Medical Q&As

Gallbladder removal - persistent diarrhoea?

I had my gallbladder removed last week. I am now getting bouts of diarrhoea. My consultant told me to expect this but I didnít ask him what causes it and will this be a permanent thing. Could you tell me please?

It is relatively common for people to experience diarrhoea having undergone cholecystectomy or removal of the gallbladder. However, this problem usually subsides over time. The principal function of the gallbladder is to concentrate bile that has been secreted by the liver. Bile has an important role in the digestion of fat in our food therefore when the gallbladder is removed the bile that is released into the gut is less concentrated. This results in less efficient fat digestion with a higher level of fat remaining in the gut which then proceeds on through the small intestine to the colon. This higher level of fat in the colon gives rise to the diarrhoea. You should reduce the amount of oil or fat in your diet at present, which should reduce the level of diarrhoea. Put simply your gut is not currently able to process adequately the level of fat in your diet. Over the coming weeks this problem should diminish but if troublesome diarrhoea persists you should inform your GP and surgeon of that fact.