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

By May 15, 2009 - 10:55pm
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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

I am 62 and weigh over 300 pounds. Up until I had my gall bladder removed 9 years ago i stayed around 150 to 175. Now it seems that no matter what I eat I can't lose weight. Which now is causing me to have other health issues. So thank you everyone that commented on weight gain after gall bladder surgery( mine was an emergency surgery also), now i understand the problem and maybe with serious exercise and meal maintenance I can get rid of this extra person that i have been carrying around especially my stomach.

October 29, 2016 - 11:51am
EmpowHER Guest

After my gallbladder was removed, I continued to have pain so severe that I swore they had somehow messed up my surgery. It was very similar to the pain from the gallstones and radiated to my upper back, I was in agony. I knew from a previous endoscopy that I had a couple of ulcers. After about 3 trips to the ER in serious pain, the only answer I got was that it was probably my ulcers. So I took the meds I was prescribed for them and just dealt with the pain. Which even made breathing painful.
Desperate for answers I went in for another endoscopy, no ulcers at all, they had healed. The doctor diagnosed me with Gastroparesis because my food had no digested the way it should of after fasting. I was prescribed Reglan and it has made a huge difference. I used to get full VERY quickly at times, and my stomach area would get & stay hard for HOURS after eating. This medicine helps the digestion process and stops the pain and bloat.
Before I knew what was wrong, I would sometimes throw up food (with about 2 seconds of warning it was coming) that I had eaten HOURS prior and it looked like food I had just ate. I think this is why at first I didn't battle weight gain.
Now that I can treat that and eat normally, here comes the weight. Fat in the middle where I've NEVER had to battle it before. I tend to gain butt/thigh fat. This midsection thing is new and I hate it. Clothes are very uncomfortable.
But, I did a search about this a couple weeks ago and found a site from a Dr. Miranda (something). I think it's titled "is your lack of gallbladder making you fat? Or something. Should be easy to find if you google weigh gain after fall bladder removal. Her advice and theory makes a TON of sense. So it's worth a look. She has advice of vitamins and supplements.
I lost about 12 lbs in the past month. No real change in my diet and exercise (yet! I'm trying to get more active, have a bad back also).
There is something to it. At the very least read what she says about vitamins. I know people are not into herbs. But I'm sure just the vitamin part will be helpful. And get checked for Gastroparesis and also the h.pylori bacteria. Handling those things if you have them would be a good step to take.
Hope I was helpful. :-)

June 6, 2016 - 11:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

I found this site while searching for abdominal bloating after gallbladder removal, and reading all the various comments has been very interesting. I thought I'd share my experience. I'm in my early '60s, and my gallbladder was removed 9 years ago. My weight then was about what it is now--upper 140s on a 5'6 frame. After my gallbladder was removed, I had difficulty eating much fat, but I didn't gain weight. In fact, my weight stayed about the same for quite a few years. Then, several years ago, I decided to cut out almost all fat from my diet because of a heart problem scare. I doubt I had more than 10 grams of fat per day, seriously. Needless to say, this quite drastically changed the way I ate--I'd always been a big dessert/sweets fan, though a vegetarian for most of my life, and that's probably what helped cause my gallbladder problems to begin with. In any case, after I cut the fat out of my diet, I lost a LOT of weight fairly steadily. Soon I was down in the mid-120s. I was happy about the loss but, frankly, a bit concerned. Nothing ended up being wrong with me, though, so I just figured the loss was permanent. One thing I did notice on this ultra-low fat diet was that when I had any amount of fat, I would get cramps. That made me watch everything I ate even more carefully, because it wasn't fun. So, I stayed at that low weight for at least a year, probably closer to two. Then gradually, I started introducing more fat--a cookie here, a candy bar there. Soon my weight began creeping up. What was weird was that the cramping from fats had stopped...and what was even weirder was that my abdominal fat started increasing. This was NOT an area I'd accumulated fat in the past, and this "fat" didn't feel like anything I'd experienced before. As others have described, it looked (and still does) like I was pregnant, and it was hard, like a balloon. Now I'm back in the upper 140s and stuck with this "pregnant" belly. None of my pants fit--even ones that fit when I was at this same weight years ago. It's the distended abdomen. So now I've decided to drastically reduce my fat intake again. My theory is that after my body somehow became able to easily digest the fat without cramping, something was happening somewhere--maybe it was being stored in my abdomen. Anyway, we'll see what happens--I've only been cutting back for the past two days, so it's too early to tell. I did have an ultrasound of my abdomen, but nothing showed up. If cutting back on the fat doesn't cause me to lose weight (and the paunch), I'll probably have a CT scan. The problem is, abdominal bloating can be a sign of even more serious conditions, such as ovarian cancer, so it's important to get things checked out. Also, I read some of the comments about doctors, and I have to say that the two I had were very good--one had even had had his own gallbladder removed years before, and the other had a mother who almost died from gallstones in her late '80s and had to have emergency surgery. I'm sure there are bad doctors out there, but I just wanted to put in a word for the ones who are good. Thanks to everyone for all the comments.

May 29, 2016 - 8:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I ha lost 135 puns over ten years ago and maintaine it, last november had emergence gallbladder surgery an since then have gained 50 pounds, i also do no understand why. they say we should not be gaining weight, but i see i am not the only one. anybody have any answers as to why this is happening?


August 22, 2016 - 6:46am
EmpowHER Guest

I am so glad to find all your comments. I thought I was losing my marbles. I had been through menopause and didn't suffer any weight gain from that, but later had my gall bladder removed and that's a whole different story. It has been about 6 years and I have gained about 45 pounds. I have tried dieting and I have given up at times, and it seems to make no difference either way. What makes me mad is I wasn't even having gall bladder pain (only one stone), but I had been vomiting for about a year and a half and the only thing they could figure out was, it must be the gall bladder. Wrong. After surgery, I continued to have the same problem. Finally figured out the vomiting was caused by a medication I was taking. I want my gall bladder back, stone and all. I've gained most of this weight around the middle, and get extremely and painfully bloated in the upper part of my abdomen whenever I eat ANYTHING. Nothing fits any more, and I rarely leave the house. It would have been nice if the doctor had warned me about this, but I got no warning whatsoever. I will try some of the advice I've found here; thank you. Let this serve as a warning for people who haven't had the surgery yet...don't do it unless your life is endangered. You'll be sorry.

May 13, 2016 - 3:05pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You are right. Doctors need to tell their patients that the gall bladder has a purpose, metabolizing fats!! After gall bladder surgery I ended up with 2 bellies. I am really mad about that and would not have had removal had I know that. Now, how to get rid of this belly fat?

June 29, 2016 - 6:57am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

You may not lose it all but you will need to eat a low fat diet and restrict your calories. Then do a ton of physical activity on top of that.

I power walk a 5k every day, eat raw 75% of the time and am vegetarian. Small portions are key and don't eat until you are full - eat until you are not hungry anymore. Huge difference. Drink 12 oz of water 20 minutes before you eat. Even then it's a struggle. Limit yourself to 1600 calories a day and work out (hard) 6 days a week. It sucks, I know. But you can do it, I promise. You may never have a flat belly again but it will go down quite significantly.


June 29, 2016 - 12:59pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I wish my surgeon hadnt taken my gallbladder out - They lie when they tell you it doesnt affect anything- I am gaining a lot of weight since I had mine out and its mostly in the belly- I have increased exercising- 11 miles a day on exercise bike - eating healthy low fat diet yet I am still gaining weight- I am so depressed and I wish I could have my gallbladder put back in!

June 4, 2016 - 3:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Me too. I couldn't loose weight no matter my diet and exercise. I am having good success with Fast Metabolism Diet. Not coming off fast- but it's coming off.

June 6, 2016 - 7:22pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon!

Thanks for sharing your story.

I also had that upper abdominal swelling - from my breasts down.

I had what is called a hydrogen breath test and came up positive for deeply inbedded bacteria in my small intestines. I went on a raw food diet and it helped but the antibiotics did the trick. I am now about 75% raw and eat very small portions. All that swelling has stopped now. I find small portions with low fat really help. I'm pain-free now too - a miracle.


May 16, 2016 - 1:05pm
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