Living Without A Gallbladder
Consequences of Living without a Gallbladder
There is no doubt that having recurrent problems with stones is extremely painful, but those individuals afflicted with the condition should seriously consider the consequences of living without a gallbladder before consenting to surgery.
The digestive system of humans is a highly complicated process with many steps and several organs involved. Seven organs are directly part of the digestive process: the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, the rectum and the anus. There are also five organs which play a vital role in the process even though not part of the digestive tract, one of which is the gallbladder. After being chewed and swallowed, the food is passed into the intestinal tract, where digestion begins. Digestive juices break the food down so it can be disbursed to other organs; fats that have been consumed are dissolved by bile, a digestive fluid supplied by the gallbladder.
Many doctors would have their patients believe that the gall bladder is an unimportant organ; one that can easily be eliminated. The gallbladder has a distinct purpose, however; one that is unable to be performed by any other organ. Lying directly beneath the liver, the small sac stores the digestive fluid called bile; a substance that is manufactured by the liver for aid in the digestion. When required, the gallbladder secretes the appropriate amount of bile to dissolve the fats passing through the intestine.
A large number of individuals experience problems that emanate from the gallbladder. The most common problems are gallstones and cholecystitis, which is an inflammation of the organ. Approximately three quarters of a million people every year face surgery in which the gallbladder is entirely removed. This surgery is possible because it is the liver that produces the bile that is stored within the gallbladder. While not life threatening, the overall consequences of living without a gall bladder are far from pleasant. Bile dispersion becomes very limited; with the result being that food, when eaten, is unable to be fully digested. Undigested food causes bloating, abdominal gas, pain, diarrhea and constipation. Allergies can develop, with the standard symptoms associated with them also developing. Autoimmune diseases often become an issue without proper digestion, as well.
If surgery is the only recourse to relieve a condition, there are steps to take that can make living without a gall bladder more bearable. They include:
- Improve your diet. Low fat foods are essential, along with high plant based fiber intake. Avoid pre-packaged foods and all fast foods. Meat and dairy products should be eaten in minimal amounts, as well as simple carbohydrates such as white breads and pastries.
- Enzymes for digestion. Even in a low fat diet, there are essential fats the body needs in order to be healthy, and these must be broken down to be effective. Digestive enzymes must be taken before each meal to assist in this process.
- Regular liver flushes should be performed to ensure that the organ continues to operate at its full capacity. Stones can develop and create a slowdown in the liver’s function.
- Exercise is always helpful in keeping the body running smoothly. Walking is good exercise that can help increase mood, as well.
In addition to these steps, talk to your doctor about any new symptoms that may arise. He may have recommendations that can alleviate the conditions caused by the lack of a gall bladder. Since it is thought that those who have had their gall bladder removed may be more affected by certain cancers than those who retain the order, it is wise to stay ahead of possible issues.
If symptoms of gall bladder problems should arise, making changes to your diet and exercise routine in a preventative measure is best before agreeing to surgery. Living without a gall bladder could be a lifelong struggle.