I need to know facts about gallbladder removal and weight gain!

I’ve got a problem, a big problem. It’s a problem I’ve had for a few years now.

When I was 19, I developed gallstones, and they made me very ill. I could eat nothing but 2 soda crackers and half a bowl of chicken soup once a day, or else I got sick to my stomach. Because of my young age, the doctors I saw didn’t suspect gallbladder disease as what was making me sick. So I endured 3 months of countless medical tests. In that time I lost an alarming amount of weight. I am 5’3 with a medium frame, and I plummeted from a healthy weight of 130lbs to 85 pounds. I looked like a concentration camp victim. Anyway, an ultrasound finally revealed the problem, and I had my gallbladder removed.

I’m much better now, 5 years later. But something happened that my surgeon never told me about. Although I can now eat fairly normally again, my stomach shrunk so much that I eat very little now - and I developed an aversion to fatty foods. They make my stomach turn. So, I eat very little and very healthy (salads, whole grains, tofu, fruit), and have been doing so since the surgery. But since I got better, I’ve been slowly and steadily gaining weight. And gaining, and gaining. I went from my previously healthy weight of 130lbs to over 200lbs. I weight train and get around exclusively by walking or biking, so I’m sure muscle mass accounts for a lot of that - my legs are solid. But the unexplained weight gain is disturbing. And, most frighteningly, I’m still gaining.

I’ve heard that the gallbladder regulates body fat. Is this true? There is no other explanation - no new medicines or illnesses- that can explain my weight gain. If anything, I’m healthier than I was when I weighed less . 5 other family members have also had their gallbladders removed, and after their surgery, they mysteriously gained weight as well. So I find this very suspicious.

Has anyone else here experienced this? If so, is there any way you were able to lose the weight? Even though I’m in great shape, I’m worried about the impact of the weight on my joints and organs - and I’m sick of people assuming I’m lazy and unhealthy because I’m big.

I really need help on this one. I’ve gone to several different doctors for help and they were mystified as to what is causing my weight gain. I had my thyroid checked twice and told it was normal.

IANAD but my wife had her gall bladder removed so I’ve looked into this somewhat.

The gall bladder does not regulate body fat. It aids in digesting fats. Bile is secreted and ends up in the gall bladder, which presumably saves it up and releases it into the digestive system as needed for fat digestion. Without it, the bile trickles in constantly. Your ability to digest is affected, but I’m not sure exactly how. My wife noticed that some fatty foods started to give her indigestion. This may relate to your aversion to eating fats.

The stomach does not physically shrink. Some people use this phrase to describe a sense of feeling full when eating less, but it doesn’t shrink.

If you have gone from 130 to 200 it does not seem likely that a large portion of that is muscle mass, unless you have been training for bodybuilding competitions. A gain in muscle mass of 10% of your body weight would be pretty hefty.

My wife did not have any significant weight gain after her surgery, so it is not a universal, in escapable consequence.

I can’t even speculate as to why you are gaining weight.

I likewise know someone who had her gall bladder removed, and likewise has a strong aversion to fatty foods. However, she was already pretty huge when she had the bladder taken out.

PERHAPS (and that’s a big perhaps) your near starvation when you were younger kicked your body into a lower metabolic rate that you’re now stuck with. After all, you can’t put on fat if you’re burning all the calories.

I have the reverse of your situation. I’ve been fat all my life, because I love to eat and sit down a lot. Had my GB removed 2 years ago, and ever since have found it easy to control my hunger and lose some weight[about 70 lbs. at this point, down from 300] I eat a little less now, sometimes not even feeling hungry-this NEVER occurred before the operation. Still have my chips and DQ when I want, I’ve not really eliminated anything from my present diet that I’ve always eaten. My theory? The GB concentrates the liver-produced bile and stores it for digestion. Without the GB, less-concentrated bile is added to the food waiting to be digested. Fats don’t get completely emulsified, and consequently pass through my system without being absorbed. QED, less fat=weight loss. This may be wishful thinking, but I’ve thought about it for a long while and it makes sense to me. If it is true though, wouldn’t there always be a lot of fat people and supermodels rushing off to the nearest surgeon?

You might be on to something there - When I read your post I remembered something that had happened to one of my aunts. She was anorexic (self-induced) from age 13-22. She had to be hospitalized at one point b/c she was fainting constantly from anemia that resulted from the starvation. She got treatment and now eats a very healthy diet - but as soon as she began to eat normally her weight skyrocketed. She is 4’ 11" and easily 300 lbs - definitely morbidly obese. She’s tried for years to lose that weight but it just won’t come off. I’ve heard from several sources that if someone is starving, the body will go into a survival mechanism and basically hold on to every nutrient it recieves so said person won’t starve to death. Maybe this is the case, for me and her? However, she is not in good shape at all, mind you, so our situations are quite different. Even though the BMI classifies me as bordering on morbidly obese, I only look stocky with a bit of extra fat on the tummy, upper arms and chin, and I still actually have an hourglass shaped figure.

Hey, Quadrop the Metrocan is a doctor. I wonder if he’d know if there’s any basis in fact to any of these theories?

IANAD, but i’ve taken a few anatomy and physiology classes. The main function of the gall bladder is to STORE bile salts. It is the function of the bile duct(and I believe portions of the duodenum(intestine) to control opening of and closing and thus release of those bile salts. If the gall bladder is removed then bile is stored withen the bile duct itself. Obviously there is less room for storage there.

Bile itself’s main function is to emulsify fat. Without it you couldn’t digest fat very well. Thus your aversion to fats.

I’m fairly certain bile does something else. Hormones? Vitamen uptake? it’s something I just can’t remember. I’d look, but i gotta go soon.

Another theory. You don’t eat fats, thus your body creates and holds onto whatever fat it can as much as possible. You might be skewing your metabolism toward fat retention. Your weight might be explained by your increase of muscle mass and no loss of fat.

I had my gallbladder removed, and it had absolutely no effect on my diet or my tolerances or my appetites.

It did make it hard to fart for a couple weeks after the operation.

I had my gall bladder removed 25 years ago and have experienced no abnormal weight changes. In fact, I weigh just about the same as I did back then. IANAD so I can’t speculate why you would experience such a thing, but you should definitely consult your doctor and a nutritionist. If you are not getting a satisfactory complement of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats from your diet, it might be contributing to your abnormal weight gain. The body can do strange things to insure it gets the nourishment it needs.

I had my GB out in '97, but I’m pretty sure it had stopped working about six years earlier. I had some weight gain, but mainly had gotten fat before the gallbladder became an issue. Your aversion to fatty foods shpuld have more than compensated for your new inability to process and digest fat.

IANAD either, but I think your weight gain has little or nothing to do with the absent Mr. Gallbladder.

I put on weight after they yanked mine.
It was because I could not wait to dig into some fried food and beef!
Other than that, I do not miss it in any way - not even one tenth of one percent- well there are a few small scars on my gut

I believe you mean **Qadgop the Mercotan ** - just in case he does a vanity search. :wink:

Another chunk of anecdotal non-evidence here. I had my gall bladder out a few years ago, and haven’t experienced any weight change. I occasionally get a bit…loose…if I eat a lot of fat, which makes sense, but that’s the only change I’ve noticed.

I’m inclined to believe your experience has a lot more to do with your experience before having your gall bladder out.

I had mine out about 3 years ago, and haven’t noticed anything different at all. I weigh about the same.

I had my gallbladder out about seven years ago, when I was nineteen. (I also had mono before the gallbladder attack that led to the removal. Fun summer that was.) I didn’t lose any weight because of it but it did affect my digestion. Animal fats (from meat, mayo, cheese) especially seem to make me somewhat ill. I have to eat them in small quantities.