Bile is a fluid produced in the liver which aids in the digestive process. Bile reflux symptoms happen when that liquid reverses its’ natural flow and creeps back into the stomach and esophagus, which is the connection between the mouth and stomach.
Acid reflux on the other hand, occurs when acid produced in the stomach leaks into the esophagus. This liquid is considerably more acidic than that of bile fluid, which is the cause of the difference.
What Are Bile Reflux Symptoms
The symptoms of bile reflux are as follows:
- Severe pain in the upper abdomen
- Heartburn on a regular basis – a fiery pain in the chest that might travel to your throat
- Upset stomach
- Regurgitation of bile fluid – a greenish-yellow liquid
- An occasional hoarseness or cough
- Unexplained weight loss
These symptoms differ from that of acid reflux, which are:
- Burning pain in your upper chest
- Dyspepsia – overall stomach discomfort
What Causes Bile Reflux Symptoms
Bile reflux may be a result of:
- Complications of Surgery – The pyloric valve may be damaged during gastric surgery as well as gastric bypass surgery to lose weight.
- Peptic Ulcers – The pyloric valve may be blocked and not able to open properly due to a peptic ulcer. Food that is left the stomach can alter the pressure that pushes bile and acid up into the esophagus.
- Gallbladder Removal Surgery (Cholecystectomy) – Anyone who has had their gallbladder removed has an increased risk of bile reflux over people who haven’t had this surgery.
What Can Bile Reflux Lead To
Your stomach is coated with a mucous that protects it from the erosive effects of stomach acid. Your esophagus does not have this coating, so it can be seriously damaged by the acids and bile. Together with acid reflux, bile reflux symptoms increase your risk of these complications:
- GERD – Infrequent heartburn isn’t usually a worry. However, constant bouts of heartburn indicates that you may have GERD, which can develop into a more serious problem. The most common cause GERD is excess acid. It’s not clear if bile plays a role in GERD.
- Barrett’s Esophagus – Is the next step in the progression. This dangerous condition happens when stomach acid damages the esophagus due to acid exposure over a long period of time. If this condition goes untreated, it is a potential cancer hazard.
- Esophageal Cancer – This difficult type of cancer may not be found until it has greatly advanced. Although the possible link between acid and bile reflux symptoms and esophageal cancer exists, no direct connection has been proven. Recent studies in animals have shown however, that bile reflux has caused cancer of the esophagus.
When Is It Time To See Your Doctor
You should see you doctor if you experience frequent bile reflux symptoms, or if you start to lose weight without dieting.
If you’re on medications for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and you are not getting any relief from them, you should see your doctor. It’s possible that you could need additional treatment.
What Tests Will Your Doctor Run
- Endoscopy – A camera at the end of a pliable tube is maneuvered through the mouth and down the esophagus. With this test, your doctor can see if any inflammation or peptic ulcers have occurred. Some samples of tissue may be taken to determine if you have either Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer.
- Ambulatory Acid Tests – In this test, an acid-measuring device is used to determine the extent of the actual reflux action. A catheter with an attached probe is passed through the nose and down into the esophagus in one test. Whereas with the Bravo test, a probe is connected to the esophagus at the lower end during an endoscopy. With an ambulatory acid test, your doctor can determine whether or not you have an acid reflux problem.
- Esophageal Impedance – This test determines whether it’s liquid or gas that is backing up into the esophagus. Some people regurgitate matter that doesn’t prove to be acidic (bile) which can’t be picked up by the acid probe.
Medications For Bile Reflux Symptoms
There are a number of medications available for your doctor to prescribe.
- Bile Acid Sequestrants
- Ursodeoxycholic Acid
- Prokinetic Agents
- Proton Pump Inhibitors
Types Of Surgery Available
The two most common surgeries for reflux are:
- Diversion Surgery or Roux-en-Y – This is the procedure that is recommended for those who have already had a gastric surgery. In this operation, a fresh connection is made further down the small intestine which diverts the bile in another direction.
- Fundoplication (Anti-reflux Surgery) – An area of the stomach near the the fundus (esophagus) is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) then attached. This enables the sphincter valve to strengthen which will reduce reflux.
A More Natural Approach
Many people today are looking for more natural ways to eliminate their bile reflux symptoms. There are many small changes you can make in your daily lifestyle to dramatically reduce reflux. Some of these suggestions are:
- Stop Smoking
- Stay Upright After Eating
- Raise The Head Portion Of Your Bed
- Lose Excess Body Fat
- Limit Alcohol Consumption
- Relax and Eliminate Stress
But, the best natural method by a long shot is to control your diet. If you eat the right foods and avoid the reflux “trigger foods”, you can greatly lessen, and in a lot of cases, permanently wipe out reflux. The acid reflux medications available have many side effects that are driving people to seek more natural alternatives.
There has been a break-through in recent years that has lead to the development of several wonderful programs that allow you to take complete control of your digestive system. Hundreds of thousands of people have been cured by these plans, which have taken the internet by storm. To see how these programs work, visit our product review page today. The only thing you have to lose is your bile reflux symptoms.