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Digestive Disorders

Fat Calorie Absorption After Gallbladder Gone

02/17/2010

Question:

Now that my gallbadder is gone I notice when I eat a fatty meal my feces looks like it is full of fat. I assume this means I am not absorbing the fat because my gallbadder isn`t there to release the amount of bile needed to digest it properly. My question is if I am not absorbing the fat, am I not absorbing the calories either?

Answer:

Your gallbladder acts as a sac or reservoir for bile. Even when your gallbladder is removed, your body still makes bile to help digest food. If your body is not digesting food, you would typically have diarrhea. There are stool studies that can be done to check if you're absorbing things correctly. Your weight would be a good indication of whether you're absorbing enough calories. If your weight is stable or increasing, you're likely taking in enough calories, if your weight is decreasing unintentionally, then you may need further evaluation.

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Response by:

Julia Gore Thornton, MD Julia Gore Thornton, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University