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Gallstones and low fat diets

(112 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.

DottyDot Sat 22-Sep-12 18:38:31

Yes - go as no fat as you can... I'm waiting for my op date - about 12 weeks to go, hopefully.

I started having pains a few days ago in the evening - took 2 x cocodamol and 2 x buscopan and went to bed! Fortunately it eased off so I carry tablets around with me everywhere just in case.

Deep joy. Sadly, I'm not even losing any weight as I'm making up for it by eating way too many Haribo and drinking red wine... blush

NoWayNoHow Sat 22-Sep-12 19:04:43

Yes, I've already stocked up on Dulcolax and dried fruit!

DH is KICKING himself - he's had the opportunity to sort out private health through his work but has been sitting on it for the last 3 months procrastinating.

NoWayNoHow Sat 22-Sep-12 19:07:00

Dotty I can't tell you how pleased I am to read about Haribos and red wine! Will try a small amount of the latter tonight (I know it's fine for some, but not for others, just depends on the individual - hoping I'm one for whom it's fine!!)

Will definitely be stocking up on Haribos and strawberry laces I promise I'm not 5 years old

I am the kind of person who just needs a taste of something sweet if possible.

Has anyone tried really, really, really high % dark chocolate?

MadgeHarvey Sat 22-Sep-12 20:01:05

Don't be worrying about losing weight - after the op it'll fall off you! Trust me on this one! I forgot about the buscopan - they gave me that after the op in the hospital but I didn't realise I had it till I got home! Kind of wondered what it was for!
I think I have tried that chocolate NoWay - but it's very bitter isn't it? Is that the one? I've kind of given up on sweets - for me it would be too easy to not eat properly but stuff myself with candy all day long so it's a total zero regime here. I'm quite liking this losing weight thing since I seem to have achieved quite a bit with no real effort. After the op I just had no appetite and it's still really patchy so I am making the most of that!

DottyDot Sat 22-Sep-12 22:58:14

Mine are sore tonight - might have to take some tablets. But yes, I'm sticking to things under 5g of fat per 100g and that includes wine, gin and most Haribo! grin. I have to be gluten-free as well as I'm coeliac, so I have to get my pleasure from somewhere..!

Ooh - and flying saucers - fat-free grin

madasamarchhare Sun 23-Sep-12 08:07:55

Iam in the early stages of diagnosis still waiting for a scan. I notice the pain is bad when ive eaten fatty foods so am being careful with what I choose. But I find the pain is often a full ache in the day but a severe pain at night. Why is this?

NoWayNoHow Sun 23-Sep-12 08:51:55

madasamachhare I've heard other people saying it's worse at night for them. I definitely find the pain worse when I'm lying down on my back, so maybe it's less to do with the time of day and more to do with the position of sleeping?

Someone advised lying on your left hand side to ease the pain and help any stones pass, and I found that a very comfortable position to sleep in when I tried last night...

MadgeHarvey Sun 23-Sep-12 09:19:33

It's an interesting question - I too found it bad at night and I never did get round to asking anyone why. I wonder though - maybe it's because you're just lying there with nothing much else going on around you so you concentrate more on the pain. With nothing to distract from it I suppose it becomes one constant annoying thing. I also found it very helpful to sleep with loads of pillows behind me - almost 3/4 sitting up so it might be worth you trying that?

DottyDot Sun 23-Sep-12 09:40:40

Terrible night last night for me. Bit sore when I went to bed but then full blown attack at 4am. sad. More tablets took the edge off a bit but the pain was unbelievable. I have to sit through most of it, hunched over bit yes, lying down on my left hand side is the only position I can lie down in.

Just want my op date! Feeling very sorry for myself this morning...

nipersvest Sun 23-Sep-12 09:48:48

those suffering, you have my sympathies, dh was a gallstone sufferer until he had the op last christmas which ended years of pain. he found co-codomol didn't work for him so used co-dydramol instead. you'd have to get it on prescription though. the over the counter version, which wasn't quite as strong but still worked better than co-codomol was paramol.

DottyDot Sun 23-Sep-12 09:57:15

Thanks nipersvest might go to the gp to beg for a prescription. My brother gets kidney stones from time and time and had a stock of morphine tablets, which I was coveting last night..!

NoWayNoHow Sun 23-Sep-12 11:48:28

Sorry to hear about your bad night Dotty sad

I agree, it's really important to find a painkiller that works for you personally - sauce for the goose is not always sauce for the gander.

E.g. my body can't handle Tramadol, it makes me extremely nauseous. Co-dydramol makes me very light-headed, and co-codamol hits the pain hardest without making me too woozy (although all the above make me more woozy than I would like)

Unfortunately, because I had gastritis about 6 years ago, I can no longer take anything anti-inflammatory, so I have no happy medium between paracetemol (which does NOTHING for the level of pain I experience) and codeine-based drugs.

The last thing I want is to add another stomach ulcer to my list of ailments.

I'm also in that time of the month, so the poor cocodamol is trying to nuke gallstones and period pains all at the same time!! No chance...

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sun 23-Sep-12 13:21:04

Sounds like loads of you are having/have had a dreadful time.
I've been having random attacks for about 13 years, was told it was definitely gallstones 6 years ago. I've only had about one a year in the last few years, and always felt the incidence, for me, was more stress than diet related.

Last attack was a week ago, and it had me worried as it lingered for several hours once the main attack had passed. I was left with an aching right shoulder and feeling like I'd been punched in the solar plexus. NHS Direct said I had to go to A&E, where I was given Buscopone muscle relaxant for IBS relief(!)

I've always hoped to avoid the op, as my mother had it and found it really hard to recover from, plus she still has to watch her diet. But now I'm thinking i should at least get a scan to see what's going on.

Just wondering what any of you would advise, really - I'm definitely not suffering in comparison to what could be, but I still have this vaguely tense feeling in my diaphragm, which makes me anxious about eating. And obviously an attack is an attack, and hideous, so to be avoided if poss.

I probably should have the op, shouldn't I?

MadgeHarvey Sun 23-Sep-12 13:56:03

The thing is shotgun - gallstones don't go away by themselves so I'd say you are going to have to face the op sooner or later. That being the case I'd recommend just getting it over with. I don't know how old you are but I'm sure it's easier to get over surgery say in your 40's than your 50's (me) but I could be wrong! I've had a crap time getting over it and it's not done with yet - still having pain which I'm told is adhesions. It's no fun! So yes - my opinion is get it done and over with. Best of luck with it all

DottyDot Sun 23-Sep-12 14:26:38

I'd agree the sooner the better. I'll have waited over a year from my first attack to op and that's with chasing for a scan, referral etc. you never know when the next attack will be and even going low fat doesn't guarantee no attacks - I've eaten nothing with more than 5g per 100g since July and still had a really bad night last night.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sun 23-Sep-12 14:33:03

I'm 49 Madge. That's a good point about the recovery; I'm sure I'd find it much easier at 50 than 60 or 70 - hadn't thought about it that way before.

Bizarrely, my FIL had a final scan before going down to theatre for the op (must be at least 25 years ago), and was told the stones had gone! He had no clue as to why or how and neither did the surgeon - but I guess it must happen in wvry few thousand/million or so cases.
But don't worry, I won't pin all my hopes on that - will see the gp and discuss options next week.

An acquaintance insists you can just have the stones zapped now, but I get the impression from Dr Google it's not a long term solution as they come back.

Thanks for the advice.

MadgeHarvey Sun 23-Sep-12 17:19:16

shock @ the disappearing stones! DH works in this particular area of healthcare and was most surprised to hear that! In a way it's useful having him know as much as he does about it - but it also means I can't get away with any 'poor me' shit, as much as I would like to grin
Lots of people said to me about zapping them - I just assumed they were idiots who didn't know their kidney stones from their gallstones! I honestly didn't know that was an option!

NoWayNoHow Tue 25-Sep-12 09:26:41

So apparently I can eat half a left over Babybel cheese, which I'm assuming it literally just a ball of fat, but I can't have a banana!!

Why are these stones so WEIRD?

Slowly feeling my way around what I can and can't eat. On the plus side, very low fat dairy (semi-skimmed milk, no fat yogurt, etc) seems to be fine, as are Dark Chocalate, Brazil Nut and Apricot Eat Natural bars.

On a sadder note, the Haribos caused a few twinges!!

I don't think I'm ever going to get my head around what's ok and not ok for my body.

DottyDot Tue 25-Sep-12 18:28:22

I don't think there's any rhyme or reason! I phoned my hospital today to see where things are up to and was told that my consultant's secretary is on long term sick and the August clinic I was seen in hasn't even been processed yet...

I've written a polite e-mail to the directorate manager, expressing my concern and asking for some reassurance that this hasn't added an additional wait time on to what I was told...


mrswishywashy1 Wed 26-Sep-12 16:34:28

I got my gallstones out 3 weeks ago after I kept putting the op of because I was scared sad and I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did!

I was told I would have to have open surgery because I have a large thick scar that runs down my stomach and I was dreading the pain and the recovery.

Ended up they were able to do it through keyhole, tho a half hour op turned into a 4 hour op because it was so difficult. I woke up in recovery feeling great and was back on the ward half hour after I had the op and an hour later I was raring to go.

I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did! I was back on my feet and able to do most things normally after two days, the only downside is I haven't stopped eating grin

DottyDot Tue 02-Oct-12 20:04:48

Ooooh I got my pre-op date today - it's next Friday! Quite excited/ nervous now cos it can't be too long before my op - hopefully before Christmas... Aaarrgggghhhh....

BambinoBoo Tue 02-Oct-12 22:21:59

Dotty, try not to be nervous. I have had 2 lots of keyhole surgery to remove my gallbladder. The first one they couldn't complete as it was inflamed and bile duct was dilated but the second one was a breeze. I was a rare case too as most of them go without a hitch. In both cases, I waited around 6-8 weeks for the actual op. I also had to have an ercp and spincterotomy between ops as had a stone stuck in my bile duct so I imagine yours may come sooner. I do feel so much better now although I find some rich or high fat foods abit hard to digest so I tend to eat really low fat Sunday to Thursday then relax sat/sun. You won't look back, trust me. Good luck, hope it comes soon and you can enjoy your Christmas dinner. I was on the waiting list last Christmas and had jacket potato and beans on Christmas day grin . I'll be pigging out this year that's for sure.

PoppyWearer Tue 02-Oct-12 22:35:56

Hello! I've posted on a few gallstone threads on here already, but am new to this one. Am currently awaiting my op, due before Christmas. Very lucky to have private insurance through DH's work, although in spite of this my op has already been delayed once.

I'd been doing so well at managing my diet since diagnosis a month or so ago. But feeling knackered from looking after poorly DS in the night clearly warped my judgement and I ate a microwave lasagne for lunch. BIG mistake, two hours later was necking co-codamol and Buscopan, nearly keeled over in the supermarket from pain/nausea/feeling faint. sad

Feeling so stupid! But I guess it was a timely reminder not to be complacent. the pain has stopped now but I'm constipated and uncomfortable.

Back to the sushi and jacket potatoes tomorrow, I just find salad too depressing in this colder weather. My "treats" are dark chocolate (Green & Blacks 70%), G&T and prosecco. I was losing weight but have stalled a bit.

Must eat more fruit and veg!

Good luck everyone.

PoppyWearer Tue 02-Oct-12 22:37:26

P.S. one of my worst attacks was after literally two sips of lager. If anyone can explain that to me, I'd appreciate it!

NoWayNoHow Wed 03-Oct-12 21:18:04

Poppy, I also had a mild "complacency" attack today - had literally one bite of DS's croissant with ham and cheese, and the pain started. Thankfully not a full-blown attack!

I, too, am done with salads, so have started making souls instead for lunch - butternut soup is my favourite. 70% chocolate is a life saver!

Alcohol doesn't bring on an attack for me,but if I have more than a glass of wine, then I get a really upset stomach the next morning. Pity!

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