Gallbladder issues

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation,

unless you realize that the situation is over,

you cannot move forward.”

Steve Maraboli,


It was 2016; I was rushed to hospital at midnight. I was in agony, being sick,

and having bouts of never ending diarrhoea. I had been reporting my symptoms

weekly for four weeks to my GP who just said they should settle and if they

didn’t to go back and see him. Weekly I did and weekly he did nothing.


It transpired my organ systems in the body were closing down, I had sepsis, a

life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to infection causes

njury to its own tissues and organs. I heard doctor say they had six hours to save me.


When I came to next day, with umpteen doctors round my hospital bed, I was

told what had happened and that it would be best to have my gallbladder removed.

I declined.


2017, at an annual check up I was told it was best to have my gallbladder removed

– again I declined.


2018, a further annual check up – but this time I went prepared. Was it essential

to have my gallbladder removed? Was it true I could live without it as many UK

and American doctors seems to suggest.

The Gallbladder


The gallbladder is a small organ located on the underside of the liver. Its primary purpose is bile storage. The liver makes bile, a substance that helps the body break down and absorb fats. The gallbladder then stores the extra bile the liver makes. It releases bile when you eat a meal with fats that need to be digested.


Symptoms something may be amiss

·        vomiting

·        nausea

·        dark urine

·        lighter-colored stools

·        pain in the right shoulder

·        a yellowish or greenish pigmentation of the whites of the eyes  and the skin

·        having more than 4 bowel movements per day for at least 90 days

·        back pain between the shoulder blades

·        sudden and intensifying pain in the center of the abdomen

·        sudden and intensifying pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen


Surgical procedures

Open gallbladder removal is a surgery to remove the gallbladder via a single, large open incision in the abdomen. It’s also called open cholecystectomy. Doctors perform the procedure to provide permanent relief to a person with gallstones and other problems associated with the gallbladder.

According to the Mayo Clinic, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common type of gallbladder removal surgery performed. It’s a minimally invasive surgery. However, open gallbladder surgeries are still used for a variety of people, especially those who have scar tissue or other anatomical complications from prior abdominal surgeries.


OK – but why this automatic rush to remove the gallbladder? And was what I was being told in fact true? No!

You can survive without a gallbladder, but you are more prone to developing certain health problems.  You are at greater risk of developing a fatty liver, experiencing indigestion and developing deficiencies of essential fatty acids and fat soluble nutrients


And what you won’t be told is that once you have no gallbladder, you become a ticking time bomb that will eventually limit your longevity. You lose your ability to recycle Vitamin K2. (The critical importance of vitamin K2 is due to its link to two widespread ailments: osteoporosis and heart disease, in the form of atherosclerosis (calcification of the arteries). It is well established that vitamin K develops bones during growth by directing calcium where to go in the skeleton and in cells. When we have enough vitamin K it will direct calcium to the bones and teeth and keep it away from the areas where it could do harm, such as the cardiovascular system and soft tissues.)


A European study of more than 8,000 people over the age of 55 found that those with the highest intake of vitamin K2 had a 50% reduction in death by coronary heart disease. (Geleijnse J.M., et al, “Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, The Rotterdam study,” Journal of Nutrition, 143 (11): Nov; 2004)


So gallbladder removal, and its effect on Vitamin K2, sets the stage for the development of heart disease and atherosclerosis….both of which I already have so why would I have my gallbladder removed. No one could answer me.


Most people are under the impression that once their gallbladder is taken out, the pain and discomfort they’ve been living with will be gone.  That can be the case for a while, but not in the long term.  It is common to have just as much discomfort after the gallbladder is removed. People without a gallbladder are more prone to digestive problems and liver problems; they can even form stones within the ducts of the liver. 


So I asked, What happens when you don’t have a gallbladder?


Your liver continues to manufacture bile, but there is no longer a place to store it or concentrate it.  If you eat a fatty meal, you will not be able to secrete a large enough amount of bile into your intestines, therefore the fat will be poorly digested.  This means many people experience diarrhea, bloating, nausea or indigestion.


Not digesting fat well means you will not be able to digest essential fatty acids, including omega 3 and omega 6 fats.  It also means you’ll have a hard time absorbing fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins D, E, A and K.  A lot of the antioxidants in vegetables are fat soluble: lycopene, lutein and carotenoids are all fat soluble.  If you don’t produce adequate bile, you will not adequately absorb these life saving compounds from foods.  If you take any of the above mentioned nutrients in supplement form, without sufficient bile you will not absorb them well.


Some common symptoms of poor fat digestion are dry, brittle hair; dry skin and premature aging of the skin; weak nails and painful joints. Essential fatty acids are important for optimal brain health, therefore low mood, anxiety, depression and impaired cognitive function are all possible manifestations of poor fat digestion.


So would the above get worse without a gallbladder?


All organs, systems and fluids have a particular role to play that is needed, necessary and vital to the functioning of the body. And yet, on occasion, we will be informed by the medical establishment that a certain body part is not necessary, and said organ will not be missed.

Over the years we have been misinformed that we do not need our tonsils, our spleen, our appendix, or our gallbladders. You need the gallbladder to help you digest food.

Gallbladder removals are for a condition that can often be resolved by a change in diet and a gentle flush of the organ. Typically, gallbladders are removed due to gallstones, with cancerous conditions often caused by the offending gallstones. The major foods that trigger a gallstone attack are basically the same foods that can, over time, create gallstones:-  sugar, eggs, milk, cheese, ice cream, caffeine, chocolate, and fried foods.

Without the gallbladder, there is no longer a holding space to store bile. It continuously runs out of the liver, through the hepatic ducts, into the common bile duct, and directly into the small intestine. Now when a high-fat meal is eaten there is not enough bile available to digest it properly. For some people this can result in chronic diarrhea after eating a fatty meal.

Doctors are too quick to remove gallbladders causing unnecessary problems like Bile Salt Malabsorption, a horrendous after effect of removal. Don’t bother having your gallbladder removed just watch how much fat you eat and eat a gallbladder diet. I eat little fat.


Recovery after laparoscopic gallbladder removal is considerably faster than after open surgery. Many patients go home the same day after laparoscopic gallbladder removal. Most patients are able to return to normal activities, including work, within a week or two. Patients also report less pain with a laparoscopic procedure versus open surgery.


A laparoscopic procedure may not be an option if a patient is obese.


Another risk associated with laparoscopy is injury to a bile duct. If the bile duct is injured or cut, it will cause long-term problems for the patient. This may even necessitate an eventual liver transplant.  


It can be discovered during surgery that a gallstone is stuck in a bile duct attached to the gallbladder. Sometimes these gallstones can be removed during the laparoscopy, or it may necessitate another procedure. In addition, gallstones can unintentionally come out of the gallbladder and fall into the abdomen as the gallbladder is being removed. All gallstones should be removed at the time of surgery, and this removal extends the surgery time, increasing the risk of complications.


There are few alternatives to surgery when gallstones are present. Medications are ineffective at stopping new gallstones from forming. Gallstones can’t be eliminated by a change in diet. Ultimately, without treatment, gallstones can lead to a life-threatening emergency if the bile ducts become blocked by a stone.



One of the side effects of gallbladder removal can be the dumping of bile which is now not as easily regulated and can send someone running to the bathroom immediately after eating. A more common side effect is a decrease in the secretion of bile.


Long-term Side Effects


According to "Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology," nearly half of patients experience digestive problems a year following cholecystectomy. – removal of gallbladder.


One of the side effects of gallbladder removal can be the dumping of bile which is now not as easily regulated and can send someone running to the bathroom immediately after eating. A more common side effect is a decrease in the secretion of bile. If the bile produced by the liver becomes thick and sluggish, painful symptoms and bile stones can occur. Bile stones can form in the liver as well as the gallbladder.



Removing the gallbladder may be an absolute medical necessity but, unless it is diseased, ruptured or otherwise sick, know that just having cholelithiasis (stones) or gallbladder stones does not mean you have to take it out. If you have gallbladder attacks, pain or discomfort or digestive problems but not a diseased gallbladder, this does not mean you necessarily have to have gallbladder surgery. Get a second opinion. Is my gallbladder diseased?


You do have an option of cleaning up your diet, doing some work on your gallbladder and liver and keeping your organ free of fat digestion.





Yes you can. The bile will still be produced in the liver and find its way to the small intestine. It will continue to break down your dietary fats and to remove toxins from the liver. What is different is that the bile will no longer be as concentrated (the gallbladder removes 90% of the water from the bile) and its function as a regulator will be gone. Some people have no problem with this at all; others have problems with getting the right amount of bile at the right time, either too much or too little.




Actual attacks on the gallbladder are rare, but other forms of pain and discomfort are possible and new symptoms can also develop.


Another thing to keep in mind is that you could have another gallbladder disease that has not yet been diagnosed. For example, if an ultrasound is done and gallstones found, a cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal will be recommended without doing any further exploration. This is because the most obvious and easily diagnosed cause of gallbladder attacks is gallstones or cholelithiasis.  And ultrasound is quick and non-invasive.


However, if your gallbladder is ejecting bile below 33%-40% which is considered normal range, you would be diagnosed with a low-functioning gallbladder or biliary dyskinesia. This can only be determined with a HIDA scan which is an invasive procedure using radioactive dye. Symptoms of biliary dyskinesia are not always resolved with cholecystectomy either for various known and unknown reasons. One reason is that the problem could be with the Sphincter of Oddi rather than the gallbladder itself.



What is post-cholecystectomy syndrome?


This is the medical term for a recognised collection of symptoms that tend to appear in around 40% of people after removal of gallbladder and stones. People with post-cholecystectomy syndrome often have constant diarrhoea, bloating and wind because of the constant production of bile.


Some people also find they are plagued by nagging abdominal pains. These may be due to surgical adhesions and scarring after removal of gallbladder by open surgery but they can still occur in people who have had laparoscopic surgery. Both forms of operation tend to damage the valve that controls the flow of bile into the intestine and this, and the lining of the intestine near to the point of bile release can become very irritated and inflamed.



Gallbladder removal and cancer risk


There seems to be evidence for a slight increased risk of developing colon cancer in people who have undergone gallbladder removal. This is thought to be connected with continual bile release.


More gallstones after the removal


It is possible for gallstones to recur after gallbladder removal and for the intense pain and discomfort to come back. These symptoms may be from stones forming in the bile duct, but are more likely to be stones that were in the ducts and missed at the time of gallbladder removal. These can be removed in a second operation or they can be dissolved using drugs.


Life after the removal  60 / 40


It is important to remember that most people – 60% of those who have gallbladder removal – do not experience any after effects and live normal and healthy lives. If you do experience discomfort or digestive problems after your removal of gallbladder surgery, it is better to get help and treatment sooner rather than later. But 40% do have problems.





Metaphysical / Spiritual Meaning of Gallbladder Problems

Metaphysically gallbladder problems are to do with the body’s way of releasing emotions that are finished with & no longer needed. Themes to work on are FORGIVENESS and LETTING GO. But this person has a personality type that does not want to let things out let alone go, has a paralysed will, can be timid and wishy-washy.


CRITICAL ANALYSIS is key too; you have a very critical faculty but are you discerning, JUDGING WISELY?

These are rich questions.


Bile (or Gall) is a powerful ‘analytic acid’ secreted by the Liver and stored in the adjoining Gall Bladder for later secretion into the digestive organs.. where it breaks-down (or ‘analyses’) our food. Anytime we are under great stress to ‘analyse’ things accurately in our lives we may experience a sympathetic response in the form of DIGESTIVE-ACID IMBALANCES leading to under or over-acid stomach, indigestion, pain or inflammation of the gall bladder (or the development of ‘gall stones’ in the gall bladder.)


Bile is an extremely aggressive substance that burns fat. Gallbladder problems are always related to aggression, and it is obvious that you are not fully aware of being aggressive and indifferent, therefore, you are unable to release it.


Gallbladder problems usually indicate a suppressed aggression and a blockage of energy, holding on to anger and resentment. The typical choleric person is bilious by nature because they doesn’t consciously negative emotions. Take a conscious look at anything that makes you angry without judging yourself.


The tension the person feels is anger, rage, something that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.


Problems in the gallbladder indicate trouble dealing with feelings and, particularly, clarifying them.” What is my place? Am I being granted recognition for what I do?” The person goes through fits of anger but will not express his feelings. For this reason, he does not get rid of his bile and, instead, he stores it.


The person who suffers from gallbladder problems is someone who feels invaded by someone close and is unable to express his feelings.


People who store anger have chronic tension on their shoulders, neck and arms.

Metaphysical /Spiritual Meaning of Gallstones

Gall Bladder Stores & Concentrates Bile in other words stores bitterness, hard thoughts, resentment, condemnations, pride, arrogance. The person may indeed feel trapped in these emotions or circumstances that cause these emotions and yet are unwilling to let go of the perception of being locked in. They will try to please others but feel bitter (resentful) about it.


In this case, our angry, resentful feelings are now embodied in a stone. You probably feel day on day that coercive forces are at play in your life, things are getting at you.


There is a need to forgive, to let go, to open up to life in all its beauty and leave the past behind. You have to think about your relational issues and the limits they impose on you.


Any aspect that we encounter on the outside makes us react internally, enables us to learn, grow and mature. In this way, life itself becomes our partner. Open up to this potential and release old problems and patterns.

What to do


Learn to let go of your bitterness, anger, resentment, hard thoughts, condemnations, arrogance.


Our typical ways of dealing with what irks us, with our strong emotions such as anger and resentment are to


  1. pretend everything is ok, stuck in the illusion that the cause has been sorted out, pretend it has gone away ie we don’t deal with it

  2. follow a very aggressive path, playing a sport like punching boxing bags, play rugby or even hit someone.

  3. follow a softer, compassionate path and cry our hearts out, thus becoming completely aware of our feelings, entering genuine forgiveness


The first solution does not solve anything and makes the person accumulate anger, something that could cause problems later eg health issues

The second solution resolves the effect but not the cause, and makes the person increasingly more dependent on that violent activity, which gives him the illusion of emptying his aggressiveness. What the person does not realise is that his aggressiveness is being nurtured, and, for this reason, growing.

The third solution resolves the cause. The person empties his anger through awareness and observation of himself, becoming more genuine and assertive. The propensity for anger diminishes.


The holistic recommendation is ACCURATE ANALYSIS OF THE STRESSES WE ARE UNDER. Often these will be found to be relationships or situations in which we have failed to be properly CRITICA ie DISCERNING... allowing less than honest opinions to be expressed, and thereby damaging our sense of FAIRNESS.


Learning to honestly express one’s critical opinions and fully and honestly vent one’s feelings is recommended.


Notice the themes 


Other things to do


A slowed digestive system does not move bile out of the gallbladder as it should .Being sedentary increases your risk of a variety of health problems and it slows down your digestive system. Be active ….stay active. Every hour rise, move, do some arm workouts, shake your legs, just get as much exercise as you can.


Lose Weight

Being overweight or obese may make you more likely to develop all sorts of health conditions, especially to do with your gallbladder and gallstones. On the other hand, losing weight in a short amount of time may also raise your chances of forming gallstones and gout. Know what should be your best weight to aim for and slowly get there…through eating a little less each meal, doing a ketogenic approach to eating (low carb healthy fat – LCHF), intermittent fasting, and moving as much as you can.


Dietary fibre is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants (grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and legumes). Eating fibre-rich foods can help you lose weight as well as it may prevent this condition.

Foods rich in dietary fibre and appropriate to ketogenic eating include – red kidney beans, chickpeas, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, navy beans, pinto beans, green peas, sweet potatoes, yams, radishes, bell pepper, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, apples, pears, pineapples, papayas, mangoes, turnips, celery, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, onions, garlic, and carrots (in moderation).