Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, are the most common side effect of gallbladder removal, according to Mayo Clinic. Removal of the gallbladder can also affect the sphincter of Oddi, a part of the small intestine, which can cause pain, nausea or vomiting after eating.
Gallbladder removal, or cholecystectomy, is a treatment option for people who experience frequent gallstones or other gallbladder problems, explains Dr. Barbara Bolen for About.com. Although the gallbladder is responsible for secreting bile when fat from digested food travels to the small intestine, the gallbladder is not necessary for living a normal life. Only about one-fifth of the people who undergo cholecystectomy experience serious problems after surgery.
In general, most people do not experience digestive problems, such as those symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, states Mayo Clinic. Patients may experience some diarrhea initially after surgery, but the body can adapt to living without a gallbladder. Some patients report having irritable bowel syndrome symptoms following the removal of their gallbladder, although the data is insufficient to show there is a causal relationship between cholecystectomy and IBS, notes Dr. Bolen. Patients who experience pancreatitis, common bile duct stones, sphincter of Oddi dysfunction or dyspepsia should contact their doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.