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Colorectal Diseases

Diarrhea after gallbladder removal



I recently went to the ER less then a week ago with a gallbladder attack. I was told that my white cell count was elevated and that I had pancreatitis. I was immediately put on IV antibiotics and told that the gallbladder had to come out. I was so scared so I agreed. I made it through the surgery and despite reservations was put on a regular diet and taken off of antibiotics upon leaving the hospital 1 1/2 days later with a migraine headache. As soon as 2 days after the surgery though I began having yellow burning intermittent diarrhea and no normal stools like I used to. I still haven`t been able to do a regular diet due to the diarrhea and nausea I have had since. I am also sill very weak and it has been 6 days. Is this normal? Will my chances of cancer go up upon having this surgery? I am only 28 and I am a mother of 2 and I am really worried about how this will effect my life.


Talk to your primary care doctor about the diarrhea. It may be "bile salt diarrhea", which occasionally occurs after the gallbladder is taken out. It may also be antibiotic-related diarrhea, caused by Clostridium difficile- a bacteria that can affect hospitalized patients who have had antibiotics. A stool culture will sort out the difference. The hospital course you describe is very common for a patient who had gallstone pancreatitis. These days it is rare to stay in the hospital for more than a day or two!

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Response by:

Janice Frederick Rafferty, MD Janice Frederick Rafferty, MD
Professor of Surgery
Chief of Colorectal Surgery Division
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati