No gallbladder, bile salts, diet, oh my!!

So, I have a dilemma, which I'll mention later, but I weighed today and I'm down 2 lbs! Woohoo! I'm so excited. The plan moving forward is to just weigh weekly. I've been walking the neighborhood anywhere from 45 minutes to 75 minutes daily. Sometime, I break it up and walk some in the morning then some in the evening. It's going to bite once the heat is out of control. Then, I guess I'll be a mall walker because I'm not fond of gyms.

Now, to my dilemma. Since I've been eating a paleo/keto diet I've been having a dull ache behind the left lower ribs, deep inside. It doesn't throb and it's not sharp, it's just dull. I know the spleen and pancreas are over in that area. I have no gallbladder, so I'm wondering if the increase in fat is the culprit. I didn't have this issue until the dietary change.

Next, I've tried betain HCL and digestive bitters with poor results, meaning I wasn't able to tolerate them. I thought to give bile salts a try after reading several articles written by holistic physicians who all say anyone who doesn't have a gallbladder should take bile salts at every mean. I've never heard this before but all of these digestive problems started AFTER I had my gallbladder out. I'm going to post this in the community as well, but if any of you have similar experience and have found relief or know others please kindly share your knowledge! Thanks, Sheri :)


  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    I'm sorry I can't help you, but I have had my gallbladder removed too, and I still get attacks form time to time, just once or twice a year, luckily, but there's no logic to what causes them. Sometimes eggs, but I have also eaten eggs with no ill effect, sometimes too much of certain raw vegetables, once I reacted heavily to a green salad with lime juice. I have increased fat in my diet but that doesn't seem to have made any difference, at least not made it worse. While I still had my gall bladder, I would get attacks from licking a spoon of cake frosting, or a drizzle of butter on vegetables.
  • ilex70
    ilex70 Posts: 727 Member
    edited May 2016
    No gall bladder here and I've read about the bile salts thing too...ox bile I think? Never tried it though.

    I get some upper left pain sometimes...never really associated it with anything particular. If I eat anything really oily/greasy I feel plain nauseous. Between that, and less tolerance for lactose, full fat ice cream and I really aren't friends anymore. I've become a froyo and soft serve gal. Mostly I don't care...sometimes I indulge moderately and just deal.

    Sorry the HCL and bitters didn't work. I've read something about digestive enzymes too FWIW.
  • alisondouglas52
    alisondouglas52 Posts: 5 Member
    i Had my gallbladder out 26 years ago and have never had an issue with eating food. I do take a colon cleanser daily called Herbal fiberblend and a multivitamin, carrot and beet supplement daily. Awesome that you get out walking daily, good luck
  • sherishaw1701
    sherishaw1701 Posts: 8 Member
    Okay, thanks for the responses. Kommodevaran, I have a hard time with some raw veggies, too. Ilex70, I'm lactose intolerant and Alison I eat a small portion of beets as it contains betain. I'm going to research the bile salts over the weekend. :)
  • MissusMoon
    MissusMoon Posts: 1,900 Member
    I would suggest you speak to a doctor. A medical doctor, not a holistic one. Make sure there is nothing else going on. That is who I would take dietary advice from.

    My gall bladder was removed about five years ago and I have no symptoms with any food, but I understand everyone is different in that way.
  • rosecropper
    rosecropper Posts: 340 Member
    Go to a doctor. Possible when you had gallstones that your pancreatic duct was damaged. Or that you high fat diet has raised you triglycerides too much and irritated your pancreas. You do not want pancreatitis. It sucks.
  • HippySkoppy
    HippySkoppy Posts: 727 Member
    Dear OP - firstly with your symptoms you really do need to get the advice of a medical Dr. to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong.

    For what my experience is worth I had my gall bladder removed eons ago (probably 15 years but the memory is a bit vague) after suffering numerous bouts of vomiting and pain.

    Even now if I get upset from eating something that tends to be 'inflammatory' for my system I am going to get symptoms on the right hand upper quadrant NOT the left.

    By the way your pancreas sits behind your stomach and is more to the right hand side of your body so the pain you are experiencing may have nothing to do with that organ. Also totally agree with @rosecropper if you suspect your pancreas is not well don't muck around waiting, pancreatitis (sp) is very serious and need urgent treatment.

    Is it possible that you are experiencing GERD or some kind of acid reflux??? Once again, a definitive diagnosis and treatment would need to be done via a medical Dr.

    I know that for me since having the gall bladder removed it has been a bit hit or miss with reactions to trigger foods, even now after all these years I still have to be careful about the amount of fat I ingest in one sitting and orange juice is right out for me. Other will have their own triggers.

    I wish you all the best.
  • ronjsteele1
    ronjsteele1 Posts: 1,064 Member
    BioGest by Thorne has a good amount of oxbile in it. It's considered one of the better enzymes and the only one my entire family can use. Now Super Enzymes is a cheaper alternative but doesn't seem to work as well for my crew. Both of those would be options to try.
  • versusveritas
    versusveritas Posts: 20 Member
    I had my gallbladder out 20 years ago - I've never taken bile salts nor have I been recommended to take them. I have no real digestive issues except occasional acid reflux. I don't even have trigger foods but I do eat a balanced diet. Please go to a medical doctor before you take these bile salts, naturopaths/holistic "physicians" are snake oil salesmen.

    Congrats on the loss. Good luck on your journey.
  • alyssa0061
    alyssa0061 Posts: 652 Member
    You do not want pancreatitis. It sucks.

    It sucks is the nicest way you can say it. It almost killed me and I won't mess around with pain in that area at all. Straight to the doctor I go. I also had my gallbladder out after my pancreatic levels had regulated back to a normal range. Like others have said, my triggers now are pretty random except the one I can always count on - the seafood sandwich from Subway.
  • AlyM725
    AlyM725 Posts: 158 Member
    Are you constipated? Sometimes constipation can cause pain in that area. Or it could possibly be an ulcer. Definitely talk to your doctor!
  • DanaDark
    DanaDark Posts: 2,186 Member
    Bile salts? Really? >.>

    Okay, the Gall Bladder is designed to store and re-use bile created in the pancreas. Bile is used to emulsify fats, which basically means rip them apart so that it is easier to digest rather than a large chunk of fat.

    Normally, when you eat, fat gets emulsified in the first 8 inches of the intestine, and area called the duodenum. Bile is excreted into here to emulsify fats. Bile should not remain in the duodenum, so it is stored in the gall bladder when no fat is present. If you do not have a gall bladder, it sits there instead, which is bad (Not like omg hospital right now bad... more like long term bad).

    Heavy fiber foods will actually cause the bile to cling to it and go through the system (and out of you) rather than just sit there. This is very very good for people without gall bladders. Incidentally, a key ingredient of bile is cholesterol which is readily available in the blood and liver (both the main sources used for it's creation). This is why high fiber foods (Like Cheerios) claim to reduce cholesterol.

    So... now we know what it does, what it is made of, and where it is located. To clear the duodenum of bile, you'll want to increase your fiber intake and often (every 4-6 hours roughly).

    A higher fat diet signals the pancreas to create more bile for you. Why? Because there is none in the gall bladder (because you don't have one) and the body assumes none is in the duodenum. For me, a higher fat diet wouldn't do this because I have bile stored in my gall bladder.

    So what is possibly happening for you? The extra fat is causing more and more bile to be put into your duodenum, and if you aren't clearing it out via fiber, it is causing irritation and trouble. For me, the bile would just be picked up into my gall bladder and that's that.

    So, solution: More fiber with your fats. Add a stick of celery to each meal. Have a nice salad with plenty of roughage. Reduce the amount of fats you eat in favor of more low-glycemic-indexed carbs.
  • afatpersonwholikesfood
    afatpersonwholikesfood Posts: 577 Member
    I would imagine that your left-side pain is unrelated to your gallbladder, so you may want to talk to your doctor before trying to treat with bile salts or blaming it on diet.

    I don't have a gallbladder. I absolutely know people can have issues after removal, but I am not one of them. I ate a cheeseburger the day after surgery. No weird stuff like diarrhea. Can't tell a difference.