The Cause of Bile Reflux
The causes of bile reflux can vary from person to person, but there are a few things that can provide a warning that you need to to watch for symptoms. Because bile reflux is caused when bile backs up into the stomach, anything that leads to this kind of outcome is certainly a concern.
Three of the major bile reflux causes include:
Gallbladder Surgery: The gallbladder is used by the body to hold bile after it has been produced by the liver. It waits in the gallbladder until food reaches the small intestine. The greenish-yellowish fluid then mixes with the partially digested food so that it can do its job of breaking down the fats that have been ingested.
The bile salts that make up much of the fluid can sometimes harden, causing what are known as gallstones. Gallstones cause a significant amount of pain, and the person experiencing it may choose to undergo surgery to have the gallbladder removed. Unfortunately, the removal of the gallbladder can cause the onset of bile reflux.
Gastric Surgery: Gallbladder surgery isn’t the only type that can cause bile reflux. Weight loss surgery can also lead to this problem. In a gastroectomy, the entire stomach is removed, and in a gastric bypass, food is diverted around all or part of the stomach.
During these procedures, damage can be done to the pyloric valve. This valve is responsible for allowing food into the small intestine while keeping bile from moving upward. If the one-way valve is weakened or damaged due to gastric surgery, it can cause bile reflux.
Peptic Ulcers: The position of a peptic ulcer can also cause bile reflux in some individuals. If the ulcer is blocking the pyloric valve, it causes a different issue than those resulting from surgery damage. The blockage from the ulcer slows the food as it passes out of the stomach. When the food doesn’t empty as quickly as it should, this causes pressure to build up. The result is that bile and stomach acids reflux into the esophagus.
Some of the less-discussed bile reflux causes also include:
Pregnancy: The changes that take place within the body during pregnancy have been known to be a temporary cause of bile reflux and acid reflux.
Obesity: Extreme weight gain can also lead to problems with bile reflux. These may be reversed if the weight is lost.
Weight Lifting: In some cases, excessive bending and the lifting of a lot of weight has been found to be a cause of bile reflux.
This is fairly significant because the majority of peptic ulcers appear within the duodenum, which is just below the pyloric valve. Peptic ulcers share a couple of symptoms with bile reflux, including nausea, abdominal pain, heartburn, and weight loss.
Obviously, different types of surgery can cause bile reflux in patients, and your doctor should clearly explain this so you can take it into consideration when making decisions about treatment options. Bile reflux isn’t something that can generally be resolved through a few lifestyle changes or different food choices, so being aware of the impact it can have on your life is important. Understanding bile reflux causes helps you to determine if the benefits of a procedure outweigh the long-term risks. After all, you may find that the best hope for your surgery-induced bile reflux is to have an additional surgery!