If this bloating's NOT caused by gallstones, then what the hell's causing it...?!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 24, 2011 at 3:51 PM


I was diagnosed with gallstones 3 months ago, after having recurring abdominal pain for months. I'm 37, sterile, and was a petite 8 stone (112lb) and a UK 4-6 (0-2 US) before l this started.

The bloating was initially dismissed as "just IBS" which I know to be rubbish. I had my appendix removed when I was 16, as I was having similar pain then. My appendix was 100% healthy.

This is REALLY making me miserable and destroying my self-confidence and self-esteem. I have PCOS and, before I started low carbing type 2. EVERYTHING I eat bloats me now (I was eating eggs, steak, coconut oil, ACV (unfiltered and unpasteurised), berries and leafy veggies.) I'd been Paleo for 2 years when I first started getting the pain, but not the bloating. I've been Paleo for 6 years now, and I've not been able to wear a bra since February! I've ripped Ts, leggings (I can't wear jeans or trousers) because he bloating's got so severe. I refuse to believe I'm gaining weight as even though I can't eat perfect Paleo at the moment as I do not have access to cooking facilities, I'm still low carbing, but the only way I can eat high fat at the mo is dairy (I'd quit all dairy up to becoming homeless). Is this the problem? I've clothes I've only just bought (that fitted me when I bought them, that I've destroyed cause I've bloated so much!

Not only that, but I'm getting swollen and painful joints (particularly knees, elbows, wrists and shoulders) and I'm permanently exhausted. Tramadol helps with the pain, but NOTHING deals with the bloating and it's making me suicidally depressed. I can't get a doc to understand that low fat is the way go cure it, because CW dictates that it's CAUSED by high fat!

Can someone tell me the sort of things I should be eating to make it go away and stay away? Please bear in mind I'm in the UK and don't have much money. I just want my figure back! I have no energy to exercise, and I've been fasting for 24 hours now.

Cheers folks!


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on November 14, 2011
at 02:00 AM

I know exactly how you feel. Thyroid issues seem to be connected with gall bladder issues. Also a lot of women experience this around their menstrual cycle the most. I get my gall bladder flare ups generally around then. Low carb does not work out for me. I've eaten high fat all my life but when i went lower carb, higher fat/protein, it didn't go so well. Also melatonin factors into this, so irregular sleep habits, night owl-ness could also really be hurting you. Have your thyroid fully looked at and et to bed early! Also reconsider caffeine (particularly coffee) intake.



on September 24, 2011
at 03:55 PM

I meant "high fat is the way to go to cure it". Sorry! Docs don't understand anyway. Will it REALLY all go away after surgery...? Will I magically be able to fit all my old clothes again...? Meant to ask that... Can't cope with my whole body being swollen - even my boobs! Used to be UK 34-36 (US 38-40) so I'm sure you'll understand. PCOS is making me even more paranoid, too!

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8 Answers


on September 24, 2011
at 11:50 PM

I would try ditching the eggs for a week or two and see if that helps. Also, all things that contain eggs (mayo, etc). By trial and error, I found out they cause me to swell/bloat/whatever. Duck eggs do the same (I tried that last week, still a fail). I'm hoping to add them back in at some point, but for now, they freaking hate me.



on September 24, 2011
at 06:12 PM

I started having severe bloat after a few years of high fat, high protein, low carb as well. Lowering protein, raising carbs, and not going so crazy on the fat has cured me of it. What does that mean in practical terms? I now consider 4 oz of meat as one portion, I make sure I have 1-2 servings of something starchy at every meal, and I cook my food in as much fat as it takes to make it yummy/not stick to the pan instead of using as much fat as I possibly can. It took about a month or two to start seeing results.



on February 14, 2013
at 01:38 PM

Sounds like SIBO, FODMAPs, etc to me. Please check out this site; she addresses all this in a paleo way:



on February 14, 2013
at 01:31 PM

i would try to go high carb low fat. include lots of safe starchs and minimize the fat big time. i used to be on a high carb low fat diet for 8 years and was very skinny and did not have many stomach issues. i went low carb high fat paleo a year ago and i gained 20 lbs and severe bloating for a year straight. i find it helps if i avoid large portions of meat (reducing only to 1-2 small portions per week) and a lot less fat, more carbs. lots more carbs. my body didnt like paleo as much as i thought it would. so i am switching back, except with a whole foods template. paleo is a great template but you cant expect your body to work exactly as the "diet" is written. everyone needs to make their own adjustments. paleo is a whole foods diet. listen to your body. your bloating sounds severe. paleo "this way" is not working for you.


on November 13, 2011
at 08:20 PM

You should be screened for ovarian cancer, if you haven't already.



on September 25, 2011
at 07:58 PM

Were you ever tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance. If that's the issue, even very minor cc (cross contamination) can cause a lot of bloat for some people.



on September 24, 2011
at 04:28 PM

First I would suggest you to try HIGH-CARB, LOW FAT diet to see if it helps. High fat diet may cuase stone attack since galblader has to export bile far more then with CH diet.

You might be suffering from dysbiosis especially since your appendix is removed, which is thought by some to keep 'starter culture' of beneficial microbiota. I would supplement some high q probiotics and if dairy is not excluded lots of fermented milk, particularly kefir (alone, I find that yougurt and kefir in combination with food make bloating in some people). When probiotics are in question, you need to aim for highest amount possible of bacteria and highest number of different cultures. I wold also suggest taking several capsules at once multiple times a day for some time. You may also want to try pancreatic enzymes to help with digestion.

Swollen joints and permanently exhausted ... check your CRP, adrenal and thyroid panel. This may be sign of chronic infection. Maybe you are malnourished. I suggest you supplement lots of vitamins/minerals particularly C then D,Selenium,Iodine. C is the most important since its biggest probability that you are deficient in it on paleo diet.

Instead tramadlol, you may try LDN for pain since its lot safer with chronic use. Mg and Zinc might help you reduce pain more.

There are few pages here for supplementation, check them out.



on September 24, 2011
at 03:59 PM

You should do a lactulose breath test for SIBO. If you have it, berries and even spinach could contribute to bloating and other symptoms. Carbohydrates and FODMAPs in any amount, basically. Theoretically, protein too, so this should be adressed sooner rather than later.

I'm not familiar with gallbladder problems, but they might contribute to malabsorption, making more food available to bacteria. Are you using digestive enzymes?

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