Understanding Post-Gallbladder Surgery: Why is My Stomach Bigger?

Understanding Post-Gallbladder Surgery: Why is My Stomach Bigger?
Understanding Post-Gallbladder Surgery: Why is My Stomach Bigger?

Understanding Post-Gallbladder Surgery: Why is My Stomach Bigger?


Gallbladder surgery is a common procedure that is performed to remove the gallbladder, a small organ that stores bile. Bile is a digestive fluid that helps to break down fats. After gallbladder surgery, some people may notice that their stomach is bigger than it was before. There are a few reasons why this might happen.

Undergoing gallbladder surgery is a common procedure that can alleviate various digestive issues. However, some individuals may notice changes in their abdominal appearance, particularly an increase in stomach size, following the surgery.

Post-surgical inflammation

Gallbladder surgery is a major abdominal surgery that involves cutting through several layers of tissue. This can lead to inflammation, which can cause fluid to accumulate in the abdominal cavity, leading to bloating and a larger stomach.


Scarring after surgery can also cause the stomach to appear larger. Scar tissue can cause adhesions, which can pull and distort the organs, leading to discomfort and bloating.


Changes in diet

After gallbladder surgery, you may need to make changes to your diet. This is because your body will no longer be able to store bile, so you may need to eat smaller, more frequent meals that are lower in fat. These changes in diet can also lead to a larger stomach.

How long will my stomach stay bigger?

The amount of time that your stomach stays bigger after gallbladder surgery varies from person to person. In most cases, the swelling and bloating will go down within a few weeks. However, in some cases, it may take longer. If you are concerned about the size of your stomach after gallbladder surgery, talk to your doctor.

How to reduce stomach size after gallbladder surgery

There are a few things you can do to help reduce the size of your stomach after gallbladder surgery:

  • Eat small, frequent meals. This will help to prevent your stomach from becoming too full.
  • Avoid fatty foods. Fatty foods can be difficult to digest after gallbladder surgery, so it is best to avoid them.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will help to keep your digestive system running smoothly.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise can help to reduce inflammation and improve digestion.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind a larger stomach after gallbladder surgery, providing insights into the potential causes and offering tips for managing this postoperative phenomenon.

  1. Removal of the Gallbladder: Gallbladder surgery, known as cholecystectomy, involves the removal of the gallbladder, typically due to gallstones or other gallbladder-related issues. The gallbladder is responsible for storing bile, which aids in the digestion and absorption of fats.
  2. Bile Flow and Digestion: After the gallbladder removal, bile continues to be produced by the liver but no longer gets stored in the gallbladder. Instead, it flows directly into the small intestine. The continuous flow of bile can lead to changes in digestion, particularly the way fats are processed.
  3. Fat Digestion and Bloating: One of the main functions of the gallbladder is to release bile in response to fat consumption. The stored bile helps emulsify fats, making them easier to digest and absorb. Without a gallbladder, the continuous flow of bile may result in less efficient fat digestion, leading to increased bloating and a larger stomach appearance.
  4. Dietary Adjustments: Following gallbladder surgery, it is common for healthcare providers to recommend dietary adjustments to support digestion. These may include reducing fat intake, eating smaller, more frequent meals, and focusing on lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Adhering to these recommendations can aid in minimizing bloating and stomach enlargement.
  5. Intestinal Gas and Distention: Postoperative changes in digestion can also result in increased gas production and intestinal distention. This can contribute to a larger stomach appearance. Factors such as rapid eating, consuming gas-producing foods, and inadequate chewing may exacerbate gas buildup.
  6. Temporary Swelling and Inflammation: It is important to note that temporary swelling and inflammation around the surgical site can also contribute to a larger stomach appearance immediately after the surgery. This swelling typically subsides over time as the body heals.
  7. Time for Adjustment: In most cases, the stomach size returns to normal over time as the body adjusts to the absence of the gallbladder and the changes in digestion. However, individual experiences may vary, and it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and support.
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How Can You Care for Yourself at Home?

You can experience weakness and fatigue for a few days following your surgery once you get home. You might have a bloated belly.

1. You might expect some shoulder soreness following laparoscopic surgery. The air the doctor injected into your abdomen to enable him or her to better observe your organs is to blame for this.

2. Initially, you may experience gas or need to burp a lot. Some people have diarrhea. Though it may linger longer, diarrhea often goes away in 2 to 4 weeks.

3. Whether you have laparoscopic or open surgery, it will affect how quickly you heal.


4. Most patients can return to work or their regular schedule after a laparoscopic procedure in one to two weeks. However, depending on the kind of work you conduct, it can take longer.



It will likely take 4 to 6 weeks after an open surgery before you can start your normal activities.


‣ When you are exhausted, take a nap. You’ll recover more quickly if you get adequate sleep.

‣ Try to take a daily stroll. Start with taking a few extra steps today than you did yesterday. Walking reduces your risk of developing pneumonia and blood clots in your legs.

‣ Avoid lifting anything that would put you under strain for two to four weeks. This could be a toddler, hefty milk and grocery bags, a bulky briefcase or backpack, bags for cat litter or dog food, or even a vacuum cleaner.

‣ Till your doctor gives the all-clear, stay away from vigorous activities like biking, jogging, weightlifting, and aerobic activity.

‣ Find out from your doctor when you can start driving.

‣ Most people can return to work or their regular schedule after a laparoscopic procedure in one to two weeks, although it could take longer.

‣ It will likely take 4 to 6 weeks after an open surgery before you can resume your typical activities.

‣ When you can have sex again, your doctor will let you know.

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‣ Start out by eating only a modest amount of food when you feel like it. For a while, you might want to stay away from fatty items like cheese and fried dishes. They may result in symptoms like bloating or diarrhea.

‣ Drink a lot of water (unless your doctor tells you not to).

‣ Immediately following surgery, you could notice that your bowel movements are irregular. This is typical.

‣ Constipation and difficult bowel movements should be avoided. You might wish to consume a fiber supplement daily. Ask your doctor about using a mild laxative if you haven’t had a bowel movement in a few days.

What are the Medicines to Take after Post-Gallbladder Surgery?

I’m not a doctor, but I can provide some general information on common medications that may be prescribed after gallbladder surgery. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance regarding medications post-surgery. Here are some medications that are commonly prescribed:

  1. Pain Medication: After gallbladder surgery, you may experience pain or discomfort. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage post-operative pain.
  2. Antibiotics: In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent or treat any infections that may occur after surgery. It’s important to follow the prescribed dosage and complete the full course of antibiotics if they are prescribed.
  3. Bile Acid Medications: In certain situations, your doctor may recommend bile acid medications to help compensate for the absence of the gallbladder and aid in digestion. These medications can help with the breakdown and absorption of fats.
  4. Digestive Enzymes: Digestive enzymes, such as pancreatic enzymes, may be prescribed to assist with digestion, particularly in the breakdown of fats. These enzymes can help compensate for the decreased bile flow due to the absence of the gallbladder.
  5. Stool Softeners: If you experience constipation after surgery, your doctor may recommend stool softeners or laxatives to help ease bowel movements and prevent straining.

It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medication use, including dosage and timing. Be sure to inform your doctor of any existing medical conditions, allergies, or other medications you may be taking to avoid potential interactions or complications. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations based on your specific situation.

How do You Get Rid of Belly Fat After Gallbladder Surgery?

1. Eliminate fried and fatty foods.

2. Don’t eat spicy foods or those that cause gas.

3. Go easy on the caffeine.

4. Eat smaller meals with healthy snacks in between.

5. Slowly increase your fiber intake.

How Long Does Your Stomach Stay Swollen After Gallbladder Surgery?

Your belly will feel bloated for about one week; you may not be able to close your pants. This will pass as the gas in the abdomen is absorbed.

Why Have I Gained Weight After Gallbladder Removal?

Post-surgery, your body acclimates to changes brought about by gallbladder removal, it impacts how the digestive system process food.

In a few cases, this can prompt weight gain. The body will be unable to digest fat and sugar productively.

Is it Easier to Lose Weight After Gallbladder Removal?

People who undergo gallbladder removal surgery will often experience changes in their body weight ahead of and following this procedure.

s it Easier to Lose Weight after Gallbladder Removal?

Many people will lose weight initially but may see an increase in their BMI in the long term. It is usually possible to manage these weight changes with diet and exercise.

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Is it Hard to Lose Weight Without a Gallbladder?

Despite having your gallbladder removed, it’s still possible to lose weight as you would normally.

How Much Does a Gallbladder Full of Stones Weigh?

Weight: The average weight of the gallstones was 9.6 g in GBC versus 6.0 g in controls (P = 0.0004).

The average weight in multiple stones over 10 g had a strong association with GBC (P = 0.0006).

Volume: The average volume was 11.7 and 6.48 ml in GBC and controls (P = 0.0002).

Does Gallbladder Removal Affect Metabolism?

It is also accepted that gallbladder (GB) removal is a relatively innocuous procedure with no deleterious influence on bile acid (BA) metabolism or overall metabolic regulation.

Following surgery, the size of the BA pool remains within a normal range and dietary fat absorption remains unaffected.

What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Gallbladder Removal?

Gall bladder removal does not cause any serious long-term problems, although you may experience some common minor side effects such as diarrhea, flatulence, and short-term constipation.

How Does Your Body Change After Gallbladder Removal?

You can expect to live a perfectly normal life after gallbladder surgery but you may experience temporary side effects related to how your digestive system processes fatty foods.

These symptoms may include loose stools or diarrhea, bloating, cramping, and excess gas in response to meals or certain foods.

How Long Will My Stomach Be Swollen after Laparoscopy?

Just like with many surgeries, you might experience discomfort after a laparoscopy.

These discomforts can include: Your abdomen might be swollen for several days after the surgery. You may take acetaminophen to relieve pain.

When the gallbladder is removed, special clips are used to seal the tube that connects the gallbladder to the main bile duct.

But bile fluid can occasionally leak out into the tummy (abdomen) after the gallbladder is removed. Symptoms of a bile leak include tummy pain, feeling sick, a fever, and a swollen tummy. Share with others if this was helpful and keep visiting our page.


Experiencing a larger stomach after gallbladder surgery is not uncommon. Changes in bile flow, fat digestion, gas production, and temporary postoperative swelling can contribute to this phenomenon. Adhering to dietary recommendations, adopting healthy eating habits, and allowing time for the body to adjust can help manage bloating and stomach enlargement. If concerns persist or are accompanied by other symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical advice for appropriate evaluation and guidance. Remember, every individual’s experience is unique, and consulting with a healthcare professional is essential for personalized care and support.

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