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Real Life Diet Questions Answered

Angela Dowden

Posted 25 May 12

Can pancreatitis be linked to weight loss?

Hi Last week I got rushd to hospital, I had collapsed in pain with pancreatitis caused by gall stones. I have never had any problem like that before, it was completely out of the blue. I am going to have an operation on Friday to have my gall bladder removed, as they said it is likely to happen again. I read that you can get this if you have been on a diet! Is this true? Also I was told that I would not absorb fat in the same way without my gall bladder which makes weight loss easier? Is that true? Many thanks

Our expert says...



Thanks for your query.


Being overweight increases the risk of developing gallstones (one doctor unkindly told me that the “3 Fs” – female, fat and forty - best described the type of person afflicted sad You are also right that very low calorie, rapid weight-loss diets, and prolonged fasting, seem also to cause gallstone formation, as may increased levels of the hormone oestrogen as a result of pregnancy, hormone HRT, or the pill.


However you were neither crash dieting, nor is likely that you would get acute pancreatitis almost immediately after the formation of gallstones – in other words it is quite likely that they were pre-existing for a while without you realising.


Any way the whole thing must have been a horrible shock for you and I’m glad that they are sorting it out for you.


After your gallbladder has been removed you will probably need to eat a low fat diet for a while to avoid diarrhoea. Counter intuitively perhaps, a high fibre diet will also help in this regard. You’ll still produce enough bile to digest fats, but, instead of being stored in the gallbladder, it will drip continuously from your liver into your intestine.


There’s quite a lot of information on the NHS website about it, which I hope will help. See http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2443.aspx?CategoryID=51&SubCategoryID=168


Good luck,



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