you learn when going through this.
Sorry for the extra comment, but I probably should have written "can mean blood" in that last comment. There may be other causes I'm not aware of.
I feel for everyone here. I was told a month ago that I had gallstones. Now, the sad thing is I have been in pain off and on since June. Right after I had my daughter. I have found I can eat almost anything besides JTM taco filling. That is what tore me up tonight. The pain has finally passed, but I am still uncomfortable. I have cut out pop, cut back on the fried foods, and drink alot more water. The only thing I notice is I am light headed after an attack. My doc says its from the pain, but I wanted to see if anyone here had any ideas.
I have been diagnosed with gallstones and notice that I do get light headed myself. I think it is from just not eating as much as I should in fear of an attack or not eating much fat in fear of an attack also. I have had 2 attacks total since I found out about gallstones that have been there for quite a while so they say. I am going to see a doctor next week to see what my options are in regards to surgery etc........
@Hollie I used to get really light headed and nauseous after attacks. My doctor, the surgeon and a nurse told me it's from the attacks. I took a Gravol whenever I felt an attack coming on and it helped a lot. Also, I'm not entirely sure how attacks come on since mine came out of the blue. I'm sure I had gallstones for awhile and I was eating normally until one night I ate some fried food and had an attack. I didn't know what it was and brushed it aside as gas pains. I continued to eat normally, but a few weeks later another attack. Then they started to be more sensitive to the food I was eating. To the point when I had cut out all cholesterol from my diet and when I accidentally ate some food with it in it I had an attack. So, just a bit of a word of warning. You may be able to eat "almost anything" now, but it could quickly change. :(
I went to talk to a surgeon today, and I'm now scheduled for surgery on November 19th. I may not ending up doing it then, mostly b/c my insurance doesn't cover much here in Alaska, and it may be thousands cheaper to do it back in Kentucky, but I hope to have it soon one way or the other. As I've mentioned here before, the "status quo" just doesn't cut it for me any more.
A funny thing today was when the surgeon asked how I feel after I eat something like a hamburger. I told him, "Dude, I'm not sure what you're thinking about my diet, but I haven't had a hamburger since April." At that point we went from the ultrasound discussion to "Okay, what date works for you?"
As for the light-headed part, I used to get that when I was eating extremely little, in particular extremely little fat. I constantly thought I would faint, so I went to my GP doctor, and they did bloodwork and a urinalysis and found my specific gravity was basically water, either 1.005, or 1.0005. So I encourage you to find a way to get a little fat in the diet (assuming you aren't getting much). Smart Balance butter and low-fat cheesesticks have worked okay for me. I can also tolerate a little olive oil, but too much causes pain.
good luck on the surgery Alvin. I have been feeling like crap lately and I am sure it is due to the gallstones. I am tired, weak and just don't feel right. I have another appointment next week so hopefully I can get some idea as to when and if I need surgery. I had a bad head injury so I am quite terrified to be put under for the surgery. They told me back when I had my accident that if I get put under I have a 50/50 shot of waking up. Now how would that make anyone feel???
Hi guys, A friend who suffered gallstone problems 24 years ago put me onto Buscopan here in Australia. I am unsure of the American equivilant but it is an anti spasmatic for the stomach.
I had stabbing pain in my abdomen yesterday from food I have previously been able to eat with out a problem.
After spending most of the day in bed I dragged myself to the chemist. I took two of the Buscopan and with in 15 minutes the abdomen pain was gone and the back pain was subsiding. It was like a miracle. No other pain reliever has given me this much relief since being diagnosed other than Morphine at the hospital.
http://www.buscopan.com.au/com/au/home.jsp Anyone who would like to give it a go, may be able to find their own country equivilent with a bit of research. Honestly it really worked for me and fast.
Best of luck Alvin which ever way you decide to go.
I wanted to thank you for posting your experiences here, I've found what you and the others have related very helpful.
Apparently I've been having gallstone attacks for over 2 years. My regular GP diagnosed acid reflux and put me on some over the counter antacids. I am very good at blocking out pain and I just got used to being up until 4 am about once a month or so with excruciating pain, thinking that anyone who had acid reflux went though the same thing.
Then two weeks ago the pain got so bad I went to the emergency room. They did blood tests and then gave me some drinkable anesthetic. That seemed to help so they sent me home. A week later I had the worst attack ever. I went to the ER again though I chose a different hospital and they finally diagnosed me with gallstones. The ER doc said one was an inch in diameter. They recommended I be admitted for surgery right away, but the surgeon ended up sending me home as the OR was booked and he didn't view my case as a complete emergency.
I was scheduled for surgery Thursday but have now got flu like symptoms so I canceled. I also wondered if I might try alternative treatments. I'll talk with my regular GP tomorrow and at least review all my options, but I have a feeling that in my case it's probably too late to go any other route. I too am worried about the complications of surgery and chronic diarrhea.
In the meantime, I've cut out all alcohol and most fats, and am following a diet very similar to the one you described. I also sit at the computer 8 hours a day so I'll be converting my workstation from sitting to standing height and eventually will go full treadmill with it.
Good luck with your surgery I hope it does improve your quality of life.
Well surgery is a week away. I have no clue how much the surgery is. But I know it will be expensive. My friend had no insurance and his appendix was almost 30,000. I hear with insurance they only bill 1/3 up to 1/2 to the insurance company and write off the rest. I believe the procedure is pretty similar.With my insurance I am responsible for 20% up to $2,000 if that helps give you a ball park. Sure Alaska is alot higher since cost of living is there.
Off the subject: I had read that tomatoe seeds can irritate and I have to agree. Hubbie cooked with tomatoes and chicken and veggies..I ate only about a cup full of the goolosh. last night I was in the worst pain...chest pains that went thru to my back. Breathing hurt and only small relief from pushing hard between my ribs under my heart. The pains came on and lasted for about 4 hours. I suspect I passed a stone, only had this same pain a few months ago once. The doc said they had nothing to give me. That the medicone OTC has too many side effects and prefer I wait for my surgery. Take care everyone.
LynnS -- I've thought about alternative treatments like a gallbladder flush, but I'm quite sure I'd end up in the ER. I've been 'testing' my system lately, and just by eating something like an Oreo cookie or some basil pesto sauce I used to love, I have pain in the upper right in about three minutes. So, no gallbladder flush for me.
I thought about trying one of the things you see on the internet to dissolve gallstones, but both of my doctors poo-poo'd those, and between that, and the products costing hundreds of dollars, I haven't tried them either.
I hope you feel better soon, and good luck with your surgery!
I asked my doctor as well but eas referr4ed as a Liver flush. I was told super dangerous since it can take up to @ years to disssolve and if they partically dissolve they can get stuck the the ducts and cause jaundice and live troubles...almost his words per batum. Hope this helps.
I saw a GI doctor on Friday and they recommended the surgery even though I haven't had any pain, I still have the gallstones. I am going to see the surgeon in a couple of weeks to schedule for the surgery. I haven't been feeling any pain but I just don't feel like myself lately. I am tired, light headed and sometimes bloated. I haven't been eating that much either. I have bread sticks with cottage cheese, turkey sandwiches, soup, crackers, pasta, bananas and other fruits, pretzels, low fat swiss cheese with the sandwich, fig newtons and pudding. That seems like a lot but I will have 1 sandwich in 2 days with some pretzels. Anyway hopefully the surgery will make me feel back to normal and I can get on with my life. I also hope that I don't have bouts with diarrhea because I read that some people have problems with that after the gallbladder is removed.
Karen - Good luck with your situation! I hope it all goes well for you.
On the energy front, I've been very conscious of what I've been eating lately, and foods like rice and potatoes seem to help w/ the energy level, and I also go for a brisk walk every day.
That being said, I woke up in pain a couple of times last night, and I'm looking forward to the surgery this Friday. I finally got the "gap exception" approval from the insurance company so I can have the surgery here.
The surgeon told me the diarrhea happens about four percent of the time, and he said it's not like the diarrhea you'll get w/ the flu, it's more like it's a more urgent need than normal. (I suspect some of this has to do with diet as well. I met one man who had the surgery and immediately went back to poor eating habits.) Since I'm having relatively constant pain even while eating well, having the surgery is now a pretty simple decision for me.
Alvin, let me know how the surgery goes and how you made out after! I hope it all goes well for you!! It is a very common surgery so they say but it is surgery and that is terrifying!
Rice and potatoes sound good. I will have to make some of that, so I can have the energy to walk on my treadmill.
Right about the diarrhea, I guess I will still have to watch what I eat, just to make sure that doesn't happen and work my body to get used to the fact I don't have a gallbladder anymore. Once that happens I think I would be able to eat just about anything? I have spoken to people who have had their gallbladders out and they haven't had any problems!
Well, take care and hope it all goes smoothly on Friday!!! :)
I've just had another gallstone attack in the early morning around 3am. I hadn't tried cake and ice cream in a while but last evening had a T-bone steak with whole wheat rolls and apple juice. I had carrot cake with Ice cream and was awefully full last night and somehow i knew i was in for a ride..pretty much waited for the attacks to happen.
I've been wanting to make an appointment to remove them and was gonna go see my doctor today untill i saw this blog. I am not committed to the gallstone diet, i am gonna watch it closely and be more into to gym....
I really dont want to have an op, i just had a c-section for my baby who is now only 4 months old.
Thanx for this site..
I had my gallbladder surgery on Friday, November 19th, and if I didn't have other complications related to my body's anatomy (my bladder never restarts after a surgery), I think I would have been very well-recovered by the following Tuesday or Wednesday. Even on Sunday I was able to walk a fair amount. For a normal person I suspect the biggest issue would be nausea, which they give you medicine for.
The biggest surprise after meeting with my surgeon two days ago is that my gallstones looked nothing like the gallstone photos on this Wikipedia page. I had less than twenty small, black (or dark green), very sharply-pointed gallstones, which I assume are the "Pigment stones" they mention on that Wikipedia page. I guess all the sharp edges caused the problems for me, as these stones could not have filled up my gallbladder.
Unfortunately I ended up with a bladder infection after the catheter, which caused more problems than the surgery, but the surgery itself was fine.
I have decided to go ahead with the surgery even though I only had one attack back in September. I really have been watching what I eat and drink so I have lost a lot of weight because of this. I have to buy all new clothes now. I wasn't overweight to begin with and now I am underweight for my height. I was told I am a healthy young woman who just happened to get gallstones. My mother had them so that is why. They really couldn't give me any answer as to why I had them only because my mom had them. Anyway, it will be nice to eat normal again and get on with my life after wards even though I am quite scared with having the op!!!!!
I do think genetics play a big part here. Two of my three sisters have gallbladder pain, and I know one of them eats very well and exercises very hard. My dad also had his gallbladder removed when he was about my age, and he was tall and skinny at that time.
I really do think "quality of life" is important here. I was down to mostly just eating crackers and soup before the surgery, and the last two days I've had some chocolate again, which has been very nice.
Good luck on your surgery Karen, I'm sure you'll be fine, and I'll be thinking of and praying for you. Do you have a date set for your surgery yet?
Alvin, sorry to hear that you had complications from your surgery. I saw the surgeon today and he said his assistant will call me on Monday to set up the appointment for surgery. He said that I don't have to have it next week or anything but in the next couple months. I mentioned after the holidays but now I think I may want to do it before the holidays? I don't know yet. I have the weekend to think about it!
Hi Alvin, I was wondering how your procedure went and if you were recovering well. I'm sorry about your urinary complications. I had the surgery on Tuesday. I have had a bit of a weak bladder too, but nothing severe. So far I've only had pain management issues, other than that, everything seems OK, but it's probably too early to really say.
I hope you continue to improve. I'll post again when I'm up and around more.
LynnS - Congratulations on your procedure, and glad to hear everything is going well. (If they tell you to cough a lot, be sure to hold a pillow over the incisions, that really helps with the pain(!).)
I'm celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, baking a pumpkin pie tonight, and I bought a frozen turkey and stuffing dinner to go with it, lol.
I hope you enjoyed your T-Day. Did you have any issues with the pie?
My pain management problems weren't so much about meds but pain that shouldn't be, and I ended up in the ER on Friday. There was a stone stuck in the common bile duct so they did an ERCP on Saturday. I am told all went well, and even though I still have pain I was sent home. It's improving now however and the GI doc says I should be OK for the future as he widened the opening of the duct (called a sphincterotomy).
I hope that when it heals I'll be pain free and ready for some pie as well.
Lynn, ouch, sorry to hear about that. I remember my surgeon saying that was a possibility, and the GI doc might have to do that. I hope everything is better now.
so my surgery is January 12, 2011. I have had only 1 attack but the doctors say if I leave the gallstones in there, it could cause problems later on. I had my pre-op appointment yesterday and it sounds like it will go smoothly since I am a healthy person other than having gallstones. I am nervous but I will have support of my family there with me so that will help. they also said they will sedate me to calm me down....
Karen, that's great, I'm glad you have it scheduled. That was one of the other factors in my decision, that the gallstones could cause other problems. I thought I'd really rather just get it over with.
My youngest sister just had her gallbladder removed after she had a bad attack. She and her husband own a restaurant, and a week after the surgery she was back working there, though mostly doing light duty.
Good luck on your surgery!
Thanks Alvin! Sounds like your sister's surgery went smoothly! How have you been feeling since yours???? Are you able to eat anything you want now or still watching what you eat? Are you still in pain????
Hey guys, at last Ive been set up for a pre op appointment for the 28th of January which means not much longer until the surgery. Christmas was very hard for me, yet again I slipped off the band wagon and spent days lying in bed in total agony. Im back at work tomorrow so hopefully back to eating normal. Congrats on the surgery Alvin, glad it all went well. I will let you all know how I go. For now, take care everyone
Karen, I'm feeling much better these days, with no pain any more. The last of the post-surgery pain went away a week or two ago.
Diet-wise, with the holidays, I've been waking up every morning, baking a couple of cookies, and having my morning coffee. In the first week or two my stomach wasn't happy with anything, but over time it got much, much better. Over the last few weeks (roughly weeks 5-6 after surgery) I've been able to eat anything I want without thinking about it. I was in a rush the other day and got a Big Mac at McDonald's -- my first hamburger since last May, I think -- and only later in the day did I realize what I had just done, lol.
My doctor said it takes the body a little while to figure out what has happened, and adapt to it, and I agree with him on that. Overall, this is much, much better than last summer's "diet" of saltines, gatorade, and soup.
It's nearly a month after my procedures and my body has adjusted and I am doing well.
At my post-op exam my surgeon practically ordered me to eat a high fat meal as I hadn't really tested my digestive tract then. So on the way home I got a burger filled with blue cheese and bacon (woah!) and french fries. I ate them with absolutely no problems. Seems my body is back to being able to take abuse. :) Over the holidays I enjoyed home made cookies, cake, stuffing, gravy, and butter sauces.
I would prefer to stick to somewhat of a more sensible diet, but it is striking what happens when you "can't have" something, isn't it? My goal is to limit the "can have" times. We shall see.
Good luck to those having surgery soon and thanks again Alvin.
Well I had my surgery mid November and relieved I went thru with the surgery. I experienced some complications which caused a slow recovery but now 8 weeks later I am back to my old self. I had an infection in my stomache from some trapped bile. After taking 3 medications for several weeks I feel much better. I strongly urge someone to help you the first week or two if you have small children. Also listen to your doctor and do not lift anything over 20 pounds for 4-6 weeks. I have 2 little ones over 20 lbs each and I couldnt wait to hold and cuddle them after the surgery...take naps with the kiddos and all the stuff I missed being a working mom. But I paid the price. I had sharp pains in my incisions up till about a week ago. I think I didnt allow my incisions to heal with all the lifting of my kids, diaper changes, etc. dont be a superhero...play with the kids, but take it easy. For the most part I can eat anything, I have always had IBS so I avoid those food triggers which is my only diet restriction. I urge anyone considerring Gallbladder surgery to honestly consider it. Good Luck everyone.
LynnS - Glad you're doing well. Yes, I was amazed how I could go most of the summer eating crackers, soup, and gatorade, and now that I'm healthy again I have to be careful to eat good food and not the bad. I splurged during the holidays, but I'm doing better now.
Anonymous - Sorry to hear about the infection, and thanks, that's a very good point about the lifting. I tried to get back into yoga too soon, and had similar sharp pains. I backed off for a while, and I'm fine now.
I just recently learned i have gallstones and i couldn't be more scared. I've been eating healthy and i try not to eat too much food high in fat. It just feels like i can't eat anything because I'm not quite sure if what I'm eating is bad. I was wondering if the thin crust pizza i ordered with green peppers and chicken with light sauce and cheese was bad for me? I take a vitamin pill and a cranberry pill everyday and drink lots of water and cranberry juice so i don't get pains, but i would really appreciate more information on gallstones, on foods i can eat and meals to make. I'm trying to eat really healthy before and after i get my surgery because i don't want to get those gallbladder attacks again!!!
Hi daysy. Definitely talk to a doctor, both your regular doctor as well as a gastroenterologist. Other than that, I can't recommend much else other than what I've written here. I was able to keep my gallbladder for six months following this advice before finally deciding to have surgery in November, 2010. Best wishes, Al.
Alvin, Thank you for all of your advice. I'm 27 and just had a second baby. 2 weeks after she was born (sept 3, 2010) I had a gallstone attack in which I thought I had a heart attack. Docs have been telling me to get surgery. I had an ultrasound done and have 2 large stones at 21-22 mm. I've been avoiding surgery because I'm scared to death of it! I've been watching my diet and so far so good. I'd like to at least hold off until summer. My husband is a teacher and has summers off so he would be able to watch the girls while I recover. You've helped me see that surgery isn't that bad. Did you go home the same day?
First, congratulations on your new baby! And yes, they sent me home right after the surgery. I was a little groggy then, and I didn't eat much for a couple of days, but other than that I was fine. I took some slow walks the first week, and about 25 or 30 days after the surgery I was able to do start some light yoga again.
Be careful, and do listen to your doctors.
I was scheduled to have surgery on January 12, 2011. I wasn't able to go due to a state of emergency from a huge snow storm. So, I rescheduled for February 2, 2011. Then there was another snow storm Tuesday and Wednesday, day of surgery. I couldn't get it done then either so now I have to wait another couple of weeks but I have been doing o.k. with still really watching what I eat so I don't have any attacks. I just want to get the surgery done and get it over with. I just continue to lose weight which isn't healthy either because I am losing like 5 lbs a week. anyway, hope everyone is doing alright and decides to have the surgery like I am trying to do...:)
Hi Alvin and everyone else.
I had severe back and abdomen pain 3 weeks after I had my 2nd baby. I literally thought I was going to die! I vomited and the pain went. I had the same pain the next day so I went to my GP and she said it was gas and she gave me Omeprazole. I couldn't take them as I was breastfeeding so I just pretended nothing had happened.
Anyway, earlier this week I woke up at 5am with the same pains and my Husband called an Ambulance. At the hospital my bloods came back that I had a small infection and the doctor noticed I screamed more when she pushed onto my Gallbladder. I had an x-ray and an ultrasound and I was told I have 'many' stones in my gallbladder.
I have been sent home with Tramadol for pain and I've been told I will see the surgeon in 6 weeks to discuss an operation.
I went shopping today and I have bought some Quorn products, lots of fruit and veg and 0% fat yoghurts. I have also bought some lemons to put in warm water and apple juice. I have also bought Omega 3 fish oil tablets as they help the liver to function. I am trying very hard to be brave but I am so stressed and worried right now. I can't stop crying, I am scared of the pain coming back.
Right now I feel very tender around the Gallbladder area and after eating my dinner of homemade Veggie shepherds pie with mash and broccoli (no added fats or salt) I had some very mild pain in my back. I have just drunk a large glass of water and I feel a bit better but I have a slight temperature.
How do you cope with the constant fear of the pain? I thought I was going to die and curled myself up in bed and told my Husband if I did die he was to lock the door and not let our Daughter come in! My diet was very poor when I had the attacks so I am hoping that now I have changed my diet the attacks will be mild but i live in fear.
I am eating as little fat and dairy as possible in small portions and lots of water. I just need to sort my head out. The thought of leaving my kids to go into hospital terrifies me, I feel like an emotional wreck.
Wow, I'm sorry to hear about the six-week wait to see a surgeon.
From what you've written, I don't know anything about shepherds pie, but as long as it's low-fat you can give it a try and see what happens. When I was at my worst I ate very little, and when I did it was no-fat or extremely low-fat. To that end, make sure the fish oil tablets don't have too much fat in them.
The only way I could cope with the pain and fear of pain was to eat very little, and eat very well. Giving up things like coffee was hard for me, but after a while the pain just isn't worth it. That's all I can really say, pay attention to what causes the pain for you, and avoid those things until after the surgery.
Good luck, Al.
I understand the fear, but like alvin said, once you know your triggers you will cope and adjust. I lived with mine for abour 4 months. First few months, i ws told also just gas and was drink Maalox from the bottle with every meal. Once I was getting sick 8-10 times a day i knew something was bigger than gas or my IBS. Towards the end when i was waiting for my surgery I was earring oatmeal 2x a day and a very small dinner. My triggers were dairey, and spicey. Everyone is different, make a small log of even the smallest discomfort. After the surgery, you will be so greatful you had it. Dont lay down too much, a week after the surgery..I hear the more you move and stretch after surgery they better you heal...but allow yourself 1-2 days rest right after surgery and gradually build up. Good luck. : )
hi all im new too this ive been in alot off pain and on 2 accasions been taken 2 hospitalans 3 accasion on fainting with this pain ...i went for an ulta sound scan monday and ave been told ive 9 stones and in alot off pain and was wundering wats the next step what happens now could any one please help me ...and how does thease stones grow !many thanks x
Hi, I am so desperate for some help. I had an ultrasound about a year ago after having been to hospital twice with severe tummy pains. I have gallstones. My GP then said look after your diet and you will be ok. Off I went feeling that was slightly strange but it´s what the Doc said. After a few months of watching what I ate, I was ok and the bad habits started again. I am a lover of cheese, wine, high fat foods, carbs etc. In the last week I have suffered 3 very bad attacks all ending up in hospital in the early hours. I have an appointment on the 18th March to see a specialist. I am now totally scared to eat anything. I see all kinds of contradictory statements on the internet. I just don´t know what to do. Reading all your comments is helping. I was reading, no onions, no garlic, no peppers, no oranges, no beans, no eggs, no dairy products, no meat, no oily fish (can I eat tuna in brine from a can?) For me it is total torture, all my foods are based on onions, garlic and pepeprs. My highlight of the day now is a piece of toast with grated tomato and a dash of olive oil (living in Spain), and a glass of hot skimmed milk with a bit of cocoa powder...is that ok? Apart from that I have a bit of veg soup, mashed potato with skimmed milk, bit of chicken, salad: is salad ok, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, tinned tuna? I drink water, I read somewhere that apple juice was ok, herb tea, I have cut out almost everything I love to eat and drink. I am now totally depressed, eating to survive as opposed to enjoyment is soul destroying (for me as I love food and drink...wine etc), no alcohol is also proving very difficult, living in Spain with the tapa, drink culture, I now find I don´t want to go out and socialise, can´t cope seeing the food and wine flying all over the place and I can´t have any of it. Basically, I just want to cry. However, after these 3 attacks this week, I am too scared to eat or drink anything. My partner Pedro, who is a saint, is tyring to give me the best food possible, I poke it around the plate, eating 3 mouthfuls then can´t eat any more. I am going to drink more water, having read your articles, this seems to be a good point, it is something I have to do more, although I hate water, I will try it with some lemon. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated, kind regards a very depressed Rebecca, South of Spain xxx
Theresa - It sounds like the next step is surgery, though that's something only you and your doctor can decide. I think how they grow is a combination of diet and hereditary factors. My sister and I eat very differently (I'm nearly a vegetarian, she's not), but we both ended up with gallstones. Our father had his gallbladder removed when he was about forty.
Rebecca - The only why I could get by was to eat an extremely low-fat diet, to the point where I started feeling like I would pass out many times. I looked at the label of everything I bought, and never ate at a restaurant unless it was a salad with a salad dressing I was comfortable with. I know what you mean about water, I don't like it by itself, so I mixed it with lemon and sugar, or had Sprite, Gatorade, or fruit juice. I don't know about onions or garlic, I wasn't brave enough to try them,
In both cases, good luck. I know surgery sounds scary, but I feel much, much better these days, and I'm back to eating anything I want.
hi! i just learned last week that I had gallstones. I was scared. When I went to the gastroenterologist, she didn't suggest surgery. She said that my pain was not enough for surgery, and I don't have fever, or tenderness. So right now, I'm starting to change my diet. (This is difficult since I love to eat)
Well I just want to know, how many gallstones did you have? And how big were they? I have 4 and one is 0.44 cm.
I'm surprised that you are nearly a vegetarian and have gallstones. Well, I've been doing some reading and one cause is high fat high cholesterol, the other is hereditary.(I'm not so sure though. Have to ask the doctor)
I'm glad to have stumbled upon your blog and know that I am not the only one suffering with gallstones. Also, Alvin, I'd like to ask you did you go to the surgery alone? I'm living on my own away from friends and family. I just wanted to know if it is possible to undergo through that alone. Thanks.
I finally had the surgery on Monday. I was in quite a bit of pain the first couple of days but now I feel pretty good. I ate one slice of pizza last night and was so full because I have lost a lot of weight due to eating a low fat diet for 5 months. When I went in for surgery on Monday I was very surprised that as soon as they put the mask on me to put me out I woke up and said is it done? The nurse said yes you are done. It was just crazy how I didn't even realize anything had been done. I have never had general anesthesia so I was afraid at first. They gave me a little dose of something first to make me relax before they put me out!!!! Any way the surgery is a piece of cake and now I feel like I want to run a marathon. I am so anxious to get back to working out and feeling better!!! I wish everyone good luck when they go in for surgery!!! I finally went to the bathroom (bm) this morning and it was a success!!!! I wasn't able to go because of the pain killers that were causing constipation.....take care everyone!!!
Karen - Glad to hear about it! It is amazing how time flies under anesthesia, lol.
Kai - I had very small stones, the type that are called "pigment stones". There was a collection of about 20 of them, and they were all small, but with very sharp edges.
I didn't know too many people up here when I had my surgery, so I had people from a company named Comfort Keepers stay with me. The woman they had stay with me stayed for 24 hours, and she really did a great job. I also stayed in a hotel that was a part of the hospital, so in case anything went wrong I would be right there. I didn't realize it, but most hospitals offer an onsite hotel service like this.