Bile reflux is a condition that occurs when bile rises from the small intestine into the stomach. Unlike acid reflux, it is not caused by excess stomach acids, though it may occur in conjunction with acid reflux and is sometimes treated in a similar fashion. Bile reflux can cause intense stomach discomfort, hoarseness, vomiting or nausea. There are several medical and home-remedy treatments available to patients suffering from bile reflux. Not every treatment will work for every patient, and it may take a combination of treatments to address the problem fully.
Prescription medication for the treatment of bile reflux is most often made up of ursodeoxycholic acid, which helps promote the flow of bile in the digestive tract and can relieve some of the discomfort associated with the disorder. Sometimes a combination of drugs are prescribed to help patients who have difficulty emptying the stomach completely.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
The primary function of proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium or Prilosec, is to block acid in the digestive system. Because bile reflux is not caused by excess acid in the oesophagus, proton pump inhibitors are generally not effective in the treatment of bile reflux, although they may be used in conjunction with other medications and treatments to help lessen some of the symptoms associated with bile reflux.
A procedure known as "Roux-en-y" is sometimes used to help patients with bile reflux when other interventions have not succeeded in healing the condition. The procedure involves diverting bile by creating a new drainage passage further down in the intestines. Fundoplication is another surgical procedure used to help patients suffering from bile reflux. Pressure is increased at the lower end of the esophogus by wrapping the fundus--the area of the stomach closest to the esophogus--around the lower esophogeal sphincter and then sewing it into place. This procedure is more successful with patients suffering from acid reflux and may not cure the condition of bile reflux permanently.
There are many home remedies that can help patients with bile reflux. Doctors recommend that patients sleep with their head elevated to keep bile in place overnight. Eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day will help eliminate excess bile in the system, and not eating for at least three hours before bedtime can help keep bile from disturbing your sleep. If you are overweight, losing a few pounds will decrease the pressure on your stomach and organs, which can help keep the bile from backing up. Avoid foods that relax the stomach sphincter, such as caffeine, chocolate, tomatoes, carbonated sodas and spicy foods. Eat a low-fat diet, and reduce your intake of alcohol.