5 Reasons For Weight Gain After Gallbladder Removal - Gallbladder Attack (2023)

For many, cholecystectomy, or removal of the gallbladder, is the only promise of relief from all gallbladder pain and problems. This makes the procedure one of the most frequently performed operations. With the development of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the decision to do so has become even easier. Due to its less invasive nature, healing and recovery times are much quicker, with most patients leaving the hospital and returning to their normal lives in no time. But just when they think all their worries are over, many face a new type of challenge: weight gain after gallbladder removal.

5 Reasons For Weight Gain After Gallbladder Removal - Gallbladder Attack (1)

Weight gain after gallbladder removal

The fear of gaining a few kilos is widespread, especially during the New Year holidays. Unfortunately, many people with gallbladder problems, including those who have had a cholecystectomy, struggle year-round with weight gain after gallbladder removal. You could be one of many waiting to know why. Some causes are directly related to the surgery, while others are less simple. To help you understand the problem of weight gain during recovery from gallbladder surgery or even long after the procedure, we have researched and listed five possible causes of weight gain after gallbladder removal.

  1. metabolic changes
  2. Faulty lipid metabolism and digestion
  3. Diet
  4. inflammation
  5. insulin resistance

metabolic changes

Although surgical removal of the gallbladder is not as disabling as the removal of other organs, its absence can still have a significant impact on our body. There are numerous postoperative changes that alter the body's metabolic and digestive processes and result in weight gain after gallbladder removal.

In some animal studies, cholecystectomy has been shown to cause elevated blood and liver triglyceride levels and the production of VLDL (bad cholesterol). It also increases bile acid recirculation rates, resulting in increased tissue exposure to bile acids. This affects energy balance, body weight, glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. Removal of the gallbladder further increases the secretion rates of bile acids and cholesterol. These changes in the body suggest that people who have had their gallbladder removed are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome and other complications, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and fatty deposits in the liver.

Faulty lipid metabolism and digestion

When the gallbladder is not working properly, the quality of the bile produced and circulated is significantly affected. It can get too thick or turn into mucus and cause stagnation. Over time, this can lead to gallstones, which can make it difficult for the gallbladder to empty. When this happens, the body fails to absorb much-needed fats and fat-soluble vitamins. To deal with less fat, our body goes into starvation mode and preserves and retains the fat it already has. This can be a reason for weight gain in people with gallbladder problems.

For those who have had a cholecystectomy, the body still undergoes drastic changes. Without the regulatory function of the gallbladder, bile is released slowly and steadily into the small intestine. The bile produced by the body may be insufficient in quantity or too diluted to do its job efficiently, leading to poor digestion and poor fat metabolism. In addition to weight gain, this can also manifest itself in the form of diarrhea or constipation.


Diet plays an important role when it comes to weight control. Regardless of whether a person has gallbladder problems or not, eating much more than what their body needs will definitely lead to weight gain. This is common in patients who have had their gallbladder removed. In a study of cholecystectomy patients, 75% of patients gained weight just a few months after surgery. In other studies, they found that women were more likely to gain weight after gallbladder removal.

Here are some assumptions from research as to why this is happening:

  1. Patients tend to make efforts to lose weight in preparation for surgery and fail to maintain weight loss once the initial goal has been achieved.
  2. At the beginning, many of the operated patients were overweight.
  3. Patients could not restrict themselves to a healthy diet and consume unhealthy fats as they used to. Many patients also eat high-fat foods that they previously could not eat due to gallbladder problems. They end up eating more calories than they need. This attitude can be caused by the idea that removing your gallbladder will solve all your problems. However, this is not the case.


Although inflammation is not a direct result of gallbladder removal, it is still a common cause of weight gain in patients who have had a cholecystectomy. There are many ways that inflammation can disrupt homeostasis, or the normal balance of our bodies, as evidenced by numerous studies linking chronic inflammation to weight gain.

Inflammation makes leptin, the "weight control hormone," less effective. This hormonal imbalance affects our hypothalamus, increasing our appetite and slowing down our metabolism. Inflammation in the gut also causes irregular appetite and increased sugar cravings. Inflammatory cytokines released by fat cells also cause weight gain.

sources of ignition

There are many possible causes of inflammation, not the kind that hurts, but the kind that makes you tired or depressed and makes you more prone to weight gain:

1. Diet

Gallbladder problems can be a sign that there are nutritional issues that need to be addressed. This can be caused by food allergens, too many carbohydrates, bad cholesterol, or sugar.

2. Leaky Gut

When someone has leaky gut syndrome, the walls of the small intestine become inflamed and irritated, allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream and be stored in our cells. Leaky gut is also known to be the cause of many gallbladder diseases.

3. Stress

Stress triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol. This increases the "fight-or-flight" response, but can disrupt metabolism and insulin levels if cortisol levels remain high for long periods of time. Stress also plays a role in chronic inflammation and our immune system.

4. Hormonal changes and menopause

In addition to the fact that gallbladder problems often occur during perimenopause or later in life, hormonal changes also contribute to weight gain after gallbladder surgery through their role in chronic inflammation. Studies show that a decrease in estrogen is associated with an increase in inflammation-causing cytokines in the body. Cytokines play a critical role in supporting cell-to-cell communication during immune responses, but pro-inflammatory cytokines can also stimulate cell movement to sites of trauma or infection.

insulin resistance

5 Reasons For Weight Gain After Gallbladder Removal - Gallbladder Attack (2)Insulin resistance can be listed as one of the causes of inflammation. However, its prevalence (more than 80 million Americans have it) and the myriad complications it can cause require it to be listed as a separate issue that everyone should be aware of. Similar to inflammation, this is not directly caused by a cholecystectomy, but is a very common condition that can develop in the same high-risk group as gallbladder disease, probably because insulin resistance is one of the causes of gallstone formation.

Insulin resistance is a precursor to the development of type 2 diabetes and is most commonly associated with fatigue and weight gain. It's a condition in which the body's cells don't respond normally to the hormone insulin, which helps absorb glucose from the bloodstream. This leads to a build-up of sugar in the blood. High insulin levels can create feelings of lethargy and satisfy sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Insulin resistance can cause not only weight gain but also localized areas of fat growth.

In addition to the obesity threat posed by this condition, studies show that insulin-resistant women are also at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, breast cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

How to avoid weight gain after gallbladder surgery

When we look at the various causes of weight gain, we can see that the common solution is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle after gallbladder removal. Dietary habits, daily habits (including rest and exercise), and general nutrition after gallbladder surgery can greatly affect postoperative recovery and quality of life. Here are some ways you can avoid the dreaded weight gain:

  • Eat well and watch out for possible vitamin deficiencies.
  • Reduce inflammation with supplements and avoid pro-inflammatory foods
  • Take supplements that improve fat digestion
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Make sure you incorporate moderate exercise into your daily routine.
  • Check your blood sugar level

5 Reasons For Weight Gain After Gallbladder Removal - Gallbladder Attack (3)Eating right means many things: It means eating in moderation, eating on time, and eating the right things. To lose weight, many resort to starvation and skipping meals, only to overeat a few hours or days later. However, our body doesn't work that way. Usually this only leads to weight fluctuations or rapid weight loss and subsequent weight gain. Moderation is always the key. But of course eating wrong in moderation won't do you any good. If your preoperative diet has been designed to prevent gallbladder attacks, you should treat your missing gallbladder as a condition that requires just as much care as it did before its removal. This is always the case, but even more so in the first few months after gallbladder surgery.

It also means being aware of your blood sugar levels and keeping them in balance by not letting them go too low or too high. Have your doctor check your blood sugar levels. Simply put, to balance your blood sugar you must avoid eating sugar or refined carbohydrates and eat small, frequent meals.

Make sure you have all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Some might think that eating less would automatically lead to weight loss, but deficiencies in some vitamins and minerals actually contribute to weight gain. Low levels of iron, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 can disrupt your metabolism, decrease your energy, and weaken your immune system. Stay away from processed foods high in sodium, cholesterol and sugar. Fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, few grains and lean proteins can provide us with the necessary daily dose of vitamins.

Also, given the role of inflammation in weight gain, you should strive to avoid any foods or activities that worsen or trigger inflammation. Watch out for common food allergens like gluten, dairy, soy, and peanuts. Triggering allergies causes a number of problems in addition to weight gain. Include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet like beets, fresh or dried turmeric root, coconut oil, chia seeds, and more. You can never go wrong with a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.

recommended supplements

To break down fats and aid in digestion, dietary supplementsBile salts with taurine and cholinethey are highly recommended. These, along with proper diet and exercise, will help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight.

Speaking of exercise, it's best to consult a professional about the type and intensity of exercise program you should undertake. What many people don't realize is that exercise can do you more harm than good. For one thing, research shows that people who put too much stress on their bodies can negate the positive effects of exercise. Second, instead of increasing the happy hormones, the wrong kind of exercise can increase cortisol levels and contribute to stress and weight gain. When you're trying to control your stress levels, a spike like this is the last thing you need.Adaptogenic Herbs, as well as fermented B vitamins,both carry stress. To attemptmaximum voltage Bfor stress relief.

The final piece of advice for those concerned about weight gain after gallbladder removal is to monitor your blood sugar. Some patients still gain weight or have cravings after trying to control their food intake and exercise. This could be due to your blood sugar levels. To make sure you don't have insulin resistance or diabetes, get the tests you need. Natural products like chromium picolinate, banana, and turmeric have been shown to help control blood sugar levels. We've also created a dietary supplement specifically designed for those struggling with weight control, insulin resistance and other metabolic issues - we call itmetabolic symmetry🇧🇷 It is recommended for everyday use.


Ali R.B., Cahill R.A. and Watson R.G.K. (2004). Weight gain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 173(1), 9-12.

Amigo, L., Husche, C., Zanlungo, S., Lütjohann, D., Arrese, M., Miquel, J.F., … & Nervi, F. (2011). Cholecystectomy increases hepatic triglyceride content and very low-density lipoprotein production in mice. Liver International, 31(1), 52-64.

Cortés, V., Amigo, L., Zanlungo, S., Galgani, J., Robledo, F., Arrese, M., … & Nervi, F. (2015). Metabolic effects of cholecystectomy: Gallbladder ablation increases basal metabolic rate through G protein-coupled bile acid receptor-dependent mechanisms in mice. Plos one, 10(3), e0118478.

Houghton, P.W., Donaldson, L.A., Jenkinson, LR, and Crumplin, M.K. (1984). Weight gain after cholecystectomy. British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 289 (6455), 1350.

Kwan, RMF and Mir, MA (1985). Weight gain after cholecystectomy. British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 290 (6463), 243.


Why am I gaining weight after having my gallbladder removed? ›

Post-surgery, your body acclimates to changes brought about by gallbladder removal, it impacts how the digestive system process food. In few cases, this prompts weight gain. The body will be unable to digest fat and sugar productively.

Does a gallbladder attack cause weight gain? ›

Constipation and weight gain can also be symptoms of gallbladder problems, though these are not usually as relatable to fat intake. Also called acalculous cholecystopathy, biliary dyskinesia is a disease or condition of the gallbladder that occurs without the presence of gallstones.

Does gallbladder removal affect metabolism? ›

Thus, rather than being an innocuous procedure, cholecystectomy may have a major impact on an individual's overall metabolic regulation and health status. The propensity for cholecystectomized patients to be affected by metabolic disorders suggests that this risk should be discussed during preoperative counselling.

Can lack of bile cause weight gain? ›

Bile acid deficiency that leads to fat malabsorption may cause weight loss if you have trouble digesting enough calories. In other cases, bile acid malabsorption causes weight gain. This seems to be related to metabolism.

Why did my stomach get bigger? ›

If you eat too much and exercise too little, you're likely to carry excess weight — including belly fat. Also, your muscle mass might diminish slightly with age, while fat increases.

Can liver issues cause weight gain? ›

Overburdened Liver Slows Down Metabolism

When the liver is overburdened and consequently unable to metabolise nutrients and fats properly it slows down metabolism leading to more serious health issues as well as weight gain and lethargy.

Can gallbladder problems cause your stomach to swell? ›

If you do have gallbladder disease, you may experience symptoms of gallbladder disease such as abdominal distension and bloating, as your gallbladder is likely inflamed.

Why is my stomach bigger after gallbladder surgery? ›

It stores bile, a digestive fluid that helps break down fat in the food you eat. When the gallbladder is removed, the bile that was stored in the organ is no longer available to your body. As a result, the body needs to find another way to break down fat, which can lead to an increase in stomach size.

Can you get a fatty liver after gallbladder removal? ›

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with having undergone cholecystectomy, but not with the presence of gallstones, according to recent results.

Does removal of gallbladder affect fat digestion? ›

Normally, the gallbladder collects and concentrates bile, releasing it when you eat to aid the digestion of fat. When the gallbladder is removed, bile is less concentrated and drains more continuously into the intestines, where it can have a laxative effect. The amount of fat you eat at one time also plays a role.

What supplements should I take if I don't have a gallbladder? ›

Take an ox bile supplement. This is the most important recommendation for people who have lost their gallbladder. A lack of bile can produce symptoms such as bloating and indigestion after meals, light colored stools, diarrhea, fatigue after meals and nutrient deficiencies.

How can I stop gaining weight? ›

Get Moving! In addition to a healthy eating plan, an active lifestyle will help you maintain your weight. Regular physical activity can reduce your risk for many chronic diseases and help keep your body healthy and strong. This makes it more likely you'll maintain your weight.

What are the long term effects of having your gallbladder removed? ›

Gall bladder removal does not cause any serious long-term problems, although you may experience some common minor side effects such as: Diarrhoea. Flatulence. Short-term constipation.

Can bile make you gain weight? ›

These excess toxins are stored in the adipose tissues as a protective mechanism when they cannot be safely eliminated through the bile and stools. This increases the size of adipose cells as these cells store more toxins and this can lead to weight gain.

What are signs of lack of bile? ›

People who don't produce and store enough bile salts, possibly because they've had their gallbladder removed, can experience:
  • diarrhea.
  • trapped gas.
  • bad-smelling gas.
  • stomach cramps.
  • erratic bowel movements.
  • weight loss.
  • pale-colored stools.

How do you know if your body is not producing bile? ›

Cholestasis is reduction or stoppage of bile flow. Bile is the digestive fluid produced by the liver. Disorders of the liver, bile duct, or pancreas can cause cholestasis. The skin and whites of the eyes look yellow, the skin itches, urine is dark, and stools may become light-colored and smell foul.

Why am I so bloated I look pregnant? ›

It might be as simple as eating too much too fast, or you could have a food intolerance or other condition that causes gas and digestive contents to build up. Your menstrual cycle is another common cause of temporary bloating. Sometimes a bloated stomach can indicate a more serious medical condition.

Why do older women's stomachs stick out? ›

Getting older

A person's body composition changes as they age, which can lead to a belly bulge. For females, the decrease in the hormone estrogen during menopause triggers an accumulation of body fat.

Why is my stomach so big and hard? ›

When your stomach swells and feels hard, the explanation might be as simple as overeating or drinking carbonated drinks, which is easy to remedy. Other causes may be more serious, such as an inflammatory bowel disease. Sometimes the accumulated gas from drinking a soda too quickly can result in a hard stomach.

Why am I suddenly gaining weight? ›

It's often due to fluid retention, abnormal growths, constipation, or pregnancy. Unintentional weight gain can be periodic, continuous, or rapid. Periodic unintentional weight gain includes regular fluctuations in weight. One example of unintentional weight gain is experienced during a woman's menstrual cycle.

Does liver cause big belly? ›

Ascites from liver disease often occurs with other liver disease symptoms, such as portal hypertension. Symptoms of ascites may include a swollen belly. This causes mild pain and shortness of breath.

What are the 3 signs of a fatty liver? ›

  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin's surface.
  • Enlarged spleen.
  • Red palms.
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
Sep 22, 2021

What happens when bile leaks into the body? ›

Bile leakage

Symptoms of a bile leak include tummy pain, feeling sick, a fever and a swollen tummy. Sometimes this fluid can be drained off. Occasionally, an operation is required to drain the bile and wash out the inside of your tummy. Bile leakage occurs in around 1% of cases.

Can gallbladder removal cause liver problems? ›

Results: Of the 4,497 included participants, cholecystectomy was associated with 60.0% higher risk of liver fibrosis (OR:1.600;95% CI:1.278–2.002), and 73.3% higher risk of liver cirrhosis (OR:1.733, 95% CI:1.076–2.792).

Can stress cause gallbladder problems? ›

Stress-induced inhibition of gall bladder emptying could affect energy assimilation such that subordinate animals would not be able to effectively convert energy-rich food into mass gain. These results parallel changes in gall bladder function preceding cholesterol gallstone formation in humans and other mammals.

Do gallstones make you bloated? ›

In fact, bloating and fullness are common symptoms that may be related to gallstones and unassociated with pain. However, bloating and fullness may occur for other reasons. If that is the case, treatment of the gallstones will not lead to relief of the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a low functioning gallbladder? ›

Symptoms of chronic gallbladder disease include complaints of gas, nausea and abdominal discomfort after meals and chronic diarrhea. Stones lodged in the common bile duct can cause symptoms that are similar to those produced by stones that lodge in the gallbladder, but they may also cause: Jaundice.


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