4 Diet Tips For Recovering From Gallbladder Surgery

The gallbladder is an important part of the digestive system, as it stores bile that your body uses to break down fats from the foods you eat. In some people, the bile can harden, forming stones that clog the bile ducts. Gallstones can be painful, so it's common for someone with this condition to undergo a cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder. Following this surgery, watching what you eat and avoiding certain foods can help you prevent complications and avoid discomfort during your recovery period. Follow these diet tips to make your recovery as easy as possible.

1. Stick with liquids for the first few days.

You won't be able to eat or drink the day of your surgery, so you may be hungry when the anesthesia wears off. Don't overwhelm your digestive system by eating a big meal right away. Instead, drink clear liquids and take small spoonfuls of gelatin, pudding, and broth. Once you start feeling better, gradually add solid foods to your diet until you are back to your normal eating habits.

2. Limit your fiber intake. 

Fiber is an important part of your diet, and it can even lower your risk for heart disease and other chronic medical problems. However, high-fiber foods can be hard on the digestive system, so eating too much fiber in the days immediately following your surgery can leave you feeling bloating and uncomfortable. Some people may even experience abdominal cramps or have diarrhea. Once you add solid foods back to your diet, limit your intake of high-fiber foods such as broccoli, cabbage, nuts, whole-grain bread, and fortified cereals.

3. Choose low-fat foods.

After your gallbladder is removed, your body no longer has a place to store bile until it is needed. Therefore, the bile directly enters your small intestine, causing a laxative effect that can lead to diarrhea and bloating. To prevent these symptoms, avoid fried foods and high-fat foods such as French fries, fatty cuts of meat, cooking oils, poultry skin, full-fat dairy products, and butter.

4. Avoid large portions.

Even after you add solid foods back to your diet, you shouldn't overdo it by eating large portions. Give your digestive system a chance to heal by having small meals and snacks throughout the day instead of eating one or two large meals. Limiting portion sizes can help you avoid bloating and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Following these basic diet tips can help you avoid complications during your cholecystectomy recovery, but it's important to ask your doctor if there are any additional restrictions that apply to your situation. If you are not sure how to implement these tips, ask a gastroenterology professional to refer you to a registered dietitian for advice on getting adequate nutrition while you recover from your gallbladder removal. Visit places like Diablo Digestive  Care for more information on the best care for your body.