Living Without A Gallbladder

Living Without A Gallbladder


Living without a gallbladder can be a significant adjustment for individuals who have undergone gallbladder removal surgery. The gallbladder plays a crucial role in the digestive system by storing bile produced by the liver. However, with advancements in medical technology, gallbladder removal, also known as cholecystectomy, has become a common procedure. In this article, we will explore what it means to living  without a gallbladder, the potential effects on digestion, lifestyle changes, and tips for maintaining a healthy post-cholecystectomy life

Understanding the Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small organ located beneath the liver. Its primary function is to store bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver. Bile helps break down fats during digestion and is released into the small intestine when needed. However, in some cases, the gallbladder may develop issues such as gallstones or inflammation, leading to the need for surgical removal.

Reasons for Gallbladder Removal

Gallbladder removal surgery, or cholecystectomy, is commonly performed due to various conditions, including gallstones, gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), or gallbladder polyps. When these conditions cause significant discomfort, recurrent pain, or pose a risk of complications, surgical removal becomes necessary.

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.

For most people the pain of a malfunctioning gallbladder eventually becomes unbearable. After several trips to the emergency room, the mention of surgery is met with certain approval. 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 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 “living without a gallbladder.”

Important Considerations Prior to Gallbladder Surgery:

Gallbladder surgery, although helpful, does not address the issue of stones in the liver (intrahepatic bile ducts), which are associated with various problems.

You will be parting with a significant organ that has a purpose in your body.

Even after gallbladder removal, there remains a considerable chance of experiencing attacks.

It is highly likely that chronic diarrhea will develop after meals. Studies estimate that at least 15-20% of individuals without a gallbladder experience chronic diarrhea or develop IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Many also encounter “dumping syndrome,” characterized by immediate diarrhea following a meal.

There is a slightly increased risk of colon cancer.

The probability of heart-related illnesses rises as the liver supports the heart.

Cholesterol concerns may become more prevalent.

The chances of developing other chronic ailments associated with poor liver function, such as FMS, CFS, Cancer, Allergies, Depression, MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, are elevated. Without a gallbladder, the liver has to work twice as hard, leading to a higher accumulation of stones. Liver cleansing is strongly recommended to support individuals without gallbladders.

Contrary to medical opinion, the gallbladder serves a purpose in the body. It is a small sac located beneath the liver that stores and releases bile, a digestive fluid responsible for breaking down fats. Gallstones form when the chemical composition of bile becomes imbalanced—although the exact cause remains uncertain, a high-fat diet often exacerbates the problem. While it is possible to survive without a gallbladder since bile is produced by the liver, it often results in unpleasant complications within the digestive tract. The gallbladder functions like a pump, aiding in the secretion of sufficient bile for the proper digestion of 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 patients suffer from dumping syndrome, which involves the rapid movement of food from the stomach to the intestines.

Suggestions for living without a gallbladder:

Diet plays a crucial role. Opt for a low-fat, high-fiber, organic, and nutritious diet. Eliminate refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated oils. For a comprehensive guide to a healthy diet, refer to my e-book: Optimum Health Strategies…Doing What Works.

Liver Flush: It is recommended to perform a liver flush/cleanse every four months. People without gallbladders may develop stones in the liver, leading to liver congestion. Keep in mind that the liver serves as the primary filter for the body. For maintenance, use LivaPure™ three times weekly.

Parasite Cleanse: Conduct a parasite cleanse once a year. We recommend two six-week courses of ParaPure™.

Organic Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Complex: intraMAX is an exceptional organic, liquid foundational vitamin/mineral supplement. It is highly recommended for everyone.

Digestive Enzymes: Take 3-5 capsules at least 15 minutes before each meal. Enzymes are necessary for life-long supplementation to aid in the digestion of good fats (Omega 3), which are essential for good health.

Vitamin D-3: Vitamin D deficiency is common, and emerging research reveals its significant role in numerous bodily processes.

Reduce Chemical Overload: Minimize exposure to liver-stressing chemicals found in pre-packaged foods, personal care products, lawn products, perfumes, cosmetics, etc.

Drink Filtered Water Only: Strive to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of filtered water daily.

Use a Probiotic: I highly recommend Latero-Flora and/or Primal Defense.

Reduce Animal Intake: When consuming animal products, ensure they are free-range, organic, and hormone-free.

Eliminate White Sugar and White Flour.

Consume a Green Drink: Consume a green drink or take green pills equivalent to one to two tablespoons daily. Quantum Greens is a favorable choice.

Oregano Oil: Oregano oil helps alleviate pain and promotes bile flow. It should be taken with food or on a full stomach.

Activated Charcoal: Some individuals find relief from symptoms by using activated charcoal, as it aids in sequestering bile acid.

Chinese Bitters: Take Chinese Gentian with Bupleurum in the morning and Coptis with Bupleurum at night to stimulate bile flow.

Bile Salts: Without a gallbladder, digesting dietary fats becomes challenging, if not difficult. I recommend Cholocol from Standard Process. Consuming bile salts with each meal helps ensure proper digestion of essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy oils. Without bile salts, in addition to my other recommendations, many individuals who have had their gallbladders removed tend to experience the typical signs of EFA deficiencies, which include poor nervous system function, irritability/depression, learning difficulties, heart disease, poor blood sugar control, weight gain, etc.

Engage in daily exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes. Walking is highly recommended.

Sunshine: Aim to get 30 minutes of sunshine on exposed skin daily for adequate Vitamin D production.

Following the above suggestions will ensure that your digestive system operates to its fullest and will help to alleviate many of the side effects of gallbladder removal.

So your gallbladder is gone…that’s the past. It’s time to move on and educate yourself in getting healthy and feel better. Following the above suggestions will ensure that your digestive system operates to its fullest and will help to alleviate many of the side effects of 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 keeping the whole body healthy.

As with most diseases, prevention is always the best solution, but when a disease happens remember that there are always solutions and always hope.

Common Concerns and FAQs

Can I still eat fatty foods without a gallbladder?

While it’s advisable to reduce fat intake after gallbladder removal, moderate amounts of healthy fats can still be consumed. It’s important to listen to your body and identify which foods may trigger discomfort.

Will I experience any long-term effects?

In general, most individuals do not experience long-term complications after gallbladder removal. However, some may occasionally experience digestive symptoms, such as loose stools or mild indigestion. These symptoms can usually be managed with dietary adjustments and lifestyle changes.

Can I still lead a normal life?

Absolutely! Living without a gallbladder should not significantly impact your daily life. With appropriate dietary adjustments and healthy habits, you can continue to enjoy a fulfilling and active lifestyle.

Is weight gain common after gallbladder removal?

Weight gain after gallbladder removal is not directly caused by the surgery itself. However, some individuals may experience changes in their eating habits or digestion, which can indirectly affect weight. Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise can help manage weight effectively.

Are there any alternative treatments for gallbladder removal?

In certain cases, alternative treatments such as medication or specific dietary modifications may be considered. However, the effectiveness of these treatments depends on the underlying condition and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.


Living without a gallbladder is a manageable adjustment that many individuals successfully navigate. With proper dietary adjustments, regular physical activity, and healthy lifestyle choices, individuals can lead a healthy and fulfilling life after gallbladder removal. Remember to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance tailored to your specific needs.