Why Is My Stomach Bigger After Gallbladder Surgery? (4 Possible Reasons For It)

Share this article:

Your stomach looks bigger after gallbladder removal surgery for several reasons. The gas pumped into your abdomen during laparoscopic surgery could be one reason. In addition, after gallbladder removal surgery, post-recovery bloating, changes in the digestive process, and inflammation can make your stomach look more prominent.

If you keep suffering from gallstones, your doctor may suggest that you do a cholecystectomy which means the removal of your gallbladder.

Gall stones are formed by hard deposits of bile in your gallbladder and can be as small as a pebble and even as large as a golf ball. The gall stones cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

The only helpful way to deal with gall stones involves the removal of the gallbladder since, if left in place, the gall stones will keep reoccurring endlessly.

Even though the gallbladder is removed, bile production continues and drips into the gut through the bile duct, thus helping with digestion as it should. However, the amount produced may not match the one produced when there is a gallbladder.

The surgery of removing the gallbladder or cholecystectomy is a solemn procedure that can be done through open surgery or laparoscopic surgery. Each technique differs from the other hence the post-surgery recovery may also differ.

Most people find out that after gallbladder removal, their stomach becomes bigger after surgery or recovery. That enlargement of the stomach can be caused by many things like the process of laparoscopic surgery.

Again after recovery, the digestive system may find it hard to digest fats, leading to bloating. Bloating may make your stomach look larger and cause a lot of discomfort. Therefore there are steps you can take to reduce such.

Your body may change how it processes nutrients in your system leading to weight gain, which can accumulate around the stomach, making it look larger. Inflammation can also make your stomach look big.

Here are the four main reasons your stomach may look larger after gallbladder removal surgery.

4 reasons your stomach may look larger after gallbladder removal surgery

1. Gas used in laparoscopic surgery

Unlike open surgery, where a big incision is made to expose the organ being operated on, the laparoscopic technique involves small incisions on the abdomen.

A graphic showing a patient's front view and side view during Laparoscopic surgery.

Tubes known as trochars go into these incisions, and with the help of an internal camera and a large screen, the doctor uses the trochars to cut into tissue and sew.

Laparoscopic surgery makes post-surgery recovery easier since there is less cutting and minor bleeding than open surgery.

Even so, it would be challenging to locate and operate on an organ in the interior of the abdomen if it’s so squeezed up in there. The organs can be so close-packed that they could cause an accident.

Therefore surgeons pump air into the abdomen to increase space and help them see the gallbladder easier.

That means if you just had laparoscopic surgery to remove your gallbladder and your stomach looks bigger, it could be the gas that was pumped into your abdomen and did not completely drain out.

Over time the gas completely drains out, and your stomach size returns to normal.

2. Post-recovery bloating

Naturally, the bile stored in the gallbladder is used to break down fats into fatty acids.

A woman who recently had Laparoscopic surgery to remove her gallbladder is noticing that she's feeling more bloated after the surgery.

When the gallbladder is removed, the amount of bile that drips directly into the gut from the bile duct may be less due to lack of storage.

That would mean the digestion of fats may not happen entirely due to small amounts of bile. That causes a lot of bloating.

A lot of air may back up in your gut, making you feel uncomfortable and disoriented.

To ease such bloating, you can opt to do some small body exercise or use medications that are specified for such purposes.

Some people have had to make some lifestyle changes post cholecystectomy recovery to avoid these cases of bloating and flatulence.

Those changes may include easing up on fatty and greasy foods. Others use natural remedies like ginger.

You may also want to try daily exercise routines and foods rich in vegetables and fibers to ease digestion.

3. Changes in nutrient assimilation post recovery

After gallbladder removal, the digestive process may differ from before. That could result in an alteration and confusion on how the body absorbs and stores certain nutrients, such as the fats that are supposed to be digested by bile.

Due to such changes in digestive and assimilation processes, most people tend to gain weight fast after gallbladder removal. That extra body is stored in the tissue surrounding your stomach resulting in a protruding pot-belly.

So the enlarging of your stomach might be an accumulation of fat deposits.

Such weight may be dangerous and result in other health complications in the future, so you must endeavor to keep your health in check throw low-fat diets and regular body exercise.

4. Inflammation

Some people may experience inflammation after gallbladder removal surgery.

Such inflammations may be caused due to exposure to an infection either during or after surgery. Some other underlying health conditions can also cause inflammation.

Inflammation in the interior of your abdomen can easily make your stomach look bigger than it should.

The inflammation on its own, but it is always wise to seek immediate medical help.


What helps bloating after gallbladder surgery?

After gallbladder surgery, resultant bloating is eased through reducing fatty foods, engaging in daily bodily exercise routine, and eating foods rich in vegetables and fiber.


After gallbladder removal surgery, it would be advisable to make appropriate changes in your lifestyle.

Such changes would not only help your stomach remain at its standard size but will also improve your health altogether.

The lifestyle changes include daily exercise, low-fat diets, and a lot of vegetables, fruits, and fiber-rich foods.

Again if the enlargement seems weird, unnatural, or excessive, you may seek help from a doctor or therapist.

Share this article:

We’re proud to be a team of writers who are truly passionate about all things health.

Coming together from all parts of the world, we share a common goal of helping serve many with our comprehensive research and clear writing style. Learn more.

About us

About us

Contact Us