s3 e5: gallbladder health & your hormones with olivia haas

In this episode, we are focusing on the gallbladder and how not only can it impact your hormones but how hormonal changes can impact your gallbladder function as well. I have Olivia Haas also known as the Gallbladder Nutritionist on Instagram with me today to dive deep into this topic. Olivia is a board certified nutritionist specializing in all things gallbladder health. Her personal journey with digestive issues, hypothyroidism and gallbladder disease is what has led her to start her private practice helping individuals who are trying to keep their gallbladder or people struggling with digestive issues after gallbladder surgery. 

Along her way, she realized there was a lack of education regarding this condition, what caused it, how diet and lifestyle impact this disease and how to best support the body without a gallbladder. Through her experience she grew a passion to help other individuals with gallbladder disease feel supported, gain nutrition clarity and help teach them how to be advocates for their health. Olivia takes a root cause approach with her clients. She looks beyond the gallbladder to bring the body back into balance and helps clients create sustainable, long term healthy habits every step of their gallbladder journey.  

• Free Training: Optimizing Hormone Health with Mineral Balance 
Mineral Imbalance Quiz 
Free healthy period guide 
Follow Olivia on Instagram 
The Gallbladder Removal Reset 
Visit Olivia’s website 
New Gallbladder Nutrition website 
Birth Control episode 
How To Transition Off Birth Control episode
Free thyroid training 
Copper and iron podcast 
Dr. Jacobi Ileocecal valve massage

Amanda Montalvo 0:00
Hey, this is Amanda Women’s Health dietitian.

Emily 0:02
And I’m Emily nutritional therapy practitioner.

Amanda Montalvo 0:05
And this is the RU menstrual podcast where we help you navigate the confusing world of women’s hormones in teach you how to have healthy periods.

Emily 0:12
Each week we will be diving into a different topic on women’s health and sharing our perspective using nutrition, female physiology and metabolic health.

Amanda Montalvo 0:20
Our goal is to help you wade through conflicting health information and empower you on your healing journey.

Emily 0:25
We hope you enjoy it.

Amanda Montalvo 0:37
In this episode, we are focusing on the gallbladder and how not only can it impact your hormones, but how hormonal changes can impact your gallbladder function as well and honestly so much more. We’re going to talk about thyroid, we’re talking about digestive support, depending on what’s going on through gallbladder and I am joined by Olivia Haase. She’s also known as the gallbladder nutritionist on Instagram if you don’t follow her, I’m going to put the link to follow her in the show notes. And we’re going to do a deep dive into all things gallbladder since that’s really her main focus. And she has a great follow on Instagram, you’ll learn a lot so make sure you check her out. Olivia is a board certified nutritionist specializing in all things gallbladder health, her personal journey with digestive issues, hypothyroidism, and gallbladder disease is what led her to start her private practice helping individuals who are trying to keep their gallbladder or people struggling with digestive issues after gallbladder surgery. So do you want to talk a little bit about your own health journey? Olivia and like how you got into helping clients with all this?

Olivia Haas 1:41
Yeah, and thank you so much for having me and letting me spread education on gallbladder health. It is a big passion of mine. And I think a lot of people need to learn more about it, and then also learn what to do if you don’t have a gallbladder. So like most practitioners, I became passionate about it because of my own experience. So my health journey started a long time ago, well into my 20s. I always had digestive issues, and then was shortly diagnosed with hypothyroidism. So when symptoms started in my 30s, I was not surprised I was working two jobs meal prepping for families trying to save money for our wedding, when I turned 30 And I ultimately like burnt myself out and I started to notice hormonal changes. So like, changes in my menstrual cycle fatigue, depression, hair loss. So at this point, I have always worked with a naturopathic doctor, functional medicine doctor. So I started working instantly with a functional practitioner to figure out what’s going on because they just didn’t feel right. That’s for they put me on a Candida based diet. So I was primarily eating high protein, higher fats, and I was playing around with like an ancestral based diet. So lots of game meat, raw cheeses, all the yummy stuff, right. And initially, I felt amazing, but fast for like two or three months, I was dealing with a lot of chronic constipation. And at this point, like, I wasn’t far into my studies to be like, hey, you know, constipation is not normal. Let’s fix this. And fast forward it’s starting to lead into further digestive issues. And shortly after three months is when I started to experience the upper right abdomen pain. So we had just did a trip to Hawaii and Canada and I thought for sure Oh, this is definitely food poisoning my naturopath that may be a parasite, but these episodes have this severe upper right pain and I mean like the pain was so bad that a lot of people compare it to labor a gallbladder attacks, I was having a lot of loose stool fatigue, vomiting, and it would not be nonstop and I remember going like four weeks with multiple attacks is what they call while working with a gastroenterologist and naturopath. And at this point like I lost close to 20 pounds. I was like super malnourished and I did all the testing for gallbladder disease gastro thought for sure that’s what it was, but nothing came back on the ultrasound besides a few polyps. So ultimately, I was diagnosed with IBS and was given four medications to deal with the symptoms. Anyways, my naturopath was not convinced, she thought for sure it was my gallbladder. My stool test showed high FICO that there were no indications of parasites. So she was like, I really strongly believe this is a gallbladder problem and you really don’t want to remove your gallbladder. So let’s work on treatment for that. But the tax didn’t fully go away. They went away for like a couple of months. And then all of a sudden I would get a gallbladder attack and I still was like okay, something’s not right. And I noticed it came up anytime under high periods of stress. So for example, I lost my job, I had an attack, I lost my dog. And this is when I was like, Okay, I need a second opinion to be like, What the heck’s going on with my body, and I found a gastroenterologist that specializes in biliary diseases, and that’s when I finally was diagnosed with biliary dyskinesia, or poor functioning gallbladder. So that was my long story. But through this, like, I really learned that when I didn’t feel like I had the proper education regarding gallbladder disease, like what caused it, you know how to go about it? What are some solutions for it? And so that’s when I was in my studies, I was really digging into what the heck is a gallbladder because it’s not a common organ that we talked about. So that’s what really led me down this road.

Amanda Montalvo 5:29
And what were you focusing on with nutrition prior to having all the gallbladder issues?

Olivia Haas 5:37
I was removing out a lot of like a Candida based diet, you’re moving out a lot of the sugars, right? So it was it was a lot of high protein and high fat at the time. Yeah, it was primarily just high protein, high fat, if I can think back to then.

Amanda Montalvo 5:52
That’s so it’s, it’s, it’s like one of those things to where I feel like it’s not, it affects a lot of women, right? A lot of women especially like, we’ll talk about birth control and how hormones impact your gallbladder and vice versa. But it’s not really talked about a ton even like the signs of it. Right. So I think it’s, it makes I’m not shocked that it took you so long to get a diagnosis. I’m just so happy that you had a naturopath that was so supportive and was like no, like, you know, want to settle and like really, it sounded like they were really supporting you that time.

Olivia Haas 6:24
Yeah, yeah, she did. She still does today. She’s become like a family friend and her and I actually partner for clients today. She just has a wealth of knowledge for gallbladder and liver health and has experienced with herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, and as an acupuncture so she’s a really good combination. When she’s helped me and helped quite a bit of clients too.

Amanda Montalvo 6:46
Yeah. Is that the same naturopath you’re working with for the mastitis you’re dealing with? Yep.

Olivia Haas 6:51
Very helped me get over five rounds of five weeks back to back and mastitis and postpartum Yeah.

Amanda Montalvo 6:57
Yeah, I still that is just like mind blowing to me. Yeah, same here. But hopefully, hopefully you are through the worst of it. Now. Let’s go through because I think you know, unless you have a gallbladder issue you might not know exactly like what does our gallbladder do? And our boss, do you want to break down like what its actual role is?

Olivia Haas 7:19
Yes, definitely. So the gallbladder is a small, but I call it a mighty organ. The main role of the gallbladder is really to store and concentrate bile. The gallbladder plays an important role in maintaining bile acid metabolism. And Bile is produced by the liver. It’s this brownish green liquid that is made up of things like cholesterol, bilirubin, bile acids, minerals, and some other things. But what we’re learning now is bio plays a much bigger role than just digestion. So the main thing of bio is it helps maintain healthy digestion. It’s like detergent, that basically helps emulsify fats and breaks down those fats. So the pancreas can finish the job of fat digestion, bio helps us absorb those fat soluble vitamins and fatty acids. So without those adequate bio, these nutrients are lost, leading to nutrient depletion. And you see this a lot with individuals with gallbladder disease having vitamin D deficiencies, things like potentially hair loss, dry skin, dry nails, things like that. What we’re also learning though, is that bio plays a big role with our hormone health, and excreting out any excess hormones, heavy metals and toxins. So this is super important as well, because bio helps to regulate sex hormones or things like excess estrogen from the body. So too much estrogen and we’re going to dig into this has been linked to the saturation of bio, so it makes that bio super thick. And we don’t want that thick bio, because that’s ultimately what forms gall stones. But what’s also interesting is, without a gallbladder, there’s a loss of concentrated bile. Now, because your gallbladder was this like storage tank for this bile, and it would make it thicker, and it would concentrate it after gallbladder surgery, you don’t have that little storage tank anymore. So people after gallbladder surgery tend to struggle more with PMS or estrogen dominant symptoms. Because the loss of the concentrated bile. Bile is also an anti microbials. It’s been known to help prevent bacterial overgrowth such as SIBO. And this is why for individuals that remove their gallbladder after surgery, more than I think one of the research articles were more than 40% Develop SIBO within four to six months after surgery, and then blood sugar. So this is a huge one that has been started to come up in a lot of research. It plays a big role in regulating your blood sugar metabolism. So there’s a lot of studies that associate insulin resistance and gall stones forming as a result of poor bio, but also after gallbladder surgery, the loss of concentrated bio because remember, we don’t have that storage tank anymore, can impact glucose metabolism and this is One reason why gallbladder surgery has been strongly linked to metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and fatty liver. So to kind of sum this up, it’s a your gallbladder is a storage tank for bile and bio plays so many different important roles in your body. And so that’s kind of how it impacts different areas in the body.

Amanda Montalvo 10:20
I’ve seen and I’m sure you’ve seen this, a lot of women that have PCOS, they end up getting their gallbladder removed. And then after their symptoms get worse, typically, and then plus, like, you know, if they most most people are not instructed on like, here’s how to support your digestion and your body, like post gallbladder surgery, which I know we’ll talk about. So it just kind of like but yeah, it really, it really does a number on making them more hormone imbalances, and then digestion, and that makes everything so so much more worse.

Olivia Haas 10:50
Yeah. 100%. And you see it too, with individuals with thyroid issues, hypothyroidism, Hashimotos. And that’s the biggest mess. I think with gallbladder diseases that we don’t talk about how hormones can impact the gallbladder and not to discredit a lot of medical professionals. But I hear it all the time that they’re told, the hormones have nothing to do with your gallbladder, but they really do. There’s that bi directional relationship between the two. And it’s something that we should be addressing, especially for females.

Amanda Montalvo 11:22
I think it’s because they’re not, it’s like that’d be to holistic approach right? To like, look at the whole body and how not just like isolating the gallbladder and like, okay, there’s dysfunction or gallbladder, you can survive without it. So we’re going to remove it, you know, versus like, understanding like, where did all this come from? And which I think that’s what I want to talk about next is so how do our heart we learn how the gallbladder affects our body, right? It’s really important for balancing out hormones, we need it to eliminate excess hormones and toxins, really important for digestion, which, if you are a regular listener, you know that that’s really also important for your hormones, thyroid health metabolism, got blood sugar, so how does it go the other way, we’re different types of hormone imbalances can actually affect our gallbladder, too. Yeah,

Olivia Haas 12:07
so there’s the bi directional relationships. So we’ll talk about like the three main ones. So estrogen progesterone direct, there are their hormones, too, that can impact the gallbladder. But excess estrogen, this is a big one. So estrogen, for example, increases the amount of cholesterol to bile salts. Basically, again, it makes that bio thick, and we really want bio to be thin that we want it to flow really nicely through the liver to the gallbladder, when it becomes thick. That’s your precursor for gall stones. This is why it is known that pregnancy HRT and birth control are all huge risk factors for gallstones. This is one thing I highly encourage you if you are on birth control to discuss with and you have issues with gallbladder disease, you discuss other alternatives with your practitioner. And then on the other hand, you have progesterone. So progesterone can impact the function of the gallbladder and the sphincter of Oddi. And again, when the gallbladder is not contracting Well, or the sphincter is not working that’s impairing your bile flow, so it’s not flowing nicely. And that causes that decrease in the gallbladder contraction. So when you combine that poor function gallbladder and a saturated bile from the excess estrogen, you have a perfect recipe for gallstone formation. And this is why during pregnancy, you have such a higher risk to develop gallbladder disease, because of the huge fluctuations in the hormones.

Amanda Montalvo 13:32
And what is the sphincter of Oddi? Just so that everyone knows, like, what does that actually do?

Olivia Haas 13:37
Yeah, so the sphincter of Oddi is basically like a muscular valve that helps control the flow of the bile. So again, the large part of gallbladder disease, we really want that healthy bile flow between your liver to your gallbladder and through the sphincter of Oddi.

Amanda Montalvo 13:54
Okay, and then kind of like a side question, because when you were talking about the excess estrogen, and how that can, it basically increases the amount of cholesterol to bile salts, you get this thicker bile. Do you see a lot of women with endometriosis and gallbladder issues?

Olivia Haas 14:11
Yeah, this one as well as very common.

Amanda Montalvo 14:15
Yeah, I wouldn’t. I feel like they have so many digestive issues in generals like Well, of course, the gallbladder probably on top of all that. Yeah. Well, you talked about pregnancy and how obviously the increase in hormones puts you at an increased risk of gallbladder issues. What about postpartum and gallbladder health?

Olivia Haas 14:35
Yeah, so this is another one that is still there’s still a lot of research coming out about it but gallbladder disease. It is actually one of the top reasons for hospitalization after birth for the mom, not you know, we already have so much we have to deal with and then here’s another wrench to throw in postpartum. But during pregnancy your estrogen and progesterone levels are so high and after birth when the levels drop significantly. So, the gallbladder symptoms start to rise, and you start to see it more like two to four months postpartum. And it’s just due to the changes in these hormones, but also for some females, it’s the rapid weight loss. So rapid weight loss is a factor that has been linked to gall stones too. So you have kind of the two combinations that can increase the risk of that.

Amanda Montalvo 15:21
And do you know, like, do they? Do they like kind of differentiate? If it’s like, if your cycle is it? Are you more likely to have issues if your period comes back? Like if recycle comes back sooner?

Olivia Haas 15:33
You know, I actually haven’t come across that. Um, so I wonder, you know, yeah, I haven’t noticed that.

Amanda Montalvo 15:41
Just only because there would technically be like, a little bit less fluctuation. I think it just makes me because it’s just like another incentive for like, breastfeeding as much as you can. How has your gallbladder been postpartum?

Olivia Haas 15:56
I’ve actually been okay. You know, I’ve been getting asked this quite a bit if I’ve had more symptoms postpartum. Honestly, I felt I felt it more during pregnancy. So I thought it a time around week five to six. And then about 30 weeks is when I started to notice that I had obviously you know, during pregnancy, you have a lot of digestive changes, but I was experiencing more gallbladder type symptoms. So more gallbladder stool, and upper right quadrant pain, which is difficult during pregnancy, because you’re like, is this the gallbladder? Or is it the baby, just, you know, kicking up really hard on my ribs? I don’t know. I still am supposed to get scheduled to go check on do a follow up on my gallbladder to see if I potentially developed any stones or sledged during pregnancy.

Amanda Montalvo 16:46
Okay. And right now, as of work, because we’re recording this month before it comes out. We’re the same exact amount postpartum, I’m pretty sure Yeah, right? May 4, so you’re about almost 11 weeks postpartum. So you’re right at the two to four months. So that’ll be interesting. Hopefully, hopefully, you don’t you still like have no issues with the gallbladder. I was just curious. And before pregnancy, how was your gallbladder.

Olivia Haas 17:10
So before pregnancy, I was feeling really good. I, you know, I prepped my body for like six months before pregnancy. So I gave myself that time, it really worked on my gut health really worked in my liver, hormonal wise, like, I was feeling really good. So one thing that I noticed, after getting my tax controlled is I always experienced gallbladder symptoms around my menstrual cycle. And so I would not necessarily get attacks, but I would have pain and spasms. And it almost felt like someone was like poking me with a pen. And so I spent some time and I was dealing with a lot more PMS than to so I spent some time really working on the PMS. And before I got pregnant, I wasn’t having PMS anymore. And I had controlled that little bit of lingering gallbladder symptoms that I was having. So I felt really good going into pregnancy, which I think is important like that, you know, just personally like looking back, I’m really glad I gave my body that time that six months time, because I think it it helped with a lot of the hormonal changes during pregnancy, being aware of them, but also like how to like how to navigate them. And of course, throughout this whole process, like I’ve had the support from my naturopathic doctor that I partnered with, so it’s been really helpful.

Amanda Montalvo 18:27
Yeah, that’s, I mean, I just think because you know, you have that health history, it just makes so much sense to take the time and have a little patience, which can be so hard to do when you want to get pregnant. I was just curious of like, what that kind of looks like so it’s like you were feeling good before you felt pretty good during minus like, you know, five to six weeks, then around that 30 week mark, but postpartum, really good. So that’s, I think that’s also just like nice to hear for people that maybe have struggled with gallbladder issues, as well to know that like, yes, hormones can impact them, but you there are ways to support your body and still get through it.

Olivia Haas 19:00
100% and I would say like, you know, it is I’m not gonna lie, it’s scary navigating gallbladder disease during pregnancy. And I got asked a lot of questions about like, you know, did, why didn’t you remove it before? Because you do put your body at a higher risk of developing the gall stones and stuff. And you do, there’s that higher risk of having gallbladder attacks during while being pregnant. And I can’t imagine I luckily didn’t have that happen, but I can’t imagine going through that. But you know, I think when you are pregnant and you’re dealing with gallbladder disease, the number one thing we can focus on is your diet and your stress. So you really, one thing that helped him with me is being aware of the hormonal changes, listening to my body, and taking that extra time when I was feeling hormonally off to rest and communicate to loved ones so I could take the time for myself and then I really focused on my diet during pregnancy and I really made sure I was stressing a gallbladder based diet lot To fiber to help with the excess estrogen. And then alongside I had my naturopath that guided me on what herbs and supplements and homeopathy were safe during pregnancy. And I think that’s what made the big difference. So like, you know, when it comes to gallbladder disease and pregnancy, I think it’s important, you do partner with someone, because that is such like a sensitive time. And it’s very difficult to navigate gallbladder disease during pregnancy. So this is during a period where I would highly recommend like, you bring in another practitioner like a naturopath, functional medicine doctors, or I would be happy to help you as a nutritionist, as well.

Amanda Montalvo 20:38
Yeah, I’m sure I mean, because think about it, I think about that all the time with you know, I have a big thyroid health history. And that was something that I struggled with a little bit at the beginning of my pregnancy. And in even just postpartum thinking about like struggles with like breastfeeding and stuff like that. It’s like, this is literally the work that I do. And it’s what I know so much about, and I still got stressed out. So I’m like, imagine how like a normal person feels it doesn’t have like years and years of school about this stuff. So I totally can. It just really makes you empathize with people kind of going through it. But hopefully that helps. You know, you can get through it, even if you decide not to have your gallbladder removed, which we have questions about, which was interesting. But really quick, do you want to go through a little bit with the the menstrual cycle, because this is really interesting. And your gallbladder?

Olivia Haas 21:27
Yeah, this is something that I’ve have been trying to dig into. There’s not much research on it. So you just have to kind of, I really was like this. This is where based off my personal experience, I was like, Okay, this is kind of interesting. Why am I developing symptoms around my menstrual cycle? And then I kept getting asked from people on Instagram, like, hey, is this normal? Why am I getting pain or attacks. And so I started digging into it. And this is again, largely due to the sex hormones impacting your gallbladder health. So most commonly, people report them during ovulation, or the luteal phase. And then the luteal phase, there was one research article that found the gallbladder empty and is most impaired. And that’s because of again, that increase of progesterone. So one thing that really helps with if you are struggling with menstrual symptoms around your menstrual cycle, and gallbladder disease, is really sinking into your cycle. So tapping into, you know, there are different phases, like how to support your body through nutrition, your exercise your mood. And I think, Amanda, you have a really good freebie on that right about,

Amanda Montalvo 22:35
yeah, I have like a free healthy period guide that breaks down, like what’s happening in the different phases and how you can like, eat and support yourself.

Olivia Haas 22:42
Yeah, and I think that’s a really helpful document. I think that’s something that’s helpful to kind of implement during this time. So that way, then you can support when those different fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone are occurring.

Amanda Montalvo 22:55
Yeah, I’m not surprised. I feel like ovulation is such a symptomatic time. Like, obviously, people talk about like PMS and stuff in the luteal phase. But I really hear probably the most symptoms around ovulation because we have that huge increase in estrogen to kind of stimulate all that. So I’m not surprised that some people experience more gallbladder issues with that the progesterone is just so it’s because it’s such a healing or hormone, right? It’s so metabolic, it bounces out estrogen. So it’s, it’s like weird hearing it that it’s like, okay, well, it can cause actually cause issues with that sphincter of Oddi. And how you’re like the flow of the bile. It’s very interesting. So we talked about estrogen. Yeah, I think about people that supplement with progesterone too. And I’m like, I use it at the beginning of pregnancy. I didn’t have any issues, but it just makes you, you know, maybe like pause a little bit with using it. And now I’ll really think about that for people if they have a history of gallbladder issues. We talked about estrogen, progesterone, let’s talk about the thyroid, because you have a post on this, it’s so good, and how our thyroid directly impacts how our gallbladder functions. Yeah, and

Olivia Haas 24:01
there’s really a bi directional relationship because your gallbladder can impact your thyroid too. So again, with that sphincter of Oddi and gallbladder function, so that impaired bioflow and that it results from that lack of tea for impacting the sphincter of Oddi. And that regulates that bile flow into the small intestine. And this has been a big contributor to formation of bile duct stone. So what a lot of people don’t realize is you can still continue to develop gallstones after you remove your gallbladder but instead they store in the bile duct, but it can also contribute to of course, your gall stones because again, it’s that thicker bile cholesterol metabolism. So that lack of tea for in hypothyroidism decreases liver cholesterol metabolism, again, altering that bio, so making it that and then poor absorption of fat soluble vitamins. So on the other hand, if your gallbladder is not functioning properly, your body’s not digesting, absorbing those fat soluble vitamins and fatty acids and that can impact your thyroid hormone. In excess estrogen and toxins and heavy metals, again, going back to the importance of bile and how bile helps to remove out that it’s a form of detoxification that helps to remove out the excess estrogen toxins and heavy metals. So when that bile flow becomes impaired from either one or gallbladder is not contracting, well, maybe it’s packed with gallstones or two, we don’t have a gallbladder, then that’s where that excess estrogen starts to impact the thyroid. And then finally, like the poor gut health, so impairing your bioflow. So your gut can play a big role in making sure that you have that healthy conversion of T four, T three. So as I mentioned, SIBO is super common with gallbladder disease. And I should mention a lot of times SIBO mimics a lot of gallbladder symptoms. So I think it’s one of those other things that if you do suspect SIBO, it’s important to try to get that rolled out and get it tested.

Amanda Montalvo 25:54
Oh, that’s so interesting. I feel like I have I’ve definitely, I feel like everyone I see already has their gallbladder removed for the most part. And you said that when we started, you’re like, I feel like most of your audience will already have it removed. Yeah, probably because people just aren’t educated on like, here’s some signs that it could possibly be your gallbladder. And then it’s like too late. You talked about how you still can have gallstones even without your gallbladder. So what would that look like for someone? Yeah, they have symptoms.

Olivia Haas 26:22
Yes, it’s it’s very similar symptoms to gall bladders or gall stones. And it can result in the same gallbladder attacks. So the gallbladder attacks are the extreme upper right quadrant pain, sometimes the pain goes up to your back shoulders, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and it’s just excruciating pain that can last for a couple hours. Sometimes, you know, more than eight hours. And it could cause sometimes if it gets really bad backup of jaundice, like a whole mess of things. But for just to give you an idea how painful gallbladder attacks can be, I have some females that say, they’re worse than labor. I personally think labor was worse, but

Amanda Montalvo 27:05
I was gonna ask him like what you did, you went to labor. So what is your?

Olivia Haas 27:09
Yeah, I think labor is worse. But I also had a very fast labor. So I don’t really get breaks and contractions. And I think the thing is with pregnancy or labor, you have a joy at the end of the pain, right? Yeah. With gallbladder attacks, you don’t? Yeah, it’s not writing it out. And then you deal with the fatigue, I call it the gallbladder attack hangover. Because for the couple of days after you feel hungover, you feel like you’re just a mess, you’re fatigued. And so the bile duct when those get stuck in caused kind of similar pain,

Amanda Montalvo 27:43
okay, that’s very interesting. Because it’s kind of like, well, then you’re still dealing with a lot of the same issues, even from when you had your gallbladder. So it’s, I don’t know, it makes me think like, why, why get it removed? Is it totally necessary? Which we’ll we have a question on that from Instagram. So we’ll go into that. So if you guys are listening, and you’re like, I have thyroid issues, and I suspect gallbladder issues or you have known gallbladder issues, maybe you got it removed. I’m going to link I have a free thyroid training that has so much information in there on like how to support your body. I also have thyroid, like a whole series that we did in season two of the podcast. So go watch those if you’re like, Okay, well, I think that thyroids, my kind of like root cause issue and you want to support it, there’s tons of info there. Okay, so we talked about the gallbladder, how it what it does in the body, how our hormones impacted how thyroid impacts your gallbladder, and vice versa. Let’s go into like, what, what actually causes gallbladder disease.

Olivia Haas 28:41
Yeah, so there’s a lot, you know, traditionally, we’re told, and I don’t really like this, but it’s, they cut the I forget if it’s four or five F’s now. So it’s female, fertile fat, and in your 40s Oh, my gosh, yes. I don’t really agree with. But he made that up. And that, I don’t really know. But if you search, what causes gallbladder disease, that’s kind of like they caught the five or four apps. I can’t remember if they added another one is to me, I hate that they throw fat in there. And I say fabulous. But yeah. But largely, we’re told gallbladder disease is caused usually because we’re females and were fertile. And maybe genetics caused it. But there’s really a lot more that goes into gallbladder disease and what causes it. So when we look at diet diets that are high in processed foods, so a lot of people think saturated fats are the reason for gallbladder disease, but it’s actually really, that refined carbohydrates and refined sugars. So diets that are high in processed foods, diets high and fat, and low and fiber, diets, high in protein and low in fiber have all been linked to gallbladder disease. And then when we look at your hormones, so we talked about birth control HRT, we also talked about menopause pregnancy. Gluten Intolerance celiac disease has been linked to gogo disease, low thyroid function, PCOS Hashimotos imbalances in the gut, so parasites dysbiosis, H. Pylori, and then as well as insulin resistance again, because that impacted the cholesterol lipid metabolism, but they share a lot of similar risk factors, fast weight loss or being overweight. And then overeating are some just to list a few. But when it comes down to gallbladder disease, it really stems from three things in the body one inflammation to poor cholesterol lipid metabolism stemming in the liver and liver congestion. And then poor gallbladder motility. So those are things that we really want to work on when we talk about trying to approach gallbladder disease with the natural approach.

Amanda Montalvo 30:49
Okay, and that was inflammation, poor gallbladder motility, and what was the second one

Olivia Haas 30:54
and poor cholesterol metabolism or liver congestion. So a lot of people really think a lot of people functional medicine, natural medicine, believe and I agree with this 100% Gobbo disease is more of a disease of the liver and the gut than it is the gallbladder itself. So when you take a natural approach to gallbladder disease, you really are focusing more on bringing down inflammation, focusing on the gut, what’s going down what’s happening in that foundation down there, and then looking at that liver, because your liver ultimately is what’s creating the bile, and then supporting that gallbladder motility stems from your thyroid, but also making sure that your stress is controlled.

Amanda Montalvo 31:42
Hey, Amanda, here, just giving you a quick break, hopefully a break for your brain in the middle of this podcast episode, to remind you that if you haven’t gone through our free training, optimizing hormone health through mineral balance, we really do recommend starting there. And the main reason for that is because you’re going to hear us say things like mineral foundation, having a solid foundation, are you putting the foundations in place, especially what we’ll be getting deeper and deeper into different hormonal topics and specific imbalances in the body, the, the mineral foundation is always going to be so essential. So if you haven’t watched the free training, you can find it in our show notes. Or you can go to hormone healing rd.com. And it’s going to be right on that front page there. But we really recommend starting there so you can understand how is your current mineral status? How do you assess this? And how to get started with all that just so you can get as much as you possibly can out of the rest of the podcast episodes. But that’s it. I hope you enjoy the rest of this episode.

Yeah, and that’s like one, I feel like you talk about those all like really well, on your Instagram. I received so many posts when I was like planning out this episode. I was like, it’s so many. There’s so many areas to get into. But I’m like, yeah, like, you can look at the list of all the things that are linked with gallbladder disease. But I’m really happy that you mentioned those top three, because ultimately, there’s a dysfunction somewhere. And if like, I like to look at things holistically, I always say nothing happens in isolation in the body. So yes, like, you may have PCOS and gallbladder issues, but it’s like, okay, what are where’s the route going to be for both of those things? And like, how do they overlap? So I think that’s very interesting. Can you talk about the fast weight loss? Can Can you explain how exactly that can? How can that lead to gallbladder issues?

Olivia Haas 33:32
Yeah, so they suggest that potentially what causes it is during the weight reduction, basically, when you’re in that reduced calorie intake, it can cause the bio to be more stagnant. And then you have on top of that increase, like pullup, biliary cholesterol saturation. I also question like, What, you know, in some of these research articles, what did the diet look like that also cause that, you know, that health of the bile that is causing that increased in the classroom mobilization? So again, with that combination of like your bile being stagnant, on top of the bile being thick, having that increase of cholesterol to bile salts, it’s the same formation is the same process that forms gall stones, okay?

Amanda Montalvo 34:19
Okay. It’s just it’s just interesting how it like everything is where you know that fast weight loss can cause gallbladder issues, but then gallbladder issues can cause fast weight loss, like everything is everything impacts each other. And then I know we were emailing about nutrient deficiencies. We were kind of going back and forth with like mineral stuff. And like, I always think of when I hear the how thyroid I mean, how T four is so important for just all the different mechanisms and like managing the bile. I was like, Well, of course, what doesn’t the thyroid impact? I always think of minerals. When I think of thyroid health, like we I know you sent me I was looking at some Some articles on like copper, magnesium was very interesting. I looked for some iodine to everything is just correlative. I couldn’t find any, like clinical trials. But it was still very interesting. And it just seems like it’s like if something impacts our insulin mechanisms, and if it increases insulin resistance, it’s gonna definitely contribute. And if it impacts our thyroid, it seems like those nutrients that feel those different organs, that’s going to be like the biggest thing.

Olivia Haas 35:31
Yeah. And it was interesting, I think I told you, you know, one thing that the naturopath and I really talked about is how common most of our clients come to us and they’re anemic, or they report that they have the low iron. And so this is something we’ve been digging into a ton, obviously, then to you also have that vitamin D, I would say almost anyone with gallbladder problems, either has super low vitamin D, or they’re deficient in it. So most often, they’re either on an iron supplement or vitamin D supplement.

Amanda Montalvo 36:03
But I’m like, Oh my gosh, don’t take iron, because then you’re going to increase your inflammation, and then we’re going to mess everything up. Because when I think low iron, I think low copper, and lower low vitamin A, and honestly, I was trying to look at vitamin A deficiency, and people with either gallbladder disease or removal. And everything is all the research is on vitamin D, vitamin A never gets any attention, which is tragic, because I’m like vitamin A is so important for your thyroid. So I could totally see that. But that’s it makes you really wonder if all these people you’re seeing that have iron deficiency. It’s like, what is their copper and vitamin A status, like, you know,

Olivia Haas 36:40
you have a really good, I’ve learned so much from you, you have a really good podcast on the relationship of copper and iron than I think if anyone has iron deficiencies, it’s really eye opening to listen to that.

Amanda Montalvo 36:53
And I’ll put that in the show notes. Just put a reminder now because my brain will not remember to do that. We got on to so Olivia and I had our babies on the exact same day. And we started this podcast episode. And we’re both kind of like, man, hope this goes well, because we were both about almost 11 weeks postpartum. And it’s just you know, it’s amazing, but it’s also really hard. And yes, my brains just like baby, it’s like nothing else. Yeah, so I think we’re doing pretty good though. I think I think we’re doing pretty good. But yeah, the the mineral piece is just interesting. And like nutrients in general. It definitely makes you think like, minerals. I think they’re foundational. I think they’re important for everything. And yes, like if you have gallbladder issues, you want to focus in on specific things. But you can never, you can ever skip all those other steps, especially because how much stress impacts it which is very, I mean, what doesn’t stress impacts, but it’s interesting how you’ve seen it. Research shows it how like when you specifically have more stressful times, like that’s when you have those gallbladder attacks. Yeah. Yeah. So those are kind of like the different possible causes. But again, I really like your wrap up of like the inflammation, the poor gallbladder motility, the poor cholesterol metabolism, liver congestion, like I think putting that everything to those categories makes a lot more sense. So some of the questions that we got from Instagram, you guys had so many questions. I’m going to try to get to as many as we can with Olivia, I think one of the top ones that we got in there was about gallbladder flushes, so and like different, like Cleanse like gallbladder cleanses. So do you want to talk about like, what is the gallbladder flush? And does it actually support your gallbladder health? Like What’s your stance on it?

Olivia Haas 38:38
Yeah, my opinion, the gallbladder flush is a tool, but it doesn’t fix the root cause of gallbladder disease. So the issue with the flesh is it’s not addressing one Why did you develop gallstones? Nor will it prevent future gall stones. And I think that’s the biggest problem. So that’s why it’s a tool is a tool that you can add in. Personally, I don’t use it in practice, due to liability reasons, there is the risk of a gallstone getting stuck and requiring surgery. So I don’t personally use it. But I do partner with a naturopathic doctor and she will walk the claims through the gallbladder flush. But there are some things that we do to take precautions before I guess we’re just a little bit more cautious in general regarding the flush, so we do make sure that the clients have ultrasound before doing the flush so we can understand what are the size of the gallstones? How many are there? What’s the health of the gallbladder with the size of the bile duct? So you can kind of know is there a potential for a gallstone to get stuck, and then to we always require an ultrasound and after because there’s a lot of debate with the flushes if they’re actually effective, or if the individual is just passing a lot of cholesterol deposits. There’s a lot of unknown there. And so that’s where that follow up. Ultrasound is really important. I’ve seen a lot of people pass a ton of stones And they think that okay, I got rid of gall stones, but then they do an ultrasound and all the gall stones are still there. So this is the tricky part with the cleanse. I’m not saying it’s not effective, I’ve seen it be effective for some people. When you do do a cleanse, I usually recommend to that you implement a really good gallbladder diet couple months before, so I usually anyone that inquires about doing a flush, I encourage them, hey, like work on the issue work on the root cause work on a good gallbladder diet for at least three to six months prior to doing the flush. The reason why is because that’s going to help address that bile issue. Again, the gallbladder flush won’t fix the bio problem. So we want to start working on reducing down the inflammation, working on making sure we’re eating a diet that’s supportive for your gallbladder and liver. And we’re working on that stress to make sure that we’re addressing those three problems, then go and execute the gallbladder flush, the more you can work on that bile ahead of time, bio naturally will start to shrink gall stones on their own. So this can make it more effective to kind of shrink down some of those smaller gall stones and make them easier to pass. So that’s just kind of my recommendation before doing the flushes. The other recommendation is I don’t advise you to do them. Anytime that you experience a lot of gallbladder pain and attacks. So you want to make sure your symptoms are controlled ahead of time. The reason why is because you are consuming a lot more fats than what a normal person would in a diet it requires. There’s different types of flushes where some people are using grapefruit, some people are using Epsom salts, malic acid, there’s different techniques that people use, and then you consume a ton of olive oil, that olive oil will tell your gallbladder to contract pretty hard. And if you if your gallbladder is already inflamed, or if you’re already having a ton of attacks and pain, you’re basically putting fire on a flame and so or vice versa. No fire. You see, that’s the pregnancy brain there. Yes, adding to the fire, I think. So you just want to be careful when you do execute the flesh in that way.

Amanda Montalvo 42:09
What’s interesting to me is how you’re like okay, don’t do it. If you have current like symptoms, and you’ve recently had an attack, but I feel like those are probably the people that want to do it right, because they’re like almost desperate for relief. So that’s I feel like that’s really important to know, and that the way that you’re approaching it, all you’re doing is just trying to really understand like, what is the function of the gallbladder, like even looking at like the bile duct size and everything? Like will you have stones that get caught? It’s really easy to like see trendy flushes or gallbladder cleanses online and to think like, that’s gonna, that’s what I should do. Like, that should be my next step. But I think you’re right, it’s so important to look at, like, that’s not going to fix the root cause, like, so what are you just going to keep doing the flushes like, that also doesn’t sound very fun.

Olivia Haas 42:56
No, I wouldn’t want to drink that much olive oil on a continual basis. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Amanda Montalvo 43:06
Have you done a gallbladder flush?

Olivia Haas 43:07
I’ve done when it’s been five years. So I just don’t want to go back. And I don’t even want to do that again.

Amanda Montalvo 43:16
Okay, so it’s really so interesting. It’s like if we could actually focus on bile, then that would help the gall stones,

Olivia Haas 43:24
correct? Yep. So that’s where a large part of it stems in that liver and improving that bile flow.

Amanda Montalvo 43:31
And then a lot of people asked about like gallbladder surgery. So in like castor oil packs and stuff like that. Have you seen anything with casserole helping gallbladder issues?

Olivia Haas 43:43
Yeah, casserole packs can be super helpful. They’ve been studied to reduce inflammation, that liver again, that livers that critical key organ for gallbladder disease, but so we want that liver for good bile production, but they’re also useful for constipation, and constipation is usually an issue with gallbladder disease. And we want to make sure that we maintain those healthy bile flow so that prevention of cholesterol toxins and excess estrogen is important to reduce down that stress on the liver and restore bile to normal composition. So castor oil packs are really good for constipation, reducing down that stress, they can also be beneficial if you’re experiencing gallbladder pain and attacks, especially when that heat is applied. It just helps kind of relax. So they are really good to add in, I would say before and after surgery. So just again, just a lot of liver support before and after surgery, because even after surgery, your liver takes on more stress. So I think it’s good individuals bring in castor oil packs like one to two times per week.

Amanda Montalvo 44:44
Cool. Yeah, no, that’s it’s such an easy thing that you can do at home too, which is nice. Is there any way you can avoid I mean, obviously there is where you can avoid gallbladder surgery because you did not have it. But a lot of people asked about that is like can you opt out like can you work? On your gallbladder health without having it removed.

Olivia Haas 45:03
Yeah, you definitely can. And I mean, I’m not against surgery, there’s 100% cases where gallbladder surgery is a must. But you know, there’s a lot of research that shows more than 80% of gall stones are asymptomatic, meaning that you can control your symptoms. And the number one way we do that is through diet lifestyle, but working on the problem. And so when it comes to gall stones, there’s not really a quick fix to get rid of it unless the anterior the gall stones unless you do gallbladder surgery. But you have to keep in mind, gallbladder surgery is used to treat gallbladder attacks. So if you’re having a ton of gallbladder attacks, and you’ve worked on your diet, you’ve worked on your lifestyle, you worked on the problem, then yes, surgery probably is most likely needed at that point. But it doesn’t necessarily fix the problem. And it’s not surgery, gallbladder surgery is not a cure all. So if you want to work on, you know, keeping your gallbladder, this is where you have to work on the root cause and the root cause will help you to address you know, why did I develop the gall stones, it’ll help you to prevent future ones and prevent those gall stones from growing bigger. And this is where, you know, if you work with a gastroenterologist, they’re really great to partner with. They’ll provide you the proper testing everything but to work on the root cause this is where you may need to work with a different practitioner. So a functional MD and naturopathic doctor like what I did, or myself as a nutritionist to really get down to the problem that stems again and that liver congestion, inflammation, the body poor gallbladder Matel motility and the poor question metabolism. So you want to work first on reducing down the inflammation in the body. So if you did a more root cause approach to get rid of gall stones long term, right, we’re not doing a quick fix here. This is what you would do you first addressed anything going on in the gut. So the reason why is because we want to address any inflammation in the body, those bacterias in the in the gut, the reason why it’s because your gut connects to your liver. So through that gut liver access, it can impact your liver, it can make your liver more stressed. And the more stressed your liver is, the worse the bile production is. But the gut can also impact your hormones. And we need healthy hormones for good gallbladder motility. So I really like to spend some time on looking at what’s going on in an individual’s gut. And then we want to work on restoring that bile to normal composition. So again, what’s causing the bile to be thick in the liver? So we look at those potential causes that could be causing the poor bile composition. So is it diet is your your thyroid? Is it insulin resistance class, your metabolism. When you restore that bile back to normal composition, it slowly starts to shrink the existing gall stones, but it also prevents future gall stones. And that’s ultimately what we want. We talked about constipation. So that prevention of reabsorption of like cholesterol, toxins, excess estrogen, again, taking stress off that liver, so if you can’t, if you didn’t get it by now, we’re really focused on your liver more than the gallbladder and then to shrink the gall stones. So we support it with a diet. So really good gallbladder diet, which is very high in fiber. It may be more leaner protein sources, obviously, because people with gallbladder disease may not be able to tolerate those higher fat proteins initially, but down the road they might be able to So initially, they might be on leaner protein sources, a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables to get a lot of those antioxidants in, and of course, healthy fats. So we want to maintain healthy fats, I don’t recommend usually low fat diets for gallbladder disease. The healthy fats are crucial to reduce down inflammation remember one of those causes of gallbladder problems, but also keeps that healthy bile flow. So it tells your gallbladder to continue contracting at a healthy rate we may use like herbal medicine. So there’s two different forms of herbs that help support bioflow. So we have some one is called cola Gog, which helps to increase bile from the gallbladder to intestines. So those are things like dandelion, Oregon, grape and Burdock. And then we on the other hand, we have herbs to help increase production and secretion of bile from the liver. So Tumeric Yarrow, Barbary artichoke peppermint, so it would be good like to partner with like if when you’re looking at supplements for gallbladder disease, herbs are super beneficial for gallbladder. There’s tons of research on herbs for GABA and liberal house so you can work with an herbalist to the naturopathic doctor I partner with will formulate individualize tinctures, for my clients that will help with keeping up bioflow We’ve even used some that kind of help to get the gallbladder the gall stones get released. I’ve had some people just release gallstones naturally through different herbs. So herbal medical, yeah, it can be really beneficial. And then we look at your lifestyle. So making sure you maintain X Are sighs working on the stress, castor oil packs again are really good to help restore that bile.

Amanda Montalvo 50:07
And one question about like the the cola Gog versus the choleretic herbs. So the collagen helps increase bile from gallbladder to intestines. The choleretic is good for the production secretion. How do you know which one you need,

Olivia Haas 50:23
you ultimately kind of want both because we want the both to be flowing. Remember, we want that bio to stay thin and flowing between the liver and gallbladder. One thing to mention about cola gogs. The only time we may kind of peel back on using these is if you are dealing with a lot of gallbladder pain and attacks, these can be quite stimulating for the gallbladder. So at this period of time, you may not use things like dandelion, and burdock, which are super common. But other than that doing it you’ll see a lot of like gallbladder supplements or liver supplements have a combination of both.

Amanda Montalvo 51:01
Very cool. And we’ll I’ll make sure that I link she’s got some cool posts, Instagram posts on that. There’s a lot of people that are preparing for gallbladder surgery. Interestingly, what are your tips for that? How can people kind of like mentally and physically prepare themselves for gallbladder surgery?

Olivia Haas 51:19
Yeah, so I like that you asked mentally because there’s a lot of fear associated with gallbladder disease, but specifically gallbladder surgery. So a lot of people are afraid to remove their gallbladder because they’re afraid they hear these stories about, you know, I’m going to deal with constantly running to the bathroom after am I going to gain weight after gallbladder surgery, hair loss, like there’s a lot of fear associated to it. So one mentally taking that time to know you’re going through surgery. So you need to allow your body to rest. And during this time might be a period where you ask for a loved one to kind of help you. And so just giving that body giving your time to rest those initial days after surgery and mentally. One thing that I often find is a lot of people will spend their time googling or on Facebook groups, and they’re reading other people’s stories. And this can really cause a huge fear factor in going through surgery. And so I recommend usually, like if you’re worried about surgery, like avoid Google, avoid the Facebook groups avoid the things that are causing you stress. Before leading up to surgery. One thing you have to keep in mind with gallbladder surgery, those symptoms that can occur for some individuals after surgery are largely due to either factors that were pre existing before surgery. So for example, like if someone has PCOS or hyperthyroidism, they may have some more symptoms, initially, couple months following surgery, just because the changes depending on if they’re not supporting their body, right? Same thing if someone has bacteria imbalances in the gut, if you don’t address SIBO, before gallbladder surgery, SIBO is still going to exist after gallbladder surgery. So you’re still going to constantly be dealing with a lot of digestive problems. So you have to keep that in mind when you’re reading other people’s stories and then to like, what is their diet like, you know, what did they do after gallbladder surgery? Did they just go back to eating whatever they wanted? Because that’s what they were told was okay, or did they implement a healthy lifestyle, and then physically, like when you look at surgery, even though like gallbladder surgery is performed quite frequently, and we’re told, eat whatever you want after gallbladder surgery, I can tell you, this is the number one thing you don’t want to do, you want to look at surgery, as your body’s changing your digestion changing, you have to support your body in a different way. And so we have to really nourish our body. And you want to kind of look at it the initial few days after surgery as like feeding a baby. So your gut is like an baby, you got to be really gentle with the foods you’re putting in your body. So for the first you know, week or two, this is where we might use a more low fat diet just because we’re not going to be able to digest fats as well. We’re going to prepare with lots of soup. So lots of bone broth, soups, lots of like healing foods, easy to digest lots of like root vegetables, a lot of warming foods during this time. And then we want to introduce foods slowly so especially with those fats, so a lot of times people develop a fear of fats after gallbladder surgery. So one thing I work with them is the reintroduction of those fats. So each week, something I usually recommend is focusing on one food to reintroduce so for example, like eggs are a big trigger food for a lot of people. So maybe by week three, we’re going to try egg whites the following week. By week four, we’re going to do one egg white and a full egg yolk just to gain that confidence back as you bring fats in and then just know that your body went through surgery and so constipation diarrhea, nausea, feeling nauseous, pain and heartburn are super common within the first two weeks they can be even common all the way To the four week mark, if it continues, then that’s where definitely work with a professional and know that any symptoms that occur after gallbladder surgery, all have a root cause and they can all be reversed. So they’re not things that you have to live with the rest of your life, you do not have to suffer. And I think that’s one thing. If you’re not feeling you’re getting health after gallbladder surgery, this is where we have to be advocates for our own health and really seek out a different type of professional to help us.

Amanda Montalvo 55:27
I love that. And I really like that you emphasize like, hey, a lot of these symptoms that might not be amazing, like the constipation, the diarrhea, the heartburn. They can be normal after surgery, you know? So that, that when people aren’t freaking out, they’re not like scared that, you know, they’re doing something wrong. And I know you have your gallbladder reset. I feel like that would probably be the most helpful tool for people just to like, understand, because that’s post surgery, right? Yeah,

Olivia Haas 55:56
yeah, I’ll walk you through everything you need to do to support your body without a gallbladder. But it also has tips if you’re preparing for gallbladder surgery. There are some modules on what to do, and then how to support your body after so I walk you through my framework of supporting the body without a gallbladder. So we really focused on your digestion, your gut health, what is your lifestyle diet look like? What is your liver health look like?

Amanda Montalvo 56:21
Everything’s about the liver. I love it. Yeah. Let’s deliver a few things. You had probably like the most common question that we got, honestly was, how do I support digestion? Do I need to take ox bile? Do I take digestive enzymes, digestive bitters? So obviously, it’s gonna be different for each person. But can you talk about that after like surgery what?

Olivia Haas 56:45
Yeah, and to your point, this is has to be really individualized because depending on like, what symptoms are occurring after gallbladder surgery, it may some some of these products may not work for others. So the digestion is so critical to address after gallbladder surgery, your body can function without a gallbladder, but the physiology of digestion changes and your digestion is kind of your foundation, it can impact so many areas of the body, like we previously mentioned, if you’re not digesting, absorbing fats, well, that can impact your hormones, right? So we want to start there. But before you even start with any supplements, you have to be mindful of what is your stress? And what are your eating habits like so are you eating on the go? Are you chewing your food slowly, so we want to make sure that we’re setting this critical step first, because this is going to make sure that we’re optimizing our own body’s natural process to make sure that we’re producing the enzymes, the bile and the stomach acid to make sure we’re digesting properly. And then when it comes to supplements. The most common supplement that is recommended after gallbladder surgery is ox bile, or sometimes you read it as colic acid on products. And this it’s a form of bile salt that basically is used after gallbladder surgery to help get your digestion as close as possible to what it was before. So it replaces that loss of concentrated bile without a gallbladder. So ox Bile is usually recommended. That being said, people who are dealing with like bile acid malabsorption bile dumping ox bile can be quite irritating, so this may be where we use lipase instead. And lipase is an enzyme produced by the pancreas that can also help digest fat. So I like to use high amounts of lipase for individuals who are sensitive to bile salts or ox bile. And then you have digestive bitters are digestive enzymes. These also can be helpful to support digestion after the digestive bitters are herbs that naturally stimulate your bile, your digestive enzymes and stomach acid, so they’re better to take long term digestive enzymes you can use temporarily, especially like when people are dealing with a carbohydrate and times a lot of bloating after surgery, the enzymes might be a little bit more helpful to bring in.

Amanda Montalvo 59:03
That’s really interesting. And I love bitters. If anyone’s listened for a long time, they know I’m obsessed with bitters. And I’m like, well, and there’s certain ones that support your liver even more. I bet that would be really helpful for someone that had gallbladder surgery.

Olivia Haas 59:17
Yep. Yeah. So again, kind of a two for one. And the cool thing with bitters is like you can work with an herbalist to individualize the bitters for yourself, too. And that’s what’s really neat. And then choline. Choline is great post op too, because it’s again, that liver component, so it’s been studied to reduce down that fat accumulation in the liver. So fatty liver becomes extremely common after gallbladder surgery and choline deficient diets specifically, have been linked to higher risk of fatty liver. Because Coleen really works with your B vitamins also to support digestion, and helps maintain that clash on metabolism. So even like in a gallbladder based diet, I like to use a lot of beef vitamins are choline, just to help support the cholesterol metabolism and reducing the risk of gall stones.

Amanda Montalvo 1:00:07
And man eggs are a trigger foods. So that’s tricky. Yeah, exactly.

Olivia Haas 1:00:10
Yeah, they’re one of the biggest trigger foods. So a lot of breakfast is really hard with gallbladder disease, because everyone’s so used to eating eggs. And so you really have to retrain, when it comes to breakfast, you have to retrain your mind that, you know, you can eat lunch for breakfast, you can eat dinner for breakfast, like leftovers. I do a lot of turkey burgers, and for breakfast, which is where a lot of people ask, but they’re easy to make, and they’re easy to throw on.

Amanda Montalvo 1:00:38
So yeah. And one thing you talked about was like how your digestion can change after having your gallbladder removed. And even just like your bowel movements, and everything, how I think probably one of the most common things I hear is like loose stools, and like having to use it right after eating. Let’s wrap up with how people can minimize that after they get their gallbladder removed.

Olivia Haas 1:01:01
Yeah, this is the number one concern, and I would say probably one of the common symptoms. So it could be called Bio dumping or bile acid malabsorption. And it basically occurs when too much Bile is released more than the body is able to absorb and that excess bile acids cause disruption in the colon. And it can result in like diarrhea or sense of urgency. So there’s different ways you can manage this. One thing I want to note with bile acid malabsorption, or bile dumping, if it’s occurring, is one of those symptoms that do take a little bit longer to reverse after gallbladder surgery. So don’t give up, you know, give yourself six months, maybe a year to kind of work on this. And you can there’s you can either combine combine conventional medicine, which they have pharmaceuticals or bile acid binders that you can use temporarily. Or we can look at a natural approach. And so when we look at a natural approach, we have to combined kind of like a look at your diet, your lifestyle, what is your stress look like? So with diet, we want to remove out any gut air intense, so anything that can be causing inflammation in the gut. Usually, in this case, recommend removing the glue and inflammation, coffee can be a huge problem with bio dumping. So if you’re dealing with this instantly look at reconsider your coffee. So maybe that first cup of coffee in the morning, the day is replaced with something like matcha dandelions a really good alternative, sugary route. Some people do better with iced coffee or decaf, and then opt for that stronger cup of coffee later in the morning or later in the afternoon or not later in the afternoon, but like mid morning or after lunch, or just reconsider drinking coffee at all. If like you are having this issue of constantly running to the restroom, we want to make sure that bio is flowing nicely throughout your meals. So consuming three large meals will trigger the bile to release at a higher amount. So something that helps instead is doing about three meals and couple snacks. So in this case, we might do three meals and maybe two, maybe three snacks throughout the day. We want to make sure those meals are all balanced, right with protein, carbs, fats, this snacks can be all three macronutrients or at least pare that protein carb in that way that is helping to control make sure that Bile is not all released at once. Fiber is critical for this. And so you want to make sure you’re hitting your fiber minimum target of 25 to 30 grams for females, you can add in fiber supplement aid to help so partially hydrolyzed guar gum has been studied really, for a lot of loose stool diarrhea, Acacia fiber is really good too for more sensitive guts. And then we want to make sure that we’re balancing out that fat fiber ratio. So in this case, again, as I mentioned, you want to balance out the fat amongst all your meals. But you might have to play around with your fat macronutrient range as you kind of work on this. And then lifestyle wise, these are things that can be helpful. I like to incorporate acupuncture. There’s also sometimes physical therapy, there’s physical therapists that can work on improving your digestive function. So the do trigger point therapy, the work on the ileocecal valve, the work on the vagus nerve, different things like that, and your colon, and just making sure you really relaxed before those meals and I know it can be very stressful, especially when you’re dealing with this symptom. It’s stressful to know what to eat. That’s not going to cause you to run the restroom, especially when you’re juggling a ton of things. But really taking those five deep breaths before a meal can go a long way.

Amanda Montalvo 1:04:44
The physical therapy is very cool. Yeah.

Olivia Haas 1:04:47
And I’m not entirely sure like how you know the exact mechanisms of physical therapy but when I have incorporated it before, it has been super helpful for patients If

Amanda Montalvo 1:05:00
it’s just me, and do you think that would be like any physical therapist would know that?

Olivia Haas 1:05:05
No. So that is the tricky part, you do have to call and ask like, Do you have any physical therapists that work with digestive problems?

Amanda Montalvo 1:05:14
Okay, good to know.

Olivia Haas 1:05:15
There is one other thing too that sometimes helpful. It’s visceral manipulation. So you can look at like, I think it’s barrel Institute, and they have practitioners that you can find through there. Have you done it? No, no, only massage I really have done is just like the general one for constipation.

Amanda Montalvo 1:05:34
Yeah, I feel like that’s all I do for or for like gas and stuff. Now for Elliana. Or like foot reflexology? Like? My friend said that they it works for adults, too. It’s like just the things you don’t think about? Yeah. Are you gonna say something else?

Olivia Haas 1:05:50
Oh, I was gonna say. So Dr. Jacoby. She’s known as the SIBO doctor has a really good video that talks about how to do like ileocecal valve release, that can also be pretty beneficial. In this case,

Amanda Montalvo 1:06:07
I will try to find that and then put that in the notes. I found it. Yep, I need to buy this fast. So I’ll put I’ll make sure I put that in the show notes if you guys want to look at that, which is kind of nice. Because you can do that at home. And it’s safe and everything. Really very cool. There’s I feel like there’s so much more we could talk about, but I’ve kept you long enough. Thank you so much for doing this. Olivia, I really appreciate it. Make sure you guys follow at gallbladder dot nutritionist on Instagram, I’m gonna link with a program that we talked about the gallbladder removal reset. So again, that’s good for people preparing for surgery, or for post surgery if you want some support. And that is like a do it on their own. But then there’s also like a membership, right?

Olivia Haas 1:06:53
Correct. Yep. So I do monthly q&a. He’s trying to do some educational topics, they get new meal plans released in there. So constantly kind of getting in there to bring some of the excitement in the community there.

Amanda Montalvo 1:07:06
Yeah, I think I think that’s really helpful if you want if you need a really specific approach. Obviously, you can check out Olivia’s website, I’m going to link that as well on or your corp.com and then gallbladder diet.com, and work with her one on one if you need more of that support. But there’s other resources that she has too, and just go to her Instagram, there’s so much free information on there. Really, really helpful. Hopefully this everyone else found this really interesting whether you have gallbladder issues or not. And I just can’t thank you enough for being here.

Olivia Haas 1:07:36
Oh, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it

Amanda Montalvo 1:07:52
thank you for listening to the RU menstrual podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider leaving us a review and sharing the podcast with someone you think it will help. If you are new here, we can’t recommend enough to start with our mineral imbalance quiz. This is gonna give you an idea if you are at low, moderate or high risk for mineral imbalances. And then of course, make sure you follow us on Instagram at hormone healing rd. And consider signing up for our newsletter if you like nerding out and you’re just loving these podcasts but maybe you’re a little bit more visual and you want to see things too. We go into a ton of detail in our weekly newsletter. So we would love to have you join us there. All right, thank you and we will see you in the next episode.

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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