Gallstones are surprisingly common, and in some cases, they can be a cause of extreme abdominal pain and discomfort coupled with the possibility for infection and other complications. While gallstones can be broken up with non-surgical methods, they will usually recur. If you are suffering pain from gallstones, your doctor will likely recommend that the gallbladder be removed.
If a gallstone gets lodged in the bile duct, this blocks the flow of bile, causing pain. In time, infection may develop. Gallbladder removal is a simple solution that not only stops the pain, but also means you won’t have gallstones in the future.
This news can be galling. The gallbladder is an important organ, isn’t it? While the gallbladder does perform an important role in digestion, your body can actually function just fine without it. Gallbladder surgery is actually not an extreme procedure.
Role of the Gallbladder
The gallbladder is a small organ that stores bile produced in the liver. Bile allows your body to digest fatty substances. When you eat something with fat in it, bile is released from the gallbladder into the digestive system. In addition to storing bile, the gallbladder also helps concentrate it, making it more potent and thus more effective at breaking down fats.
Your Body Without a Gallbladder
When the gallbladder is removed, your liver will still produce bile, and you’ll still be able to digest fats. Because of this, many people don’t notice a difference after surgery. The main change is that bile, rather than being stored and concentrated before use, will continually run into your system. Since the bile will be less concentrated, it won’t as effective at breaking down fats, so reducing intake of high-fat foods is recommended.