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Gallbladder inflammation, what can I eat?

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Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with cholecystitis after an ultrasound showed I had several small gallstones. The "attack" lasted more than 15 hours and ended with a visit to the emergency room. A nurse told me that I would never be eating fast food or spicy food again unless I wanted to end up back in the E.R. Other than being told to stick with lowfat and to eat small meals, I wasn't told what I could or could not eat.

The first few days, I limited myself to the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce & Toast) diet, plus 1% milk and sugar-free preserves. No problems, so I added some sliced tomatoes, and then some chicken breast. Yesterday, I had a corn tortilla (heated, but not fried).

I'm not only hungry, but bored out of my mind with these bland mini-meals. I just searched the Internet to see what I could eat and what I came up with was a bunch of conflicting information:
One website said lean meats, poultry and beans are okay. Another said no fowl, no eggs, no milk, no beans, no nuts. Another said that nuts and peanut butter are good for preventing gallstones.

Where can I go to find the TRUTH about what someone with cholecystitis can eat?
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replied August 29th, 2011
Experienced User
For most people with gallstones the big no-no is fat. Not surprising since that is basically what the gallbladder reacts to. You'll have to work from there towards exactly what you respond worst to. For me it was hard cheeses. For other people it can be eggs or other full-fat fairy, or fatty meats, deep-fried foods, or just any large meal. Spicy foods shouldn't be an issue, although they might be if you have problems such as gastritis or oesophagitis that can develop. I could wolf down curries without blinking which is why I came to doubt my initial diagnosis of gastritis. With enough or large enough gallstones you can have pain with almost anything you eat.

If you are reacting badly specifically to low fat meats like white chicken, sugars, fruit, bread, or low fat cereals, then you might want to question whether gallstones are the issue. I didn't have any problems with nuts or other vegetable fats, so you might try those if cutting meat and dairy fats from your diet causes you to lose too much weight or become fatigued.

Although you might be able to avoid acute gallstone attacks for long periods by a change of diet, in most cases the stones won't go away and are likely to get worse so you will probably need surgery at some point. You might choose to wait and see if lifestyle changes can avoid the symptoms or even prevent stones forming. Existing stones can often be removed non-surgically in cases where more stones are not expected to form. Longlasting attacks like yours are likely to be a small stone that has lodged in the bile duct rather than just stones in the gallbladder. These can happen at any time regardless of what you eat. Multiple small stones are a high risk for this and the potential complications that follow, so they are recommended for surgery even if you have few or rare symptoms.
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replied August 29th, 2011
Thanks, Ian.

I've have had mild nausea on and off since last night. It might be the rice vinegar or maybe the teeny bit of sugar that I added to my rice last night and today.

I guess I should start a food diary, eating very simply and introducing ONE new food or seasoning every two or three days to see what bothers me.

I've also been running a very low-grade (99 day; 100 night) temp since the attack. I guess I'd better make an appointment to see a doctor. I really dread doing so because I don't have insurance and cash is running low.
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replied August 31st, 2011
Experienced User
Your symptoms sound closer to pancreatitis than to uncomplicated gallstone pain. Gallstone attacks are intense but only last a few hours and other than a little tenderness you are fine afterwards. Gallstone food sensitivity is usually to just a narrow range of very fatty foods, while pancreatitis can mean you are unable to eat anything or even keep down fluids. Pancreatitis is caused when a stone becomes lodged in the lower part if the bile duct after it has joined the pancreatic duct. Although your symptoms are mild, pancreatitis can be life-threatening. Your pancreas may just be a little inflamed after the attack, but if the symptoms don't improve you should certainly seek medical help.
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replied September 4th, 2011
Experienced User
Go to a University hospital if you don't have health insurance. They will at least work with your income.

Personally had a tough time with a lot of foods and it would seem to change on me. Yeah it is primarily fatty foods but if your stomach has inflammation from the fatty stuff sitting in there not digesting then anything could potentially set it off again. Just my opinion. Green leafy vegetables can cause problems for some folks. Spinach sent me to the ER between my HIDA scan and surgery date. They told me no more leafy veg and no fat or spicy food! Did they do a HIDA scan on you to see what your fraction rate was?
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replied September 6th, 2011
No HIDA scan at the County Hospital. I was told the surgery center would call me within a week to schedule a consultation appointment. When I didn't get a call, I called the surgery center and was told that "it could take months" for the center to get my paperwork from administrators.

Since I'm still running a mild fever, I called for an appointment with a doctor at the county hospital's family care clinic. I've still got another 10 days until that appointment.

Now, I'm getting sharp--but not too painful--pains in my gallbladder area. It's nothing like the attack I had three weeks ago, but I can't help but wonder if it's related. If it gets bad, I'll head to the ER. But seeing how they didn't do much the first time around, I dread going again, especially if all I'm going to get out of it is another bill.
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