Some patients experience a condition called bile salts diarrhea after the removal of their gallbladder. The liver produces bile and stores it in the gallbladder until digestion. When the gallbladder is removed, there is no longer a place for bile to be stored. In these patients, the bile enters the intestines directly and the liver makes much more of it than usual. The excess amounts of bile salts overwhelm the intestines and diarrhea is the result.
Bile salts diarrhea can be a disturbing problem for many people. Some people with this condition are afraid to go too far from home to eat and may even avoid eating out altogether. Increase the amount of fiber in the diet to help stool form solidly. Fiber additives to foods can be helpful for those suffering from bile salt diarrhea. Fiber supplements treat this form of loose bowels, but eating a diet that contains plenty of fiber-rich foods is also helpful.
Diet is an important part of digestive function. Some patients with this condition eat a low-fat diet to minimize symptoms. Bile salts are used to digest fat in your food and minimizing the amount of fat may help improve the condition. Choose lean sources of protein such as fish or skinless chicken. Red meat contains saturated fat and should be limited to one or two meals per week. A well balanced diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables as sources of carbohydrates. Choose whole grains and foods rich in soluble fiber such as oats and oat bran along with green leafy vegetables for the best carbohydrate choices. A diet may not completely eliminate the problem of bile salts diarrhea after a gallbladder removal, but it may help minimize it.
Medications such as cholestyramine can stop bile salts diarrhea. This medication is typically used to treat high cholesterol. The medication inactivates bile salts and is generally used to stop the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream but it is effective for stopping the diarrhea after a gallbladder removal. Take a multivitamin if you are using cholestyramine because it prevents the absorption of vitamins. Anti-diarrhea medications can help manage the condition effectively as well. Use over-the-counter diarrhea medications to help minimize the impact that the condition has on your social life. If you become constipated when using any of these medications, discontinue their use and consult with your doctor.