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Why do people gain weight after gallbladder removal?

Updated April 17, 2017

Although there are no solid studies proving weight gain after gall bladder surgery, there does seem to be anecdotal evidence that removing the gall bladder can cause weight gain in some people.

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The function of the gallbladder is to hold bile from the liver until it is needed to help metabolise fats in the intestine. When the gallbladder isn't working correctly or is infected, it can cause pain when stimulated to secrete the bile.


Experts at Intelihealth suggest that weight gain isn't caused by the function of the gallbladder, but because of the increased ability for people to eat fatty foods once again. When eating a fatty meal causes bloating and pain most people begin to avoid trigger foods, often losing weight prior to the removal of the gallbladder. Once the gallbladder is removed normal eating processes return, including the high fat foods, causing weight gain.

Other Considerations

After gallbladder surgery the body metabolises fats differently, causing a myriad of side effects including diarrhoea and constipation. Once the diseased gallbladder is removed, bile is secreted into the small intestines at a slow and steady rate, changing how fats are metabolised and sometimes causing weight gain if there is not enough bile available. Anecdotal evidence from Steady Health suggest that eating smaller meals more frequently can treat this reason for weight gain.


Adding fibre to your diet may help keep your digestive tract moving smoothly and aid in weight loss.

Keep a food diary to see exactly how many calories you are taking in to see how you can tweak your diet to aid in weight loss or stabilisation.


If you gain weight quickly after surgery have your thyroid checked. It's possible that your weight gain has nothing to do with the removal of your gallbladder.

Some people feel better taking bile salts. Consult your physician before adding them to your diet.

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About the Author

Erin Monahan is an author and editor with over 25 years experience. She has written on a variety of topics including celebrity interviews, health reporting and parenting. Her work has appeared in daily newspapers and national magazines, including "Wondertime," and on websites such as Kaboose.com. She was recently named one of the top writers in Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simmons College.

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