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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why do I keep putting on weight after having my gallbladder removed?

    I keep getting really bad ache in my abdomen right hand side, my stools are very runny and i seem to go to the loo a lot. I eat the best food I think i could possibly eat, ie no fat but just keep piling on weight.I had gallbladder removed and stones removed from bileduct.
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  • 2


    Melanie McGrice is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, one of the few dietitians in Australia to achieve that status. Her success has made her an ... View Profile

    Hmmm…it's pretty hard to answer this without more detailed information.  I'd encourage you to get some personally-tailored advice from your local dietitian.  A few things to consider:

    - are you getting too many kilojoules from low fat products that could be contributing to your weight gain?  (ie. fruit juice doesn't contain fat, but it's still high in kilojoules)
    - have you got some type of food intolerance that may be contributing to the loose bowel motions?
    - are you doing less physical activity now since you had your surgery and is that contributing to your weight gain?

    I'd really encourage you to get some more personal advice for this one.

    Best wishes!


  • 4


    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris ... View Profile

    I agree with Melanie here. Its best to seek out an appointment with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) as your symptoms of “runny stools” can lead to malabsorption of nutrients.

    The gallbladder plays an important role as it stores bile (made by the liver) which aids in the digestion and absorption of fat, fat soluble vitamins and some other nutrients. Bile also helps support the integrity of your good gut bacteria. An upset here could be the reason why you are getting “runny stools” and going to the toilet often.  If you have just recently had your gallbladder removed than I would suggest a low fat diet, however over time you liver can adapt and you will be able to digest fat more easily.

    The problem with a low fat diet is a lack of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) so it is important the you book yourself in with an APD to get tailored nutritional advice. With regards to your weight gain, an APD will be able to help you pinpoint why you are putting on weight.

    You can find an APD at

  • 6


    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last ... View Profile

    Removal of the gallbladder, usually because of gallstones, is quite a common surgical procedures. The organ does in fact serve an important purpose in digestion. It stores and releases bile, a substance that helps the body process fat.

    When the gallbladder is removed, bile still flows from the liver (where it originates) into the small intestine. However, the release is more haphazard and can result in discomfort after a meal—particularly one that is high in fat.

    My first recommendation is to consider eating smaller meals evenly spaced throughout the day and to reduce your intake of dietary fat. You may find these minor changes are all you need. Perhaps you are gaining weight as your portions are too large, so reduce the size of your meals.

    If that doesn't work, try slowly increasing your intake of fibre—from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils—which helps speed the movement of food through your system. More efficient digestion can also help reduce bloating.

    Another useful practice is to take a daily probiotic supplement. Research suggests that the friendly bacteria in these supplements can help break down food, increasing the efficiency of digestion.
    In addition, commence an exercise program, and aim at doing 60 minutes of exercise each day.

    A few gradual adjustments should ensure that you and food get along just fine, even without your gallbladder there to referee.

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