Loretta Lanphier, NP, CN, HHP, CH
Roughly 20 million Americans suffer from gallstones, and 750,000 of them have their gallbladders removed each year. There are 800,000 hospitalizations and 2 billion dollars spent annually on gallbladder disease. From these statistics, many people are living without a gallbladder without much instruction on how to do so.
For most people, the pain of a malfunctioning gallbladder eventually becomes unbearable. After several trips to the emergency room, the mention of surgery is often met with certain approval by the patient. Unfortunately, this seemingly simple solution may or may not end the pain and discomfort of gallbladder disease. The probable after-effects of gallbladder surgery are never discussed with the patient, which leaves the patient with the impression that all will be back-to-normal after surgery. But, for many, it doesn’t take long to realize that all is “not well” and the patient soon begins to feel very betrayed by their surgeon and doctor who did not prepare them for “life without a gallbladder.”
Things to consider BEFORE having gallbladder surgery
- Gallbladder surgery will not remove stones from the liver (intrahepatic bile ducts), so it will not solve all the concerns associated with intrahepatic stones.
- You will lose one crucial organ that GOD included in your body for a reason. Your gallbladder plays an essential role in the digestion of food. Your gallbladder holds bile produced in your liver until it is needed for digesting fatty foods in the duodenum of the small intestine.
- There is a definite probability that you will still suffer attacks, even after your gallbladder is removed.
- High chances of developing chronic diarrhea after eating. It is estimated that at least 15-20% of people without gallbladder end up with chronic diarrhea or with IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). Many experience “dumping syndrome” which means diarrhea immediately after eating a meal.
- Slightly higher chances of colon cancer.
- Higher chances of developing heart-related illness as the liver feeds the heart.
- Higher chances of developing cholesterol concerns.
- Higher chances of developing other chronic illnesses that are associated with a poor liver function such as FMS, CFS, Cancer, Allergies, Depression, MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s.
- If you do not have a gallbladder, the liver must work twice as hard and can thus accumulate twice as many stones. Liver cleansing is highly recommended to help support individuals without gallbladders.
The Importance of Your Gallbladder
Contrary to conventional medical opinions, the gallbladder is of use to the body. The gallbladder is a small sac underneath your liver that stores and secretes bile, a digestive fluid that breaks down fats. Gallstones form when the chemical compounds in bile become unbalanced — no one is sure exactly why this happens, but a diet high in fat often makes the concern worse. Since bile is produced by the liver, it’s possible to survive without a gallbladder, but usually not without unpleasant digestive tract complications. The gallbladder is like a pump. Without it, the liver is unable to secrete enough bile to properly digest a full meal. Many people experience symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, constipation, increased allergies, liver congestion, itchy skin, and autoimmune diseases. Some people suffer from dumping syndrome, in which food is “dumped” too quickly into the intestines from the stomach, causing an immediate need to have a bowel movement.
Suggestions for living without a gallbladder
Healthy Diet is extremely important. Eat low-fat, high fiber, organic, and healthy. (Healthy oils are important – see Bile Salts below.) Eliminate refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated oils.
Liver Flush – Every four months, a liver flush/cleanse should be performed. People without their gallbladder may develop stones in the liver, which will lead to a sluggish liver. Remember that the liver is the main filter of the body.
Parasite Cleanse – One time a year. Two six-week courses of Paratrex™ is recommended.
Bile Salts – Without a gall bladder digesting dietary fats will be difficult, at best. I recommend Cholocol from Standard Process. By consuming bile salts with each meal, they will help to ensure that your body does not miss out on adequately digesting nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy oils. Without bile salts along with my other recommendations, many people who have had their gallbladder removed tend to experience the usual signs of EFA deficiencies, which are: poor nervous system function, irritability/depression, learning difficulties, heart disease, poor blood sugar control, weight gain, etc.
Organic Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Complex – intraMAX is the best organic, liquid foundation vitamin/mineral supplement that we have found. Everyone should be taking a foundational vitamin.
Digestive Enzymes – Take 3-5 capsules at least 15 minutes before each meal. You will need to take enzymes for the rest of your life to help digest the good fats (Omega 3), which are essential for good health. I recommend Veganzyme, which is an advanced, full-spectrum blend of the most powerful digestive and systemic enzymes that support digestion, boost the immune system, and encourage functional balance throughout the entire body. VeganZyme – a digestive and systemic enzyme for healthy digestion.
Suntrex D-3 – Just about everyone is Vitamin D deficient and we are learning that Vitamin D plays a major role in just about every process in the body.
Reduce chemical overload on the liver (pre-packaged food, personal care products laden with toxic chemicals, lawn products, perfumes, cosmetics, etc.)
Drink only filtered water – Try to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water every day. I suggest making up one gallon of distilled water with 2-3 tablespoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar.
Use a Probiotic – I highly recommend the probiotic/prebiotic Floratrex which is a superior blend of live and active cultures from 25 probiotic strains that support digestion and intestinal function and boost the immune system. This advanced formula provides 75 billion CFUs.
Reduce animal intake (meat and dairy) – When consuming animal products make sure they are free-ra,nge, organic and hormone-free.
Eliminate white sugar and white flour.
Consume a green juice drink every day.
Oregano Oil – Helps with pain and also with bile flow. Must take with food or on a full stomach.
Activated Charcoal – Some people have found that activated charcoal helps with gallbladder removal symptoms as it helps to sequester bile acid.
Chinese Bitters (Chinese Gentian with Bupleurum) in the morning and Coptis with Bupleurum at night to stimulate bile flow.
Exercise daily for 30 minutes. Walking is highly suggested.
Sunshine – Get 30 minutes of sunshine on as much of your body as is legal, every day. Necessary for adequate Vitamin D production.
So your gallbladder is gone…that’s the past. It’s time to move on and educate yourself about living without a gallbladder. Following the above suggestions will ensure that your digestive system operates to its fullest and will help to alleviate many of the side-effects from gallbladder removal. You can feel good again after gallbladder surgery, but for most, it will mean committing to a total lifestyle change…one that will also be beneficial in supporting whole-body health.
As with most diseases, prevention is always the best solution, but when disease or illness occurs, remember that there are always solutions and always hope. Do your research and always get second opinions.