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ask: How can I combat post-gallbladder-removal belly fat and weight gain during menopause?

By Beth_Browning
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Hello, in October 2008 I was well into menopause but had no real issues with belly fat or overall weight gain. Then I had my gallbladder removed due to painful attacks of my common bile duct, as well as gallstones. I am appalled at the weight I have gained since the surgical procedure. In fact it is so upsetting (none of my clothes fit) that I feel at times clinically depressed. I've never had to fight weight gain before. Now I have an "unsupportive spine" as well, and must take occasional bouts of oral steroids to control the inflammation. I also have had two spinal epidural steroid injections, and wonder if these injections could cause me to gain weight. Any comments would be most welcome. Thank you!

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EmpowHER Guest

Hi everyone, I have been reading through the threads and have been very enlightened with all the information and feel for you all. I am going for testing tomorrow because my Gastro is telling me that I most likely have to have my gall bladder removed due to biliary dyskinesia. I've been to the er in agony twice recently. I also suffer from acid reflux and IBS. I'm already experiencing weight gain no matter how much I watch what I eat (everything bothers my stomach). It's also embarrassing to be in meetings when my stomach is constantly making gurgling noises lol. Can someone advise as to how I can avoid gall bladder surgery? I'd like to see if I can heal myself holistically.

December 4, 2014 - 6:33pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

The pain that you are having is from fat in your diet. It does not mean that you are eating more fat than a normal diet, but that any amount of fat may bother you. I found that I was pain free sticking to about 0-15 grams of fat a day. But that is not such a healthy way to live. You do need some fats in your life to have a healthy and balanced diet. I found some pretty good fat free foods like yogurts (frozen yogurt is almost as good as ice cream), fruits and veggies, plus some fat free processed foods. I was really good with my diet early on, especially since I was so afraid of having another attack. But soon I found myself eating a lot of foods that were low in fat but high in carbs. No good. I started to gain some weight because I wasn't getting the right balance of foods in my diet. It was killing me. All I wanted was a spoonful of peanut butter on my crackers instead of eating them plain. I decided to add more fats to my diet. I was pain free with 0-15, what was 5 or 10 more grams going to do? Um ruin my life. Adding those extra grams put me in a world of pain. I couldn't deal with the pain waking me up every night and I couldn't live on my bland low fat/fat free diet. I have recently had the gallbladder surgery to remove mine and I am already loving it. Besides a few days of post surgery pain and fearing that I would burst open whenever I sneezed, I am doing very well. I haven't gone crazy with adding fat to my diet again, I am going slow so my body can figure its new situation out. If you ask me, I would recommend the surgery. It is the only "cure" to stop the pain of gallbladder attacks. But if you are really not into getting the surgery, your best bet is to have a very low fat diet. It will take some time to figure out how much fat your body can handle because everyone is a little different. Try it out. If you can live on the low fat diet you should be pain free. But if you want a more normal diet and no fear of a painful attack I highly recommend surgery. Hope I helped a little and good luck!

December 12, 2014 - 2:17am
EmpowHER Guest

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November 19, 2014 - 2:45am
EmpowHER Guest

What a relief to know that I am not alone! After having emergency gallbladder removal in June 2013, I have gained a whopping 20 extra pounds that I cannot get rid of! I too have become vegan as my body responds better and I can digest these foods better than meat and high protiens. I was always a low carber but I cannot tolerate the high fat content of these foods. Vegan works and although I am eating clean and exercising again, I cannot move the numbers on the scale. I refuse to buy bigger sizes and I don't recognize myself anymore. I just turned 50 and I never thought that I would be 50lbs. overweight with no solution. I have become desperate and considered weightloss products. I eat a less than 1200 calories a day and I cannot lose a pound.
There must be some solution. I want to have an appetite again and enjoy foods. I eat to live only.

November 18, 2014 - 1:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

Oh my.. like so many have said...so happy to find I am not alone. .. and sad so many are going through the same frustrations.
2 years ago emergency surgery to have my gallbladder out...but only after the surgeon kept cancelling my appointments over and over.. my eyes turned yellow,.. my skin looked like I painted a tan on..the incredible itching..living on only a few soda crackers a day..and my urine looked like Iodine used to disinfect wounds...I had finally broke down and took myself to the ER... they said I wouldnt have been alive by morning if I had not come in...i had to be emergency transported to a larger hospital across the state.
I had to have two surgeries... one.. to go in and clean out my bile ducts to rid all the stones stuck in the ducts....the surgeon said I had a strange set up.. my common duct that enters the intestine (the nipple he called it) was the size of an infant.. and it didnt enter my small intestine in the normal area but from behind.. I thought, wow.. would that explain the horrible bloating i have had for 20 years?.. I would bloat so bad it looked as if i was ready to give birth a month ago.. and received more stretch marks from the bloating then when I was with child!..
Needless to say, the bile back up caused pancreas to digest part of itself,.. and liver was endangered as well as kidney..
On a good note.. prior to surgery I had to really watch my sugar as it ran high .. so diet and exercise were always top priority because I did not want to take insulin. .... now i am the opposite.. hypoglycemic.
The next day... gallbladder surgery.. since the 20 years of watching everything i ate.. or not eating at all (i felt better if i didnt eat) .. finally .. i was able to eat without some negative response with my body... yay right... nooooo
80 lbs gained in two years... back problems.. knee problem... swelling in my legs... exercise right.. to help the back.. the knees.. circulation... nope.. dont help at all... low fat diet.. nope ... bile salts ... all those suppliments.. nope.. chronic loose bowels... awful..
Then the depression... loss of motivation.. foggy brain.. I dont feel like doing anything physical.. some days are better.. some days are bad.. i procrastinate horribly now... I am the opposite of who i was two years ago.. as two years ago.. up at 5 am and didnt stop moving till midnight...i didnt sit.. i was a get er done girl.. what can be done now is best done now.. not tomorrow... .... not these days, now i put everything off.. dont go anywhere.. dont feel like doing anything but what takes the least amt of energy.
7 doctors... SEVEN... wanted to give me pills.. pills for back.. knee.. the swelling was causing high blood pressure so pills for that.. muscle relaxants... Neurotin.. which cause me to have even worse antidepressiants, narcotic pain killers.. I hate pills..unless they are natural.
One doctor told me i had "Hand to Mouth Syndrom"... another doc i told to check my liver and kidney counts.. as well as test my thyroid...told me that I dont tell him what to do... He is the doctor..... another took blood and said everything is fine...except my cholestrol was a bit high...another said it was menopause (I am 49) and that is causing my weight gain and wrote me off...One said depression causes weight gain as well as body aches (which i have so bad sometimes I can barely move.. i gained 80 lbs but I am 6 ft tall and now 270.. i had always been in shape )
The other two would take blood they said if they feel something is wrong and one gave me a pap smear and the other sent me off for a mamo... all looked at me as if i was out of my mind about the gallbladder sugery and common weight gain...all telling me the same as what so many of you have heard.... but the last doc did humor me and did some blood work and said i had low vit D count and B count.. said to me to take some suppliments and get out in the sun.. I live in northern michigan.. we get nice sun maybe 5 months out of the year i swear.. lol... and with no gallbladder from what i understand .. the supplements arent going to do a bit of good ..
I do feel overall better if i sit in the sun three times a day for half hour each time.. the body aches go away some and my motivation goes up.
so that is good..
probiotics helped my stomach bloat.
But what really gets me...I have all the signs of underactive thyroid.. blood tests say they are a little low but ok...the swelling in legs get bad , real bad at times.. that is sign of liver failure, kidney issues (which could be the problem considering what i went thru).. or con heart failure.... the burning , stinging, pain in my lower back.. slipped disc? herniated disc?.. ...my left knee hurts bad.. i cant straighten it.. .... out of seven doctors do you think one.. just one of them would have took some deeper views into any of these issues.. an xray on the knee.. its twice the size of my right knee.... how about a look at my back?... really check my liver counts?.. nada. NOT ONE doctor did any tests other then a little blood work..... they all want to just give me pills and look at me like i am a hypo.... I could see it if i ran to the doc for every little thing.. but I practice natural medicine..I do not go to the doctors unless it is something serious.. and this is all serious that we are going through with post gallbladder issues.
What the heck is going on with doctors these days? I am so angry and frustrated it isnt funny.. I sure hope someone has the luck in finding a way , a system .. anything to help us get the weight down lol.. i gave up killing myself with exercise and diet.. infact.. once i stopped I am not gaining it as fast.. now I yo yo the same 10 pounds without gaining more. .. and milk thistle, dandelion and burdock , magnesium, as well as a multivitamin, sunshine and an idodine tablet few times a week seems to help tremendously.. I dont take the pills the doctors prescribe unless my sciatic nerve acts up bad or my back muscles spasm.
Someone told me to go to Canada to see a doctor.. lol.. I just might!

September 24, 2014 - 11:11pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi there, this is Beth, the person who wrote the original message about gallbladder removal and crazy weight gain. Thank you so much for sharing your story of woe. It mirrors my own. No doctor has believed me when I tell them I believe there is a link and correlation between gallbladder removal an weight gain. You and I share the same dilemma. My normal weight is 130 pounds. Today I saw a new doctor and I have ballooned to 293 pounds on a 5 foot 7 frame. I am beyond discouraged, I am demented with frustration and rage at docs who won't take this horrific weight gain seriously. I recently spent an entire month in the hospital with pancreatitis and kidney malfunction. I don't know where to turn. Thanks for reading this, and again, I extend my most sincere thanks for your post. I feel as if I've just met a twin sister. Let's support each other by checking in frequently. Very best wishes and a great big hug. Beth

September 25, 2014 - 5:18pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Beth, I also a having the same exact issues. I had my gallbladder removed last year, and since then I have gone from 160 to 240 pounds. I cannot recognize myself. I recently recovered from an eating disorder and was expected to gain some weight but NOT 80lbs. This has never happened before in my life. I have not changed ANY eating except eating LESS and working out MORE. NO ONE understands, including my doctors. I am so frustrated I have not much to say. :( hopeless

November 24, 2014 - 8:47pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Thanks Beth, I am Cheryl. .. I wasnt really that angry till that doctor told me I had hand to mouth syndrom.... In my area I do realize that so many are addicted to pain killers and go to these docs with fantasy symptoms to get more pills... but if they do not look into the complaints and just hand out pills.. then they are enabling those addicts... and in return.. those of us who have real complaints get shoved into taking meds.. out of the 10 meds they have given me.. not a one gives any result except for the anti inflammatory. ... the diuretic doesnt even take down my edema ..
We are stressed out, depressed, trying herbals, probiotics, diets, exercise.. then I read about adreanal gland exhaustion..lol.. and we have those symptoms too...I dont know about you.. but after living 48 years with no real major health issues other then some high blood sugar (and that was easily controlled compared to this).. I am feeling like I am becoming a nut about health..researching daily.. thinking someone somewhere seen a doctor that has some sort of answer..
The gallbladder weight gain issue is not the only thing that is getting the blow off.. Thyroid is the same....I couldnt get any of those doctors to give me the other more accurate test ..even when I offered my credit card to pay for it up front... yet stand there and tell me my t3 and 4 are a little low..,, are they afraid the patient might be correct slightly?,,, Like I told the docs... I know me... I know how i should feel... and what i feel now is NOT GOOD.. and want ANSWERS.. then i get a mumble about the darn internet.. when i never mentioned the internet!
Years ago a doctor put me on medicine for my thyroid.. obviously my numbers were low.. That three months on medication was the best three months of my life in how i felt.. slept great.. woke refreshed.. had normal energy.. and I could eat.. and feel good...I lost 85 lbs in three months... he says to me... that is too much too fast and removes me off the med. ..now.. telling him that i felt so good that I joined a gym .. and telling him that I was taking belly dance classes.. and taking walks , riding horses, gardening etc instead of sitting on my sofa.. and had changed my diet too for the better .. didnt matter... took me off the meds and back to being sluggish it was and has been since. .. showing the doctors my balding head.. my ridged dry fingernails..etc does no good either.
I just dont get it.
Today was a really good day over all.. spent 5 hours in the sun in the less clothes then currently comfortable in and what a difference in how i feel.. no depression, no aches , no stiffness.. and motivation was way up..and best of all... I could think and did not procrastinate and had energy!...strange.. now if i would have realized 5 hours would make that much difference.. I would have wasted 5 hours of every day in the sun, lol... would probably get skin cancer then.. ..
throws arms in the air..

September 25, 2014 - 6:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Beth again. That was meant to read 203 pounds, not 293!

September 25, 2014 - 5:28pm
EmpowHER Guest

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July 1, 2014 - 8:26am
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