Surgeon Questions Gallbladder Surgery

Is it normal to have bowel issues after gallbladder removal?

I'm 40 years old, and since my gallbladder removal I haven't experienced any bowel movements. I had this procedure two days ago. Is this normal? When should my bowel movements go back to normal?

3 Answers

Stay hydrated and take Magnesium Citrate 1,200 mg softgel daily for now.
It is not too unusual not to have any bowel activity for a day or two or even three after laparoscopic surgery but your bowel movement should receive them in time. And mild laxative might help. It also could be due to any narcotic pain medication you were taking.
The constipation you are having is very typical after surgery. Almost every patients receives narcotics (opiates such as Morphine, Dilaudid, or Hydrocodone) during or after surgery. These medications help with pain, but they also are very good at slowing down the colon leading to constipation. I would say most patients have their first bowel movement within 1-4 days after surgery. It should be safe to take over the counter supplements such as Miralax or Milk of Magnesia to help have a bowel movement.

Long-term (as in 3 months down the road), you should not have any significant changes to your bowel habits. In the short term, about 1 in 3 patients will get some diarrhea after having their gallbladder removed.