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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.

BambinoBoo Mon 06-Aug-12 20:32:44

I waited for 6 months to have my gallbladder removed as i had a stone stuck in my bile duct and that had to be diagnosed then dealt with first. During that time, my diet was

Breakfast. Rice krispies and skimmed milk
Lunch lentil soup and rice cakes
Dinner jacket potato and beans.
Lots of water.

Every day, including through Christmas. sad . I did however, get lots of carbs which I think stopped me losing weight too quickly. I was losing 4lb per week at one point.

I couldn't tolerate anything. Absolutely no butter, cream, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, cheese, coffee or alcohol. I couldn't tolerate any fish or meat either but many can. If you do, stick with steamed cod or chicken or turkey. I hope you get your op soon as it really is a hideous illness. It's been 3 months since my bile duct was cleared and I had my gallbladder out and I feel like a totally different person. I can eat anything now too!

Also, keep an eye on your wee and skin. Sounds mad but if your wee goes brown and/or you notice a yellow tinge to your skin or eyes, get to a&e. It is a sign of a blocked duct.

chocaholic73 Mon 06-Aug-12 20:49:55

Hi Bambino - fortunately I don't need to be as rigid as you. The attack was triggered by some exceptionally high fat food - garlic bread, magnum etc all within a few hours!

pictish Mon 06-Aug-12 20:55:07

I am suffering a bout of delightful biliary colic as I speak. I've had three days of pain on and off, and am also waiting for a date for removal.

I have meds coming out of my ears. Man this is ghastly!

chocaholic73 Mon 06-Aug-12 20:57:02

you have my sympathy pictish. I think it the most horrendous pain ever ...worse than childbirth, toothache etc

Eating fat triggers a hormones that causes your gall bladder to contract. Therefore ideally you should avoid all fat, but you will know how much you can eat before the pain starts.

Eating high cholesterol foods can also result in the formation of cholesterol gallstones which is obviously not what you want.

pictish Mon 06-Aug-12 20:59:59

It's fucking miserable isn't it?

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:00:09

OH Thank you all for being there,
I am verging on tears all the time at the moment. Had my first attack 10 days ago, and the inflammation will not go down. It is agony.
Am counting the minutes to my next pain killers, which are not working well.
Really horrid.

To answer the question I have just had some home made butternut squash soup. Roasted the squash, no oil, just thyme, salt and pepper. Chicken stock, fat skimmed off, some left over veg. It was good and seems to have digested Ok, but we will see when I lie down, and cant sleep again tonight.

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:04:02

Oh and the joy of side effects from codeine. Constipation resulting in being admitted back in to A&E...

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:06:53

oh, i feel for you all - chocoholic, you really do need to be quite rigid if you want to avoid attacks. I was hospitalised three times before my operation. It got to the point where i had to go ZERO fat! i lost four stone (i was breast feeding - absolutely nightmare and i had to give up sad ) in about six weeks shock. God i was so ill! When you eat a fatty meal the gall bladder contracts to push bile through the bile duct, into the stomach (via the duodenum, i think, cant remember) So any fat will aggravate if your gall bladder is inflammed. It will also cause the stones to move (its worse if you have small stones) and cause pain, but then of course it leads to inflammation, the cycle starts all over. It was awful, i remember my MIL trying to force fat on me on boxing day, i just coudlnt eat any fat (not even chicken/turkey) so i just had veggies, my MIL bless her kept offerin me things like sausage rolls (yeah, cos they dont have fat in them do they hmm) as an alternative. It was quite upsetting actually as i was starving but knew if i ate id end up in agony.

Walking about during an attack (if you can) helps, also i used to get my DP to rub my back. Oh god, it was agony, worse than childbirth, much much worse sad

Good news is, once they take the bastard thing out, you can eat normally - less good news, i put all of the four stone back on.

DottyDot Mon 06-Aug-12 21:07:47

Hi there - I'm in gallstones hell too... Had my first episode in December which landed me in A&E - I had no idea what it was and thought I was having a heart attack. A scan showed I had 'sludge' and was referred to a surgeon but this all took until May and I hadn't had any more attacks and had started to introduce fat back into my diet.

Second episode happened a few weeks ago and I ended up in A&E again... sad. So now I've got an appointment with the surgeon in 2 weeks' time (finally!) and hopefully will then get on the waiting list to have my gallbladder out. I know it'll be another few months so I'm being fat free/low fat all the time now - definitely lesson learned!

I'm sticking to less than 5g per 100g fat but am not losing weight - I've lost 2 stone over the past year and don't seem to be able to get below what I am anyway. I'm also making up for the lack of fat by inhaling Haribo and red wine.

I'm also Coeliac so most carbs are out for me anyway - I should be like a twig! grin

One thing I'm noticing at the moment is a pretty much constant dull ache under my ribs - not anywhere near an actual attack, but an aching that's very annoying... Does anyone else have this?

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:08:28

fuck the codeine, get your doctors to prescribe tramadol (its morphine based so i coculdnt have it as i was breast feeding) but this is an industrial strength pain killer which i i did have when they removed the gallbladder and i had complications and it really worked.

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:12:40

Dotty thats normal, probably just where your gall bladder is inflammed. Gallstones are notorious for giving weird symptoms - i used to get pain under my ribs, in the centre of my stomach, pain all around my stomach like someone is tightening a belt around me, i too thought i was haivng a heart attack, it was hurting so much i could not breathe. I was in so much pain that i was writhing naked on my bed when the paramedics came and i didnt give a shit! Id get pain in my back, it felt like someone was trying to insert a ruler between my vetebrae. Horrible just horrible. I hope you ladies get your ops really soon. I called them and told them i was willing to go on standby as it was getting ridiculous, attacks at least once a week - i enquired about going private i was in so much pain but didnt have the £4,000 they wanted to charge me sad

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:13:34

Oh and sickness, horrible sickness - i puked in my GPs sink, he gave me an injection in my bottom grin

DottyDot Mon 06-Aug-12 21:14:51

Thanks - that's strangely reassuring smile The attacks themselves were the most terrible pain I've ever experienced. I passed out at one point and the paramedic couldn't give me any morphine because my blood pressure had dropped to 70/40 shock. Really never want to experience that again and am definitely also going to say I'll have the operation anytime - I'm betting on a Christmas Eve/Day slot grin

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:17:03

Peirpressure - remember you can alternate paracetemol and ibruprofen, that way you are only ever two hours from taking SOMETHING, i know what its like to be counting the minutes sad

lisad123 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:20:18

It was recommended I avoid things that are harder to digest, so apple skins, potato skins and oats ect

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:35:33

Thanks all for your advice re drugs,
am a bit stuck as I take a big anti inflammatory for another condition, which does really work, but only from 7am when I take it until 3 ish, the nights are so awful, thanks for reccommending tramadol, but I cant tolerate it, it makes me a bit weird, and I just sleep all the next day, although thinking about it I have some left over from sciatica, so if I get desperate...
I have been being so good about my diet,and the inflammation is still very much there.
Has anyone else had an attack for this long, 12 days now?

DottyDot Mon 06-Aug-12 21:39:27

No - my actual attacks have only lasted a few hours, although this dull kind of ache is a new one and has lasted a few days now - not bad enough to take loads of drugs, but annoying enough to feel winded/like I've been bruised.

Hope you get some relief soon.

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:39:45

That is a long time peir - it sounds like your gall bladder is infected and you might need some antibiotics, this happened to me once but i dont think it was that long. Id go to the GP in the morning, get yourself sorted out x

I sympathise with anyone suffering from this sort of pain as it is truly ghastly sad

providing there is no infection, have any of you tried applying a hot water bottle? I used to have two on the go (one on the front one on my back)

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:56:47

Oh yes it is infected, have been in hospital with antibiotics, now on my 2nd round and it still won't stop being irritated.

It is a comfort hearing from others though.

letticepetticoat Mon 06-Aug-12 22:57:54

Also been there! Agonising pancreatitis and then a 2 month wait when I had to stay under 3% fat but still got flare ups. Hope you get good treatment and feel better very soon

Cheesy peeps that sounds awful sad

I ended up being admitted when I had my last attack, after 5 days of back and forth, being given anti-sickness jabs, morphine etc etc. Just could not stop puking and fecking hell it hurt

Because it was so bad, on the fifth day they kept me in, filled me up with anti-biotics and did the op after a week

Hope you get sorted out soon

MadgeHarvey Mon 06-Aug-12 23:14:24

Also going through this right now - seems any amount of fat sends me right into one. Shared a meal with my son tonight containing less than a tsp of olive oil and I'm right back in hell. Co-dydramol not even touching it. I had no idea how unpleasant this whole thing was before now! Thankfully have private healthcare through DH work and hopefully seeing a consultant this week. My heartfelt sympathies to all of you with this right now and wishes for a speedy recovery

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