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Bile acid malabsorption (BAM)


MisterT

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Hello Group,

I found most of my diarrhea is due to not having a gall bladder.  Some people get along fine after gall bladder surgery, and some do not.  I am one of the ones who does not.  the problem is called Bile Acid Malabsorption (BAM).  The solution is a drug for cholesterol called Welchol.  The use of Welchol for BAM is an off-label use, but many doctors who are familiar with this problem will prescribe it.

Got another solution for BAM?  Be glad to hear it.

MisterT

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Jeffrey Roberts

Hi and welcome,

Sorry that you have to deal with Bile Acid Diarrhea after having your gallbladder removed. Welchol, Cholestyramine (Questran) and Colestid are really the only treatments that I have heard of.

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Jeffrey Roberts

Gastroenterologists generally know that they should rule this out before a diagnosis of IBS, but it seems unless you bring it up they often don't investigate this. There is a diagnostic test called a SeHCAT test which could be used to rule it out. Sadly, I've never heard anyone that has had that.

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  • Jeffrey Roberts changed the title to Bile acid malabsorption (BAM)
  • 10 months later...
Good evening, I am a 34-year-old girl and 4 years ago I had my gall bladder removed.
 A year after the removal, morning diarrhea started with what I ate. This lasted about 6 months. 
I had a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy and everything was clear. 
After a year the problem started again and now I'm like this every day with what I eat in the morning.
 I learned about cholestyramine from foreign forums because here in Greece not all doctors know about it. 
I finally bought it and started it 1 month ago from one sachet a day. 
The diarrhea stopped, but the stools are definitely 2-3 during the day. 
Before the removal of bile I had nothing with the intestine. What are we going to do ? it's a hassle..
Edited by Asimina
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  • 1 month later...
Jeffrey Roberts

Dear Asimina,

Diarrhea after gallbladder removal is unfortunately a risk. It is referred to as BAM (Bile Acid Malabsorption). You are definitely not alone.

Cholestyramine is often prescribed for this. There is a medication that helps with diarrhea, but not for people without a gallbladder.

1. Have you considered increasing the amount of cholestyramine you are taking?

2. Have you considered using loperamide to stop the diarrhea? You would have to figure out the right amount you need without making you constipated.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had the lab Sehcat done it was the lab draw and of course it was high. Therefore I was started on welchol. It's help some but I still have some issues. Was given questran but I am afraid of getting diarreah again. It it better than welchol?

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Jeffrey Roberts
4 hours ago, cristina said:

I had the lab Sehcat done it was the lab draw and of course it was high. Therefore I was started on welchol. It's help some but I still have some issues. Was given questran but I am afraid of getting diarreah again. It it better than welchol?

That's very good that you were diagnosed properly with a SeHCAT test. Many are not.

I have never used welchol, but have used questran. I find when you get the questran dosage right it is constipating. If welchol is like questran than I don't believe you will need imodium with it. It might make you too constipated.

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1 hour ago, Jeffrey Roberts said:

That's very good that you were diagnosed properly with a SeHCAT test. Many are not.

I have never used welchol, but have used questran. I find when you get the questran dosage right it is constipating. If welchol is like questran than I don't believe you will need imodium with it. It might make you too constipated.

I was really tested per my request. Like a lot others I was told I had IBS-D which all they gave me didn't work. I also had all kinds of tests and even a colonoscopy. Of course they didn't find anything wrong and since my symptoms didn't go away I did some research and found out about BAM due to gallbladder removal. Never heard of that before. I urge anyone with those symptoms to push the test or even try bile acid binders. Thanks for the input about the Imodium

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I had debilitating IBS-D for years.  I was getting close to abandoning my 20+ year teaching career because my flare-ups were so severe that I literally could not do my job. Then, the pandemic hit, and I was able to work from home.  I managed to keep my work-from-home gig for two years, but eventually, like many others, I was ordered back to the physical classroom.  I started combing the internet for a miracle cure because I knew I would not be able work at a job where bathroom access is very limited. I read about BAM and wondered if it could be the cause of my symptoms. I scheduled an appointment with my GI doctor and asked her if she would prescribe cholestyramine. She agreed to let me try it and also prescribed Align probiotic.  I take Align every morning and cholestyramine powder in juice once in the a.m. and once with dinner.  The improvement in my symptoms is extraordinary.  I teach every day with no problems, and I actually have a social life.  I still have some trigger foods that I avoid, but for the most part, I am normal.  I am taking the time to post because I am hoping that others who are suffering can benefit from my experience.  I strongly recommend cholestyramine and Align. If you are suffering with IBS-D, I suggest that you at least give this protocol a try.

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