Grease is the Word

If you are one of the 20 percent of adults over the age of 65 who suffer from gallstones, you probably know the perils of indulging in a greasy meal all too well. Though more common among adults over the age of 65, gallbladder disease affects the young and old alike.

Since you can live without your gallbladder, a lot of physicians will recommend that you undergo gallbladder surgery if yours starts to act up, and will likely refer you to a general surgeon to discuss the particulars. While gallbladder surgery is often the best bet for treatment of gallbladder conditions, there are also dietary and lifestyle changes that you can make to relieve the pain until your surgery date.

What is the Gallbladder?

A small organ that resides just below the liver, the gallbladder aids in the digestion of fats. It is responsible for storing, concentrating and secreting bile, which is a digestive fluid produced by your liver.

The removal of the gallbladder doesn’t interrupt the production of bile. The liver makes plenty of this digestive juice, and once the gallbladder is removed the bile travels from the liver directly to the intestines.

Greasy Foods and Your Gallbladder

Eating too many fatty, fried and greasy foods is hard on the gallbladder. When it tries to absorb these fats, the high content of refined sugars and grease prohibit the secretion of bile. When bile builds up in the gallbladder, it’s not flowing out into the intestines, which disrupts the digestion process. The stagnation of bile leads to the formation of gallstones, which are build-ups of cholesterol in the bile ducts.

Eating a diet that is rich in fast-foods and low in vegetables and fruits can lead to gallbladder disease. Highly refined foods, like white bread, pasta, pastries and sodas are also common culprits of gallbladder disease.

For patients with gallbladder disease, indulging in a fatty or greasy meal can have a laxative-like effect on the intestines, leaving you out of commission for hours.

Here are some of the foods that you should avoid with gallbladder disease:

  • Fried foods, especially French fries and potato chips
  • Pizza
  • Chocolate
  • Foods cooked in oil, lard or butter
  • High-fat dairy products, like ice cream, cheese and whole milk
  • High-fat meats, like bacon, ground beef and ribs

Even after you have your gallbladder removed, you will want to avoid eating foods that are going to give you a flare up of symptoms. Gallbladder disease symptoms include severe abdominal pains and diarrhea, symptoms that may last a long time even after a gallbladder removal if you are not careful with your diet.