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Gallstones and low fat diets

(107 Posts)
chocaholic73 Mon 06-Aug-12 19:50:27

Have had gallstones for a few years. Following an agonising night a few weeks back, I ended up at A&E and had to stay in for a few days to be stabalised. They wouldn't remove the gall bladder at the time - said it increased the risk of bleeding as it was inflamed. I am now awaiting an outpatient appt which will then lead to a date to go back in for removal. In the meantime, I have been told to have a low fat diet - but that is the limit of the guidance I received. I have since read that too little fat can lead to the formation of additional gallstones so I am very confused. How much is the right amount? In the 2.5 weeks I have been home, I have lost about 4 pounds which is just about OK but I don't want or need to lose much more and I think if I carry on eating just what I have been eating the weight will continue to drop off. I am at the moment following the 5g in 100g rule but I am wondering whether I need to be quite that rigid. The bottom line is that I will do (almost) anything to avoid a recurrance of that horrendous pain while I wait for surgery! Those of you who have been there, will know what I mean. Any mumsnet guidance from people who have done this would be brilliant, or if there are any medical people, dietitians etc too.

chocaholic73 Wed 05-Dec-12 19:08:13

When had acute gall bladder inflammation in July, they told me I would have an outpatient appt in about 4 weeks. In fact it was 10 weeks. I was then told the actual waiting list was 8 weeks. I kept chasing but could never speak to anyone. Eventually I did and they told me I hadn't yet been allocated a date but it was likely to be the end of January. Fortunately, at this stage DH's work health insurance stepped in and I was done within 2 weeks. Low fat wise, it was a real challenge. I am a veggie and rather partial to cheese - low fat cheese slices just aren't the same somehow! You can get low fat chips that aren't bad, pasta and any sort of vegetable sauce is fine but everything is really limited. I broke the vegetarianism in as far as developing a thing for Cadbury's low fat chocolate mouse .... divine .... well a girl has to have some form of chocolate! Your pain does sound very different to me, on a low fat diet I was fine ... the only time I had a wobble was the 1 occasion I went out for a meal for DH's birthday .... I took some Buscopan and pain killers and it did settle down fortunately.

DazR Wed 05-Dec-12 15:08:15

Thanks for your words of encouragement chocoholic. Actually i have already given up chocolate (my all time favourite snack) so am feeling quite miserable... Never had to follow a diet before (am 5' 8 and normal weight - but not fit (need to get exercising but pain keeps preventing it!). What have you been eating to keep 'low fat' - any favourite meals? Glad to hear that you have had your op - how long did you have to wait? I haven't had any episodes of extreme labour-type pains but I am just generally in pain (varies in intensity), and sometimes dragged so low with it i am in tears. I feel it is getting worse - and the GP did say there was a risk of blockage due to the size of my stones.
Hi notallowedatall - it's miserable isn't it! I too am thinking that Christmas may well be interesting......

notallowedatall Wed 05-Dec-12 12:23:00

Another one suffering here. I'm awaiting an ultrasound scan to confirm gallstones, but reading this board, I'm about 99% sure it's the cause of all my problems. For years I was prescribed gaviscon (must've had a wheelbarrow full of 'em), then a few years on lanzoperazole but they no longer work. I've been on a low fat diet since July and have lost almost 2 stone, but still getting severe aches under rib cage, shoulder blades etc and generally feeling quite unwell, especially after consuming something a 'little' fatty. Christmas will be interesting!!!

chocaholic73 Wed 05-Dec-12 09:55:05

Shocking you had to wait so long Daz for what is a very common problem - particularly amongst ladies of a certain sort of age .... there are certainly a number of us on here. The waiting list will depend on your area. However, your GP should be able to give you a rough idea. If you find out where you have been referred to, you could then be proactive and phone the surgeon's secretary for a more accurate update. In the meantime, I found a low fat diet really controlled things (I also lost over a stone in weight!). It can be a challenge at times but it worked for me. Although, in some cases, it isn't so successful. Anyway, my gall bladder was finally whipped out just under 2 weeks ago and good riddance so far as I'm concerned. Hope you get things sorted soon.

DazR Tue 04-Dec-12 15:25:37

Diagnosed yesterday via Ultrasound Scan with a dozen gallstones in a bulging gallbladder. Back to the GP today who has referred to me a surgeon! I think there is a long wait in our area so have been reading this thread to get advice as to how to manage pain and diet. I have suffered for nearly 3 years with pain under my ribcage and especially behind my right shoulder blade and middle of my back. Has taken this long to get the correct diagnosis.... I even specifically asked my previous GP what organs were under my right hand ribcage that could be causing the pain and nothing was said except being prescribed very strong co-codamol! Since my pain started I have had a shoulder op for arthritis - the surgeon said 'why had I waited so long' so it obviously needed doing. During post-op physio to regain mobility in my shoulder the original pains have yet again returned - rib pain, shoulder blade pain etc. The physio kept saying it was 'referred pain' from the op but eventually I had had enough and returned to my new GP who thought I ought to be checked for gallstones - and BINGO it was obviously this all along.... So another year wasted while I wait for treatment for gallstones. Hopefully one day I may be pain free??? Does this day ever come??? How long do most people wait for referrals and then for operation dates? Sympathizing with all my fellow sufferers. sad

tb Sat 01-Dec-12 17:50:05

I found out at the beginning of October during a routine medical that there was a possibility I had gallstones. I had an x-ray the same week, and a scan 2 weeks later. The 12th November I had my gall-bladder out.

Unfortunately, I did a bit too much once home, and have caused a hernia somewhere around my waist - my GP told me that he could feel a ball of fat that had 'popped' through a gap in the muscle layer. I'm now on Tramadol/paracetamol and enough Naprosyn to floor an elephant. So, ladies, when you do have your gall-bladders taken out, don't rush round like a mad thing the minute you get home.

The pain I'd had under my ribs had been dismissed my 'd'm who told me I was probably a bit stressed - must be prior to 1992. So thinking the 'belt too tight' feeling was down to stress I put it to the back of my mind.

Finally, my op was done in a French clinic, and cost €3000 with about €150 back-hander to the surgeon in 'dépassement honoraires' ie fees about the tariff, and the same amount in specialist appts beforehand - surgeon, lung specialist, anaesthetist and cardiologist all to make sure that I could withstand a general anaesthetic. Otherwise, under French law, outside life-saving emergency surgery, it's illegal for them to put a scalpel blade or gas mask anywhere near you.

gavind Thu 29-Nov-12 18:44:12

If you have pains on the right side just below the rib area, then it's a high chance of a gall stone. You should have a doctor check on it.

There's also a new concept about gall stone removal rather than gall bladder removal itself. Check this step by step experience in finally getting the gall stones out.

PoppyWearer Mon 19-Nov-12 21:30:03

Sorry to hear that, NoWayNoHow sad Before I was diagnosed and changed my diet I was fluctuating between constipation/bloating and diarrhoea.

I was doing WeightWatchers and my weight fluctuations were enormous (a good few pounds) depending on the kind of week I'd had!

I do still get bloating and constipation if I eat too much of one thing and stray from cereal for breakfast. Dealing with some nausea at the moment, but I think that might be a stomach bug rather than the gallstones.

AwkwardSquad Mon 19-Nov-12 20:19:59

*and get

AwkwardSquad Mon 19-Nov-12 20:19:34

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone on this thread thanks I'm now reasonably sure (as someone self-diagnosing can ever be sure!) that I have gallstones. I will stop trying the pretend-you-don't-notice-it-and-it-will-go-away tactic andgt myself to the GP.

NoWayNoHow Mon 19-Nov-12 18:23:39

Zippy sad

I feel your pain - I'm going through a terrible phase when I get pain no matter what I eat (even if it's veg or fruit - chicken salad yesterday had me doubled over!), and the bloating is so painful and uncomfortable. I'm also constantly nauseous and constantly exhausted and just want to be horizontal all the time.

Also, because of the bloating, none of my clothes fit! I've lost 3lbs in the last 5 days, but I look 4 months pregnant and can't fasten my clothes!

Zippylovesgeorge Mon 19-Nov-12 07:20:56

Advice - do not eat a roast dinner! Was in agony for most of the night - painkillers wouldn't touch it and the tabs from the docs were useless.

Hunted down a wheatbag and managed to position that on the worst pain site and that helped loads.

Off shopping today for chicken breasts/salmon which I can steam each day for me - whilst I cook normally for rest of family sad

Scan can't come soon enough.

NoWayNoHow Sat 17-Nov-12 09:41:41

Have been drinking peppermint tea every couple of days, but if it helps with the bloating, I'm going to make it every single time I boil the kettle! Thanks guys

BambinoBoo Sat 17-Nov-12 09:16:33

I second peppermint tea or capsules. They help get a bit of the wind out.

Zippylovesgeorge Sat 17-Nov-12 08:28:55

NoWay - I do. Am now into drinking peppermint tea which seems to ease things a bit and help with the bloating.

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 23:24:34

Just a quick question...

Do/did any of you suffer with the terrible bloating that comes along with a gallbladder that's not doing what it's supposed to?

I'm really struggling with being so uncomfortable all the time, and not only is it actually a little bit painful, but it's making it difficult to fit into my clothes (which it ironic, as in terms of weight on the scales, I'm actually losing!)

I've tried WindSetlers which don't really work, as well as water balance tablets (although I think this is very much a gas issue!). Anyone got any other ideas?

DottyDot Fri 16-Nov-12 22:04:14


Yes I'm 3 weeks post op and feeling really good! I went back to work this week, my scars are teeny and only one is slightly tender, but nothing terrible at all. The only time now I notice it is at night - not quite 100% comfortable lying on my front, but it's getting better each night!

In terms of recovery it's been by far the easiest compared to other procedures I've had (tonsillectomy, shoulder op, c-section!).

I remember having boiled rice and a bit of turkey last Christmas - having cooked the works for 10! So I'm looking forward to enjoying my Xmas dinner this year (sorry..!). I'm back to eating anything and everything now with no problems at all - sadly not great for the waistband - have already put on a few lbs and need to start being good soon... blush

Hope everyone waiting gets dates through soon!

BambinoBoo Fri 16-Nov-12 21:30:39

poppy my christmas lunch last year was jacket potatoes and beans as I was on the waiting list grin

Zippylovesgeorge Fri 16-Nov-12 17:07:10


Just been told this week that the pains I've been getting are most likely to be gallbladder related sad Have got a date for a US scan next week.

Trying not to think about christmas - though at the moment everything seems to make things hurt and my bottom explode sad

PoppyWearer Fri 16-Nov-12 12:25:57

No Baileys or pigs-in-blankets sad

Christmas aside, the idea that I may never eat a jam doughnut again saddens me. It's not like I used to eat them very often. But not being able to eat one at all...ever? shock

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 12:22:57

The roast potatoes I can live without, but a Christmas without port and cheese and mince pies and Hestons' orange christmas pudding, and my mum's trifle and Celebrations and ... oh, the list is endless!

PoppyWearer Fri 16-Nov-12 12:18:24

Good luck with Christmas Dinner. My DH is cooking ours, fortunately. Although I'll be post-op by then, I don't plan on having the goose-fat-tastic version of the dinner he's planning.

Would a jacket and beans or beans on toast be bad for Christmas lunch? grin

I expect I'll be having a grilled chicken breast and boiled veggies. Ah well.

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 12:02:47

Glad it's soon, and fingers crossed you'll be on the mend for Christmas!

Sorry to hear you had a bad attack - we've got dinner with friends on Saturday, and I've felt so awful about being so picky, but they're being lovely about it which is nice.

Dreading DH's phonecall to MIL about Christmas day dinner, considering that I don't think anything's allowed in their house unless it's been cooked in lard...

PoppyWearer Fri 16-Nov-12 11:49:41

Hi NoWay you must be psychic as I was just browsing MN whilst eating some sushi!

Funnily enough, the letter came through this morning with my op details. I don't want to out myself with specifics, but it's in the next month, so that's good.

I had a bad attack at the weekend after a few good weeks. We went round to family for lunch and I ate things out of politeness that should have been borderline-ok, except I then found out that it had all been fried. Cue a frantic and painful car journey home, as the painkillers in my handbag had run out. Really awful attack.

Since then my diet has been featuring a lot of baked beans and red wine.

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 11:41:21

Poppy do you have a definite date for your op yet? I, like you, am also living on sushi and 70% chocolate!

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