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Do I need to change my diet after gallbladder surgery?

Most people don't need to follow a special diet after having surgery to remove their gallbladder, as the gallbladder isn't essential for digestion.

You can usually start eating normally a few hours after your operation, although you'll probably prefer to eat small meals to start with.

You may have been advised to follow a low-fat diet for several weeks before surgery, but this doesn't need to be continued afterwards.

Instead, you should aim to have a generally healthy, balanced diet, including some fats.

If you experience side effects from surgery, including indigestion, bloating, flatulence or diarrhoea, it may help to make some small adjustments to your diet.

For example:

  • avoid drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee and tea
  • avoid foods that make the problems worse, such as spicy or fatty foods
  • gradually increase your intake of fibre – good sources of fibre include fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain rice, wholewheat pasta and bread, seeds, nuts and oats

Your GP can also recommend medication if you have diarrhoea.

Side effects of gallbladder surgery usually only last a few weeks, although diarrhoea can be a more persistent problem for a small number of people.

If you have had other organs removed as well as your gallbladder, such as your pancreas, you may have problems digesting food.

You'll be advised about any changes you need to make to your diet after surgery in these cases.

Further information