Information on Bile Reflux
Bile is a green fluid which is produced in the liver and itsprimary function is to aid the process of digestion. Bile reflux involves theupward flow of bile from the small intestine to the stomach and esophagus.
Itoften occurs with acid reflux which involves the backflow of stomach acids intothe esophagus. When these two medical conditions occur at the same time theycan cause some serious consequences which include an increased risk ofesophageal cancer and the inflammatory conditions of the esophagus lining. Bilereflux can only be managed with certain types of medications and it sometimesmay even require a surgical procedure.
Causes of Bile Reflux
Bile is very important for the digestion of fats andelimination of certain toxic substances from the human body. It comes from theliver and it is commonly stored in the gallbladder in a form which has veryhigh concentration. The bile flows through common bile duct and cystic duct inorder to get to the duodenum.
At the same time the food enters the duodenum throughthe pyloric valve. When the valve does not get closed properly the bile getsinto the stomach and triggers irritation and inflammatory conditions. When thelower esophageal sphincter does not close properly, both the bile and thestomach acid get released into the esophagus.
This can cause inflammatoryconditions, heartburn and it can also lead to certain other serious medicalconditions. Bile reflux may be triggered by certain types of gastric surgerycomplications. The most common ones may include gastric bypass operations forweight loss and gastrectomy which involes the removal of the whole stomach.
Peptic ulcers can also be the cause of bile reflux because they can lead to theblockage of the aforementioned pyloric valve which is located at the entranceto the duodenum. In this case the valve cannot open properly, and it leads to a significantincrease of gastric pressure and the reflux of bile into the esophagus.
Peoplewho have had gallbladder surgery tend to suffer from bile reflux slightly more thanthose who did not have this surgery.
Treatment of Bile Reflux
One of the most common medications for the treatment of bilereflux is the ursodeoxycholic acid. It promotes the flow of bile and relievesthe pain. Proton pump inhibitors may also be of great help in some cases. Surgicaloptions include diversion surgery and anti-reflux surgery and they are appliedonly in the most severe cases.