You wake up one day and decide to have your gallbladder removed. Maybe you’re worried that you’re gaining too much weight, or perhaps you’ve read about the adverse effects of this surgery. Maybe you want to prevent gallstones or gallbladder cancer. Whatever your reasons, you’re sure that you want to live a healthier life and lose the weight. But then what?
A lot of people wonder how they’re going to eat now that their stomach’s (mostly) empty. Will they be able to eat whatever they want without worrying about extra calories? Will they be able to maintain their weight? These are some of the questions that you might have. But, before you answer them, let’s discuss what happens to your body after your gallbladder is removed.
What Happens To Your Body After Your Gallbladder Is Removed?
Your body’s primary response to removing your gallbladder is to attempt to restore it to its original condition.1 So, in other words, it reacts to the surgery by trying to replace what it believes is missing with the gallbladder; a mechanism known as the “biliopancreatic shunt.”
A biliopancreatic shunt is a connection between the bile duct and pancreatic duct that’s usually made through a hole in the stomach or intestine.2 This connection allows pancreatic enzymes to flow into the intestine where they can break down food. Without one, you’d have to consume food in such a way that your digestive system doesn’t reject it.
When you have a biliopancreatic shunt, you produce bile in the same way that you would if your gallbladder were intact. This means that your digestive system will have the same reaction to food regardless of whether the gallbladder is removed or not. Hence, your body will try to make up for the lack of a functional gallbladder with all the other organs and structures it can — including the brain.
What About Food Intake After Your Gallbladder Is Removed?
As mentioned, the biliopancreatic shunt is one of the ways in which your body attempts to restore itself to its original condition. Another important mechanism that your body uses to do this is to regulate your food intake. So, when your gallbladder is removed, your body starts making assumptions about how much food you should eat based on its current needs. In most cases, this means that your body will want you to eat less. In fact, up to a year after your gallbladder surgery, your body is still going to require fewer calories than it requires before the surgery.
When you have fewer calories available, you’re going to be forced to choose between eating some now or eating more later. Since eating now provides you with nutrients that help your body to repair itself, you’ll most likely choose to eat now. This is why you lose weight after your gallbladder is removed.
How Long Does It Take For You To Lose Weight Post-Surgery?
As mentioned, your body will try to restore itself to its original weight as soon as it has the opportunity. This means that your weight loss will be immediate (at least in the short term), but it may take longer in the long term.
In most cases, people start losing weight within a few days of their surgery. This rapid weight loss is usually a result of your body trying to shed off the extra fluids that it accumulated while your gallbladder was filled with bile. As time passes and your body gets back on track with eating regularly, you’ll start to see weight gain as your body tries to put everything back the way it was before the surgery.
Who Is At Risk Of Weight Gain After A Gallbladder Removal?
People who are at risk of weight gain after a gallbladder removal are those who are already predisposed to weight gain, or those who have a history of obesity or those who have had the surgery before.
In most cases, people who are already at risk of obesity are among those who are likely to gain weight after a gallbladder removal. This is because these individuals already have the basic building blocks for obesity — such as a large percentage of body fat and a low resting metabolic rate — put them at a higher risk of complications from the surgery.3
Even if you have the genes for obesity, or you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or Type II diabetes before, you may still be able to lose weight after your gallbladder is removed. It’s all about diet and exercise. If you want to be able to maintain your new weight, you have to learn how to eat healthy and how to exercise consistently. If you want to know how to lose weight after your gallbladder is removed, continue reading.