Bile Reflux

What Is Bile Reflux?

In all likelihood, you're familiar with heartburn and acid reflux. In fact, you may have even had some bad experiences with them. But you're probably not familiar with bile reflux, even if you've had an experience or two. Why? Because it's often masked by or mistaken as acid reflux.

So let's take a look at these two disagreeable conditions, and see if we can better understand their differences.

Acid reflux, also commonly referred to as GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease), occurs when stomach liquids are able to rise up through the esophagus sphincter into the esophagus (the tube that connects your throat and your stomach). Because of the mixture of digestive components secreted in the stomach, such as hydrochloric acid and pepsin, the sensitive lining of the esophagus can be damaged, causing a burning sensation.

It's this burning sensation that most people associate with acid reflux.

Bile reflux occurs when the digestive fluid produced by your liver (bile) rises up from your small intestine through the pyloric value into your stomach, and then from your stomach into your esophagus. Bile reflux and acid reflux often go hand-in-hand, occurring together, which is why bile reflux is often overlooked. Unlike acid reflux, however, it will often cause stomach pain (gastritis).

Telling Them Apart

As mentioned above, the biggest difference between these two conditions is the stomach inflammation that accompanies bile reflux. This can cause a burning pain not in the esophagus, but in the upper abdomen. You may also find yourself vomiting bile.

The other primary symptoms, unfortunately, are very similar to acid reflux ...

Heartburn - increased occurrences of that burning sensation in your chest that can easily be mistaken as a heart attack when the pain is particularly severe.

Nausea - that feeling of unease in your stomach that comes with an urge to throw up. This is one of the more severe symptoms of acid reflux, though more common in bile reflux.

Hoarseness - this is often the result of stomach acid (or bile) rising up into the throat and burning the lining. This is also a severe symptom of acid reflux, though more common in bile reflux sufferers.

Over the long haul, if bile reflux goes undetected or if it's simply ignored, it can lead to more serious consequences. Again, some of these can also be the result of long-term neglect of an acid reflux condition. In either case, they demonstrate the importance of seeing your doctor when things just aren't working the way they should.

Here's some of the big time concerns ...

Gastritis - although generally the least serious of these concerns, gastritis (stomach irritation) can lead to bleeding, stomach ulcers, and even the potential of stomach cancer if left untreated. Most of the time, the discomfort of gastritis is such that it inspires a visit to the doctor, so it rarely gets too far out of hand.

Narrowing of The Esophagus - just as long term acid reflux can eventually begin to damage the esophagus lining, creating scar tissue and narrowing the tube, so can bile reflux. This can lead to difficult swallowing and even the potential for choking.

Barrett's Esophagus - this is a serious condition that results when the lower esophagus is exposed to stomach acid and/or bile over time. What happens is cells in the lining of the esophagus begin to change in order to protect themselves. Unfortunately, while these new cell structures are resistant to stomach acid, they're also more prone toward malignancy.

Cancer of The Esophagus - while there continues to be some debate about the relationship between bile reflux and cancer of the esophagus; animal studies appear to show a connection. This is a serious form of cancer that often goes undiagnosed until it's in the advanced stages.

The Causes Behind Bile Reflux

The primary cause behind bile reflux is damage to the pyloric valve. This can occur in several different ways; however it's most commonly the result of surgery. For instance, one of the side effects of gallbladder surgery can be bile reflux. In addition, it's not unusual for someone who's gone through gastric surgery (such as the complete removal of their stomach or a gastric bypass) to develop bile reflux. In all these instances, the condition is a result of damaging the pyloric valve.

A peptic ulcer can also be a contributing factor. This happens when the ulcer obstructs the pyloric valve, restricting its ability to close properly. In rare instances, chronic constipation can also result in bile reflux.

Finally, recent research has demonstrated that the use of proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) in treating acid reflux actually increased the occurrences of bile reflux. The reason for this result isn't fully understood, but it does help explain why some people on PPIs don't appear to show a reduction of their acid reflux episodes.

The Good And The Bad About Treatments

The unfortunate news about treating bile reflux is that it appears to be completely independent of lifestyle influences. So a diet change or more exercise or tossing out your cigarettes isn't likely to help. However, with that in mind, bile reflux is often a companion to acid reflux, which does benefit from some lifestyle changes. So you may want to make some changes simply to see if they relieve some of your symptoms.

Here are some changes you might consider ...

1. Sleep with your head elevated. A wedge pillow can be great for this. When your head is elevated, it helps to keep the stomach acid (and bile) where they belong.

2. Eat smaller meals, spread throughout the day. Also, allow at least three hours after eating your last meal before going to bed for the night.

3. Drop those extra pounds (doesn't this one seem to accompany nearly every health condition?). Add weight adds pressure on your stomach, which can force its contents up into the esophagus.

4. Avoid those foods that tend to relax the lower esophagus sphincter. These foods include all your favorites: caffeine, chocolate, citrus, carbonated drinks, tomatoes, spicy foods, even peppermint. And if these weren't enough, limit your fatty foods, including just about anything you stumble across at a fast food restaurant.

5. Finally, consider limiting your alcohol intake since it also tends to relax the sphincter than keeps the food and liquids in your stomach where they belong.

Again, these are steps you can take to try to relieve some of the discomfort you've been experiencing that may be related to acid reflux. They won't help alleviate your bile reflux condition. I list them here simply because the two conditions are so often intertwined.

Serious Treatments

I mentioned proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) above. These medications (Nexium, Prevacid and AcipHex are good examples) were developed to inhibit acid production, which really isn't the issue for bile reflux sufferers. However, your doctor may recommend one these simply to reduce your overall reflux symptoms. There is no evidence that they will help with your bile reflux, and as mentioned above, they may actually aggravate the condition.

The other drug that I want to mention here is ursodeoxycholic acid. This is a common prescription for bile reflux, and is often used to dissolve gallstones. For bile reflux, it's been shown to reduce the intensity of that burning sensation in the stomach. It also eliminates nausea and vomiting. While it doesn't completely solve the problem, it does tend to dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of bile reflux symptoms.

Finally, in relation to medications, there are several cholesterol-lowering medications, such as Questran and Colestid that can also assist your body in removing bile. For these medications, in fact for all the medications I've mentioned here, you really need to sit down and discuss them with your doctor.

The Surgical Option

Surgery. No one wants to hear that word coming out of the mouth of their doctor. However, there are times when surgery becomes the only option.

Fundoplication is primarily used for acid reflux. The procedure strengthens the lower esophagus sphincter, which in turn dramatically reduces the rise of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. Since bile is often mixed in with the stomach acid, fundoplication is believed to help minimize some of the effects of bile reflux.

The other surgical procedure is called a Roux-en-Y (roo-en-wi), which is a term used for diversion surgery (this is the same type of procedure as weight loss bypass surgery). The goal of this procedure is to divert bile away from the stomach. The success rate of Roux-en-y surgery can range anywhere from 50%-90%.

In Conclusion

While bile reflux isn't as common nor as well known as acid reflux, it's often masked by the symptoms they share. The biggest clue that you might be dealing with bile reflux will be a burning sensation that takes place in the upper abdomen. This is a red-flag symptom that should alert you that you may be experiencing something more than just acid reflux, and you need to see your doctor.

Medical Disclaimer

This document has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and it should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is provided here for educational and information purposes only. Please, always consult your doctor or health care specialist if you are in any way concerned about your physical wellbeing.

There Is A Solution

You don't have to suffer with bile reflux. There is a natural cure that can end your suffering almost immediately. Learn more here: The Heartburn And Acid Reflux Remedy.

Comments 103 comments

Tiffany 7 years ago

This has to be the BEST explanatory article I have ever read. It fits EVERYTHING i have been dealing with and I knew it HAD to be more then just acid reflux because it hurts 10x worse and I kept vomiting up a yellowish liquid which I was told was bile because I have had nothing in my stomach for long periods at a time.

WONDERFUL! THANK YOU!


aberbrothock 7 years ago

very helpful article as I have had a full gastrectomy in 2003. I experience hoarseness and burning in my abdomen and throat regularly as well as pain in the abdomen.Presently prescribed Mebeverine tabs.,Peptac liquid and Omeprazole(20mg).I will try anything but not optimistic.


Jenny 7 years ago

This article is great. A friend of mine was diagnosed today with bile refux and she came to me after because she knew I have been having issues for years. Once she told me what she had I decided to research bile reflux and came across this article. I had my gullbladder removed 4 years ago and have suffered since. They have done every test known to man for my severe abdominal pain and I have been diagnosed with GERDS, however they have had me on every medication for GERDS and I changed my diet. I did everything I was told and I am getting worse. My quality of life has gone down hill and I just thought there was no hope. Thanks to this artice I will return to my Docotr to ask about bile reflux.


Jackie 7 years ago

This is a great article. I had pancreatic surgery and had the head of my pancreas removed and part of my stomach and small intestine. I had acid reflux for a while before I had this surgery but after having this surgery I am having burning in my stomach right up into my mouth and have a bile taste. I had a stomach emptying test and showed that my stomach is slow to empty which is called gatroperesis. I am one omeparzole 40mg twice a day. I've been taking them for two weeks now and haven't notice a difference. I lost over 20lbs after having the surgery and haven't gain any back yet. I only weigh 106 and I know I will lose more because I don't eat enough. I am going to see my Doc and discuss this with him.


Katie 7 years ago

I have had stomach issues for years.and as mentioned above I was also diginosed with Acid Reflux. I changed my Gastro Dr. and placed me into the Bile Reflux category and treatment has helped. I still have major Nausea, stomach cramps and bloating but that's because they found Carcinoid tumors in my stomach. My husband also had "Acid Reflux" but my new Dr. Tested him for Bile Reflux as well and no surprise here...that's what he has. Ask your Dr. Please don't be nervous to ask him or her, it helps them sometimes and no they don't get mad. :) You have questions and unless he or she is a jerk ( if so leave right away) they want to hear your questions. Thank you blog for the info. I know this will help many people.


nafisa 7 years ago

this article is great so helpful and perfectly explained.thanks


alexi 7 years ago

Thanks for the in-depth information. Im 24 and had my gallbladder removed five years ago. Since I had it removed I have suffered constantly from what I have always thought was acid reflux. When I ate food, it used to help but now I constantly have a burning sensation. I've been on Nexium intermittently for a few years to no avail. Lately, I've started to have upper back pain after I eat and a sensation that my food wont go down - it feels likes it sits in my oesophagus. Yet I don't vomit from it. I will be making a doctor's appointment tomorrow and will mention bile reflux! Thanks


Virgo 7 years ago

So glad I found this page, I had an excruciating experience yesterday, i almost passed out, could not stop vomiting and it's not the first time this has happened, i experience it time and time again even during PMS but not as bad as yesterday and yes it was the same yellowing bitter liquid that came out. The worst feeling is before anything comes out but i after that, i feel a lot better. But for how long will this continue, its unpleasant. Thanks for pointing out foods to avoid, I knew certain foods contributed to my problem but didn't know which foods did. Your information is very helpful.


Liz 7 years ago

Anyone have any success with treating bile reflux? If so, can you tell me what? I had my gallbladder removed 8 months ago and I've suffered ever since.


RaChel 7 years ago

I also suffer from bile reflux. It started after my gallbladder was removed. I had horrible nausea. Metoclopropamide has been the only thing that has worked for me and now I'm back to normal!


homeboy 6 years ago

I have not had any surgery. In July 2009, I was diagnosed with bile reflux (in fact, bile pool in stomach) and gastritis. Soon after that, I went into major depression and that makes me think, the two are connected. How can I get out of this? Will the bile reflux end if the major depression ends? So far no medication seems to help me with my bile reflux, whiles I'm fighting the major depression on my own.


Rosie 6 years ago

Do any of u suffer from bad breath due to the bile reflux??


Chrissie 6 years ago

I have hiatus hernia, gastritis and bile reflux and yes, I do suffer with bad breath. I often feel very self concious when talking closely with others and always make sure I carry some mints in my pocket.


Rosie 6 years ago

I just found out that I have hernia and gastritis. There is connection there.


sofi-60 6 years ago

In 2005, my gallbladder was removed and from that moment forward my life became a nightmare. I was in permanent dyspepsia. I had a bile reflux and chronic gastritis. Finally, at the end of last year I found something that is truly helping me very much and I want to share with all of you –– should you be one who is having a similar problem.

TRIPHALA is the name of these wonderful vegetarian capsules. You Google this name and get information about it. I tried for years everything that my doctors told me to do from prescription drugs to anti-acids and many other medicines. Nothing worked for me until now. Hopefully you will benefit from Triphala and it will help you as much it is helping me.


asifa 6 years ago

so far the best explanation..... thank you

i am suffering with all this and don't know what is wrong with me and doctor can figure it out.

thank you


Julie 6 years ago

I do wish someone could help me. I suffered a stomach ulcer last year 2009.Then in October I had my gallbladder out due to gallstones. I started having acid reflux and vomiting later turning to really severe chest and stomach pain. I have had tests and gastritis was found. I am on lansoprazole and sucralfate,also mirtazpine for depression which I have because of it. The reflux is horrible and bloating but the pain is worse. I can,t do anything for it.My gastro says I am on all the treatment for it but it doesn,t seem to be improving. I think it is bile reflux as he said bile was found in my oesophagus. He says surgery maybe the only option for me and I,m scared. I can,t go through life putting up with this pain and reflux,is surgery my only option?


amanda 6 years ago

i have suffered with stomach problems for 3 years and the last 18 months have been to my physisian almost every week to such an extent that i was told i was imagining it all then when i went to the hospital was offered surgery. i refused to allow surgery when they didn't know what was going on and asked for a scan which they did. well well well what did they find gallstones and an ovarian cyst so much for my imagination then they wonder why people have no faith in doctors these days now i have a bit of a long road to get these sorted oh and guess what i have also been told i have rhuematiod arthritis but never mind its all in my head.


shell 6 years ago

Hi I had my gallbladder removed in 2001 since then life has been horrific anyone considering this (dont) get laser or medication but for gods sake aviod this surgery, i am now suffering burning in my liver, sever back pain between my shoulder blades, more significant in my right shoulder blade, had endoscopy recently showed inflamation in stomach waiting to see doc now, this sounds like bile reflux burning between breastbones sever pain unable to sleep horrific set of circumstances, feel very low


Rose 6 years ago

Excellent article that explains bile reflux for anyone to understand. I was just discharged from the hospital a few days ago. EGD revealed bile reflux, gastritis and hiatal hernia.

I am 2 years post gall bladder removal and have had problems since. First gastric ulcers and now this! I'm currently on antibiotics before proceeding with further treatment for the bile reflux. In short, I have no idea what they intend on doing. I have asked about Questran but have not heard yet. I have Lupus (SLE) and currently under pain management via pain patch. Thankfully I do get some relief from the stomach pain but I know that it's only masking the condition. I hope that something is found to treat this.


jody shealy 6 years ago

I can tell you some things that have helped me. Gallbladder removed in 2001, probably stress related. Now dealing with panic attacks that really bring on the bile reflux. I've found .5mg xanax 45 minutes before food really helps. And get yourself checked for hypothyroidism cause treatment for that, I've heard, can make a lot of our symptoms better. Hope this helps somebody.


barb 6 years ago

Seems like the common thing most of us have had is gall bladder surgery. In past ten years the technique in surgery is mini invasive, they suction it out instead of cutting it out which could injure the pyloric valve. Am a nurse who had gallbladder surg. in 2004, have most all the symptoms I read above, on Omeprazole, helps some but still much gastric pain.


John 6 years ago

My doctor suspects bile reflux, already have gasterparesis IBS am eating basically nothing. I think mine might have been caused by chronic constipation. Don't buy into the fact that bile reflux is completely independent of diet though, good article nonetheless.


joy cicchi 6 years ago

I had my gallbladder removed in 2004. Developed Gastritis, and bile reflux. I've been taking Carafate

ever since. That worked fine until now. Suddenly all

the symptons except vomiting are here. Seeing my Dr.

tomorrow. I have done a lot of research, and this is by far the best information I have found. I will take all of this info with me to my Dr. THANKYOU


Lori 6 years ago

Hi,

I have questions if some of you folks could email me:

lori14424@yahoo.com

I've had a bad upper stomach ache for a year now. Used OTC antacids for 6 months and have been on Prilosec since January and am no better. Had an Upper GI test that showed 3 areas of Gastritus and bile. No hernias or acid reflux. I don't see that Dr until the end of July now. I was put on Carafate and had to stop because it caused vertigo with me.

My questions are:

1- My stomach never hurts when I'm standing up but hurts really bad when I'm sitting. Does yours too? The longer I sit, the worse it feels.

2- My stomach gets much worse on weekends. I think it's due to heavy lifting of groceries and bottled water cases. Does your bile reflux hurt worse when you lift heavy things?

3- If you raise your arms above your head and stretch, do you get very sharp pains in your upper abdomen?

4- Does your stomach hurt worse when you lean over and scrunch up your tummy?

Thank you. I'm very discouraged about this. I stopped the Prilosec last week and have noticed no change in my pain but I feel a lot better off of Prilosec. It made me tired and achy. I'm trying natural things right now, like oatmeal and slippery elm tea. Nothing seems to work but standing up LOL!

Thank you,

Lori


robcatt profile image

robcatt 6 years ago from Nth Queensland Australia

Hi All,

I appreciate all the information on this page. Like many of you, I had my gall bladder removed. In 2003 after my surgery the pain started. The pain was so severe, at times it was similar to a severe gall bladder attack. I also get a constant gnawing pain on my upper right abdominal area, like Lori, the pain increases when sitting or bending and lifting. It feels like I have pressure over my liver and need to lift my ribcage off my abdomen for relief, but there is NO relief. I get bloating, nausea, acidic diarrhea, suffer from fluid retention and also have a persistant cough. I feel exhausted all of the time.

A few years back a doctor told me that I need psychological help as there was nothing wrong with me, so I have been trying to live with the symptoms ever since.

Last week I finally had an endoscopy done and they discovered that I had bile reflux and I have possible cancerous changes in my stomach. I now am awaiting the results of the biopsies. I think it is sad that there is not enough awareness of this condition and I can see from the numerous posts, we all have suffering in common.

The doctor wants to put me on a drug called Motilium (domperidone). Has anyone else been put on this drug for bile reflux? If so, did it help?

Thank you

Robbie


JWall07 6 years ago

I too have had most or all the symptoms listed above. I'm very tired of going to the Doctor's office for the same answer...I don't know. It's sad that I would have to research for myself to finally have a good explanation of what is wrong. Don't these men/women get paid big bucks to know stuff like this. Anyway, you bet I'm going to show this info to my Dr. on my next visit. Just for the record here's my histology.

1. Had my Gall Bladder out.....(surprise, surprise)

2. Quit Smoking and alcohol..

3. Now I have a Hernia

4. Intense Vomiting of yellow bile in the mornings

5. Anxiety (now on Paxil)

6. Started meds for Diabeties

Meds/remedies tried:

Nexium, Pepcid, Carafate, Metamucil, Imodium (I've taken the imodium because of the dhiarea, which helps but then promotes the vomiting and vice versa.)

This article really shed some light on the subject and I hope there is help now around the corner. I do wish those who posted a while ago would come back and give testimony to what has worked or not worked for them. If anyone needs to talk or need additional info you can e-mail me at jay.wallace07@yahoo.com


TC 6 years ago

I too have Bile Reflux. Just had another endoscopy yesterday & the Dr. wants me to have Roux en y surgery for this problem. I had surgery almost 2 years to the day. I had gastrojejuectomy w/ Billroth II & gallbladder removal. I take Motilium (domperidone) from Canada 20 mg 4 x's a day, Nexium & Carafate. The Motilium did help for a while @ 10mg 3x's a day. He just raised the dose last Thursday, since then I've been vomiting with terrible pains on my left upper side. I am going to another Gastroenterologist for a second opinion before deciding to get the surgery. I am waiting for my biopsies, from my endoscopy yesterday. I eat very little. Has anyone had the surgery for this condition?


TC 6 years ago

Almost forgot... I have hernias too! An incisional one that is huge & now seems like another is forming on the opposite side of the incision, plus hiatel hernia. I read that most stomach hernias return, but I have to have it taken care of. Also I do get more pain when I even pick up my grrandsons & bending over brings on immediate vomiting.


Carolina 6 years ago

For those of you who have been diagnozed with bile reflux, what tests did the doctor do. my doc is a jerk and said there are no such tests (I am looking for a new gastro doc)? He refuzes to talk about bile reflux. tells me I have no reflux of any kind and simply need anti-anxiety medication. he choses to ignore all my symptoms.


Choch50 6 years ago

Had gallblader removed laproscopically in 1999, pain & bile reflux began 2 days later. For 4 yrs. I sufferd with extreme nausea, bloating, core spasms that would incapacitate me. Numerous visits to emergency rooms where doctore said it was gynecological or a back problem. Doctors had no CLUE. A great doctor from Pennsylvanis Hospital, Dr. Matt Kirkland figured out what was gong on. Finally, had bile duct by-pass surgery in 2003. Necessary because the bile was backing up into my liver & caused liver absesses which are very dangerous. I have been fine ever since the bile duct by-pass surgery in 2003. I don't say this to scare anyone, it was my experience and one I would not wish on anyone. Look for a Great doctor. My gastroenterologist couldn't figure this out. Just by chance Dr. Matt Kirkland was in the x-ray room when my x-rays were being viewed and HE picked up the problem. Dr. Matt Kirkland is a general surgeon and God Bless Him. He gave me back a normal life. No more PAIN. E mail me @ choch50@gmail.com with any questions.


John 6 years ago

Carolina,

Get another Dr. There are a lot of Doctors who don't know what their talking about and some of are very rude and egotistical when it comes to things they can't come up. You could try reading about the Impedance/ph test though the to my understanding the testing of it is not widely done and you might have to travel to get it done. And remember the most important thing you can do is get informed and get a good doctor that's knowledgeable and listens to you. Best of luck.


acid reflux treatments 6 years ago

amazing. That why i always visit this hub. very informative. Thanks for the facts and ideas. Thank you


Lorraine Ellis 6 years ago

Caroline,

My bile reflux was found during a upper GI scope procedure. They found no ulcers or acid reflux. They did find a lot of bile in my stomach and three areas of irritation 9from gastrituscaused by the bile). Symptoms warranting the scope were very bad upper stomach pain that was not helped by any prescription acid-reducer meds.

Good luck to you!


Glendora 6 years ago

My husband is in the hospital (one of many times) with these symptoms. He had his gallbladder out 3 years ago when they did another large surgery. He wakes up throwing up yellow bile in the morning - sometimes several days in a row. He dehydrates and has kidney failure from it. No one will listen. I read this article yesterday and it sounds so much like what he has. We are in Orange County, CA. Will someone please give me the name of a GI doctor in our area. Thank you.


savo 5 years ago

Hi All,

After reading all these comments people still miss big picture why is this occurring and how can it be cured.

After the gallbladder is removed people still have the same issues they started with or more. Its saying something you still have the cause and didn't fix it by removing a gallbladder with stones or infection.

How did occur? well high calcium diets, excess bad quality meats and not enough magnesium with cause cholesterol stones in you kidney, liver etc...

Cure would be many liver/kidney flushes 6-8 or more to see improvement.

Hope this helps wish I seen at least one person mention a flush :(


DDAniels 5 years ago

i experienced a horrible bout of constipaton a month ago. went to er three times in one week. they did nothing for me as i have no insurance. was throwing up at the time too. since then i have nausea every morning, sometimes other than morning but throw up yellow green bile and feel better after that. still suffering from constipation too. but before i throw up the pain and nausea are horrible. almost afraid to eat anything anymore. don't know what to do. trying to work through the charity system to see a gi doctor. they said it might take a year unless i have a medical emergency. maybe i'll just go on an ensure diet because i am miserable.


biruh 5 years ago

Six years back, doctor told me that "u r suffering from chronic bile gastritis" and i couldn't get cured by the treatments i found? any way, u guys does chronic bile gastritis has relationship with bile reflux/acid reflux?


Stacey 5 years ago

I'm so glad I found this web page - It definitely makes me feel less alone!

After several years of trying to be taken seriously (most docs say it's IBS and they can't do anything or tell you to take some gaviscon!) I finally ended up in A&E when I couldn't stand up, was vomiting blood and was literally falling to pieces. After a horribly long wait thoughout that night, they finally performed an endoscopy and stapled a blood clot and started treating my ulcer.

Fortunately, this all worked well and I walked away 'healthy' and with a ticking off about leaving it almost too late(!).

However, as I kept feeling sick still and still suffered pains sought help and advice once again. The only advice given was to carry on taking my anti-acid pills and take over the counter anti-sickness pills if I felt off colour.

A few weeks ago, it was just too much to handle again and was getting worse and worse and I've hardly been able to stomach any food. Thanks to the acid problem being assisted, I was able to tell that what I was bringing up was bile (something to do with the bright green colour!!) and so I took another visit to the docs to tell them what I thought the problem might be.

I've been referred to the hospital for an ultrasound but they have made me wait over 6 weeks for this appointment and I only get by every day by popping these travel sickness pills.

Is this likely to show up anything though? I've been feeling so unhappy because of it all and I can't bear to let myself get my hopes up that this will be sorted out soon if it won't be. If I can get myself armed with info at least I have a chance of getting it sorted as I just can't trust doctors any more.

Can anyone tell me what proceedures they had to identify the problem - was ultrasound one of them?

Thanks so much!


Darlene 5 years ago

Hi All Just got home from hospital a few days ago. Went in for terrible stomach pain. When my doctor pressed on my stomach I almost flew off the exam table, I scared the heck out of her. They did an endoscopy in the hospital. It came back with real inflammed stomach lining, gastritis andmy stomach had lots of bile in it.They told me to take sulcralfate but didn't give me a diagnosis. I was told to follow up with my gastro Doc cause I also have Crohns disease. I also had an ultrasound of my gallbladder done and didn't have any stones. They also did a nuclear test to see if my gallbladder was functioning right and it was fine. My question is everyone on here seem to have had their gallbladder out. I really think I also have bile reflux but I still have my gallbladder. Does anyone her still have their gallbladder and have bile reflux???


sickguy 5 years ago

I still have my gallbladder but I have TERRIBLE bile reflux. It all started 1 week AFTER I was prescribed Proton Pump Inhibitors for very very light heartburn which was totally manageable but the doc suggested I try the PPI's for 8 weeks anyway to try to "get rid of" the light heartburn. Bam Bam Bam and all of a sudden I started having these terrible burning sensations in my stomach and esophagus and started loosing weight like crazy! I lost 60 pounds in 4 months moving from 210 pounds to 148 pounds without any exercise! I kept on telling the doc that it was the PPI's and he refused and kept changing brands and told me to stay on them and even doubled the dose on me which really made my "burning in stomach" condition MUCH worse so I abruptly stopped and within 10 days I started to feel some relief but it is now 6 months later since I have totally stopped the PPI's and I'm still suffering with bile reflux burning in my stomach. My weight has not dropped anymore recently and I seem to have leveled off at fluctuating between 150 and 155 pounds. Eating LOTS of bread with peanut butter and honey daily to soak up the excess bile does help somewhat and probably has helped me gain back a little weight as well. I fie I can not drink a lot of ANY liquid. My theory is that drinking too much of anything at once (including even water) will somehow make the bile circulate more inside the stomach and cause MUCH worse aggravation of the stomach lining and esophagus. I had been on Sucralfate and it seemed to be helping a little but it made me REALLY constipated and I suffered in pain like hell for 3 weeks with SEVERE thrombosed hemorrhoids from the sucralfate so the doc told me to immediately stop the sucralfate. So now I take NO MEDS at all and learn to try my best to soak up the bile with lots of bread and drinking VERY small amounts of liquid and water throughout the day in many small servings. I have heard some success stories taking an Indian avuyervedic natural remedy called Triphala or Triphla and I intend on trying it soon. I have heard that you need to be careful and order only high quality pure Triphala though and I was recommended a brand but can't remember it off the top of my head right now :(

I STRONGLY believe that my Bil Reflux Disease was directly caused either by the PPI's or by some heavy family stress I was undergoing for a few months. I had ultrasound done on my gallbladder and they said they saw no stones in it. I think I still want to get further MRI's done on my ENTIRE biliary system and bile ducts and pancreas etc as well though. I have to talk to my doc about these and also if there is a specific test to check the function of the pyloric valve in particular. I'm not sure if there is such a test.

This is a SERIOUS problem that doctors have NO ANSWER for and I feel the agony and pain of everyone else here who has commented.

There is a LOT of new research showing that PPI's are causing all sorts of havoc and doctors are just not listening and sending patients on them like candy !!!

I am trying my best to educate myself to find out what foods specifically we can eat more of or less of to help the liver produce LESS bile. It is not a cure but I am sure it could possibly help lessen some of our symptoms. I have not come up with any answers as yet but I will continue searching and talking to nutritionists and anyone else I bump into. Hopefully we can compile a list of foods to eat more and less of to help reduce excess bile production in the liver.

Please share your thoughts!!


chris 5 years ago

I too had my gallbladder out 2 years ago. I have nausea in the mornings and if I do not eat in the mornings the excess bile causes diarrhea in the afternoon. I have been thinking about doing a liver flush or cleans but will that just improve liver function and therefore increase bile production? I also believe that anxiety at a new job has contributed to the reflux as the symptoms did not start until recently taking the position.I will change my diet to begin with but is there anything natural or otc that can get me though the mornings?


Jill 5 years ago

I was also diagnosed with Bile Reflux and still have my gallbladder. I have no appetite and have pain at night and too many loose bowel movements. I also have suffered from chronic pain for 20 years and have had lots of family stress. I know the stress is just making things worse so I am working on changing that. I can drink fluids and some I am on a great anti-inflammatory shake mix plus I stopped eating all wheat gluten, dairy, white sugar, processed foods, etc. I'm still looking for a better solution because the times I feel the best are when I don't eat at all... that can't last.


wes 5 years ago

I had my gallbladder out 30 years ago and have a very sensitive stomach that gets very upset periodically with tremendous reflux etc.

Recently found that Galenia Aloe Arborescens helps a whole bunch when I get a sour stomach with all the pain. It is pretty expensive at $70 for a 32 ounce bottle, but nothing else I have tried seems to calm down my stomach. I go without food for a day and take about 2 tablespoons in 4 ounces of water every 2-3 hours and it seems to calm down my reaction.


sarah 5 years ago

Thank God I found this page. I lost a week of work and have barely left the house in a month. I can only tolerate pasta and oatmeal with some soy milk. I can only drink small amounts of water or light decaf herbal tea with honey, but instead of being constipated I have loose bowels (unlikely for me). With this information - everything now makes sense. I have a history of taking every anti-acid drug on the market-with no reliefe. Sometimes feeling much worse after- ie vomitting. I would cry to my physician (and I aint no cry baby) please make the pain go away. All he did was prescribe another anti acid drug and blame me for eating something I should not and say it would help to loose weight. I was already dropping weight unintentionally (what an idiot-I see that now). I do not drink alcohol, no coffee, smoke, eat spicy food..etc. I had a couple of visits to the ER and then gave up because all they do is push the same drugs. The pain is so intense, but they look at you like your over-reacting. Like they want your appendix to burst...and if its not then dont waste their time. So I did not go to ER this time around and will not take anymore GERD drugs, but plan to slowly go on a vegan diet (a loose interpreation of the Martha's Vineyard Diet for a couple of weeks) it worked last time. I did try some prilosec a few days ago(out of desperation) but then the vomitting started again. Yellow mucus like you all mentioned. The bloating pain was horrible. My stomach would grow to the size of a pregnant woman and the pain was unbearable. I cannot sit for long periods of time- just relax at a 45 degree angle on the couch. Will see a new GI shortly and have yet another EGD, but now I know I will discuss BILE not ACID. Thank you!!!!


Carolina 5 years ago

I got myself another GI and got more tests done. EGD showed bile in the stomach and mild gastritis. Also diagnosed with gastroparesis (slow-emptying stomach). Doc thinks that because of this condition the stomach does not flush out the bile fast enough and it accumulates in the stomach causing inflamation. I was put on Reglan, but had bad side effects and had to stop. Then the doc let me go back on pepcid because that helped before but it is not helping now. Next medication the doc wants to try is questran. An aunt of mine who has suffered from bile reflux and chronic gastritis for years took yarrow tea for a while and her pain is gone. I am going to try that. They sell it on amazon.


ashton 5 years ago

Hello i Am 15, and i have been sufuring for months with sever abdomal pains , body aches, bad breath And bad burping, followed by constipation. I hade my galbladder removed 2 months ago. My doctors kept telling me that iam a nervous 15 year old with anxitey. They kept saying that i had IBS. We finaly convienced MY GI doc. To do Android endoscopy were he found that my stomach was filled with bile and my linning of stomach was very irretated and swollen. He put me on sulcarafate wich is not helping.


Little Mo 5 years ago

I was diagnosed with bile reflux last year. My doctor first prescribed PPI’s prior to an upper endoscopy because the symptoms were similar to acid reflux but being vegan I never ate any of the foods anyway that normally contribute to acid reflux. The PPI’s increased the symptoms so much that I had to stop taking them after a few weeks and went back to the doctor. He sent me for an upper endoscopy and it was found I had too much bile in my stomach. The endoscopist suggested sulcarafate as this puts a lining on the stomach and helps with gastritis and helps heal stomach ulsers (I had mild gastritis but no ulsers). After 3 days of taking this I had to stop – again reflux symptoms were magnified beyond belief.

My theory had always been that I had too little stomach acid – the food felt as though it sat in my upper chest/throat and didn’t digest very well and I was always bloated. In addition I always felt so tired as if my body wasn’t absorbing any nutrients. My theory is that because the stomach is acid in nature and bile is alkaline, the bile in the stomach dilutes the acid and slows down digestion and causes reflux (you can have the same reflux symptoms for both too little and too much acid). I did some internet investigation and found someone who also had bile reflux and recommended two Indian herbal tablets which helped her (I note that further up this column someone mentions one of them. I get mine from a website that sells good quality ayurveda tablets. Trikatu costs £9.99 for 90 tablets and Triphala costs £8.99 for 90 tablets.

Firstly there’s Trikatu. This is made up of 2 different peppers plus ginger. This speeds up digestion and increases stomach acid so is no good for someone with true acid reflux. I take one tablet twice a day – once during my lunch and the second during my evening tea/dinner.

The second is Triphala – this is used as a colon cleanser and digestion aid, is a good all-round tonic and helps the food get digested. I take two with my evening tea/dinner. Apparently this herbal forms the basis of a lot of Indian herbal medicines.

Within two days of first taking the tablets my symptoms almost disappeared. No lump in throat, no excess mucus, no stomach ache, no burning, no reflux etc. On three separate occasions I have stopped taking them and within a day I’m back to having the burning throat, stomach ache and that awful taste in the mouth you get with bile reflux so I’m positive these tablets are my personal remedy (there is no cure).

I also have small meals and don’t eat after 6pm. If I do feel hungry at night them I’ll have a piece of dry toast as this helps soak up the stomach bile and carry it out of the stomach. Allow an hour after eating before drinking. This remedy should not be used by someone already taking PPI’s – it’s counter productive! Also not sure of the effect on someone who has had gall bladder surgery.

I hope this helps others who have bile reflux. Feedback from anyone trying my remedy would be useful


Doe1981 5 years ago

I had my gall bladder out before Christmas and before that suffered with gastric reflux. I went back to the doc's yesterday and told him my symptoms were worse i was getting a taste in my mouth like i'd been licking envelopes. Stomach pains, and the burning in my abdominal area was too much to handle. He advised me i have bile reflux along with my gastric reflux. Not really told me about any medication just advised he was sending me to see the gastro-enterologist.(sorry for spelling)So i am now waiting for an appointment. This article was helpful to me as it explains exactly what bile reflux is and all your comments helped too. My advise is if you do have the symptoms everyone is talking about get to the doc's don't suffer in silence because the effects of that can be fatal.


Cris 5 years ago

I completely understand everybodys frustrations, this medical condition is really debilitating and financially costly. I have bad acid reflux, endoscopy done showed I had chemical gastropathy, I have bone weaknness. And now, I have muscle twitches. I was prescribed with dexilant, zegerid, ranitidine, sucralfate- that gives intense abdominal tightness and constipation.

We all need diagnosis, our symptoms are only secondary symptoms triggered by a primary cause.

Anyway, this is what Im doing

1. For burning- no fat diet, small servings 5-6 meal a day, and take fish oil with 300 omega. Bile keeps shooting in your stomach because gallbladder senses there is fat in your digestive system. Rule out delayed gastric emptying- eat food that is easy to digest. Ask your MD if you need to take meds to facilitate gastric emptying, or if you need u need ursodeoxycholic acid medications. Or if you need a stomach pacemaker to facilitate gastric emptying. Anything is worth trying to relieve symptoms.

2. Protect your esophagus. At night- sleep at least in 45 angle, you dont want those acids burning your esophagus, take liquid antacids before you sleep or sucralfate to coat your stomach lining and esophagus.

3. Take vitamin and supplements, when there is delayed gastric empyting, your digestive absorption is compromised. Therefore, you will need vitamins and minerals.

4. If the doctors asks you are stressed? Have a second opinion about his capability to manage your health. Work up everything, dont give up. Or better yet, change your doctor.

I searched for thyroidism and requested my doc to work me up for THYROID DISORDER. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroididm can cause gastro disorder.

Hope these helps


maree bennier 5 years ago

Like a lot of you, i have bile reflux too.......was diagnosed about 3 years ago. I had other health ailments at the time, so it was a long production for a diagnosis.

I never threw up bile, but heaps of nausea, unable to eat/scared to eat, stomach pain, the lump in the throat and hard to swallow, and the heart burn and severe chest pains, i also get pain in the liver region too, i dont know if that's connected or not.....i am also suspecting hernias, which i get my test results back tomorrow.

I haven't had my gall bladder out....though did have gastric band surgery over 20 years ago, and the docs seem to think there is some connection. Have also found out recently that the banding only does its job for about 10 years, could be why i can eat normal amounts of food now.

I have heard that bile reflux can also be brought on by some kind of trauma to the body........hmmmmm, around about the time of my bile reflux being at its peak, i had an excruciating leg ulcer.......im wondering if there is some connection.

chewing gum did help with the heartburn believe it or not, but didn't take it away completely. Ginger gave some relief, and cammomile tea is my current aid ( the cammomile tea seems to take the discomfort away from eating too much and does help some with bloating...i thought i would mention this as it may help someone else)....I have also been taking nexium......which has helped with the heartburn.

I still get a lot of stomach pain and can go up to 10 hours for the feeling of fullness to disappear before i can eat again, my food just takes forever to digest.......i always feel full and bloated a lot of the time, and do have a lot of gas, which does get painful and always wake up bloated and not hungry for breakfast. I have found though, in the past year and a half for some reason, i do feel a lot better since taking nexium, and when i do eat, can eat a normal size meal.

I have been reading on this site that some have taken triphala...........i have just made an online purchase for some and am looking forward to posting my results after taking this.

I hope some of my information has been of some help.....and from the bottom of my heart hope we can all find some relief and normality to our lives. XXXXX


Nancy Urrutia 5 years ago

This makes me angry. No one tells you this could happen if you have your gall bladder removed! Nothing. (I have the same complaint about having a TAH. No info whatsoever.) I have never vomited from it but I get heartburn a lot and bile comes up. It's a little better since I've tried to avoid anything acidic and fatty but I still have problems. Thanks for the info.


Sarah 5 years ago

I was told I had bile reflux when I was 29 following an endoscopy. I had suffered with 'indigestion' for about 15 years... a hot 'peppery' stomach, with episodes when it would become very painful and I could barely eat and occasionally I would vomit. I always had trouble keeping weight on and lacked the full on energy that you might expect someone in there 20's to have!

Following the endoscopy and 'diagnosis' of bile reflux, I wasn't given any advice other than "eat regularly", which was a bit unhelpful since I was known for eating very regularly! (unless my stomach was having a flare up).

About 6 years later I stopped drinking and eating dairy products (not because of my stomach pain, it never occurred to me that milk had anything to do with it.) However, very soon after giving up milk, my 'indigestion' finally stopped! So did a host of minor irritations such as sore throats, bad breath, catarrh and earaches!

I have been dairy free for about 5 years now and haven't had a 'peppery' stomach for years. I have put weight on too... and kept it on! I have more energy now in my 40's than I had in my 20's! The painful stomach flare up's have completely disappeared.

I haven't had an endoscopy since, so I can't prove that the bile reflux has stopped, but I believe it has and I am completely sure that milk was triggering my stomach problems. I have no idea why milk would cause bile to reflux into my stomach, it makes no sense in respect of the conventional explanations of bile reflux.

So in the end, the answer to my stomach problems was very simple - intolerance to milk!


Erin 5 years ago

Little Mo- can you provide the name of the website you get your Trikatu and Triphala? I would like to try this remedy, but want to make sure it's the right stuff. Also, how often and how many do you take? Thanks!


holly 5 years ago

I just had my gallblatter out yesterday and all I can taste is bile. Before the surgery I was having digestion problems like the food was sitting atop my stomache and not digesting proporly they calle it gastroparsis something like that it was six months and at least 7 trips to the er for them to say hey lets check your gall blatter so now its out and this morning bile almost drown me in my sleep I need to know how to fix this becqause I am one to get things doen even if it means hurting the ego of a dr that really should say geez i dont know lets ask someone who does....I am in ri any ideas???


Todd 5 years ago

I just want to comment that I have been taking carafete every morning when I wake up in the morning and don't eat for an hour. I has made me 95% better.


Maree Bennier 5 years ago

Just reporting on my taking of triphala.

After the first couple of days, i noticed the lump in my throat was gone. I was so surprised at how hungry i was, which was soooo unusual as before tripahla, i was lucky to have 2 meals/no snacks per day.....i found i could eat more, and didn't have as much or no discomfort as before, bloating seemed to disappear as well........

I only took them for about 2 weeks, as one thing i did notice was that my throat was on fire, for some reason it was like acid was permanantly sitting there and it wouldn't go away and my throat was really sore, this lasted for almost the whole 2 weeks and was getting worse day by day. I found it soooo sore and uncomfortable that i decided i would go off them and retry them at a later date, just to see if it was actually the triphala causing this. A couple of days after stopping the triphala, i didn't have the acid sitting in my throat anymore......i am planning on trying them again, just to see if the same thing happens again.

Before this burning acid feeling, i have to admit, i felt the best i have in ages. So i would recommend to fellow sufferers that it is worth a try. it may have been a freak thing what happened to me.

GOOD LUCK!!!!


jdawn1001 5 years ago

I am 29 years old and just figured out I have bile reflux. I have never had any surgeries or digestive issues in the past. I am an active mother of a toddler and weigh a healthy 120lbs/height 5'7"

I woke up about 9 months ago with what felt like a brick in my stomach and couldn't stop burping. I also cannot lie on my stomach, ever! I visited a dr a couple weeks later and was diagnosed with acid reflux, GERD and given over the counter medicines which helped slighlty until I stopped taking them 6 weeks later. The pain and belching continued and then I began having gastritis symptoms.

I went to the ER the first time because of the terrible pain from bloating/gas. I was having sharp pains around my heart too. Scary! The ER drs said it was GERD and gave me the same options.

In January I did a 21 day fruit & vegetable fast (Jentezen Franklin) and felt some better but it returned with regular food. I usually try to eat pretty healthy and used to exercise regularly until all this started. I also did a parasite cleanse in Feb for 3 weeks which made me feel better until I finished. I wonder if there could be something in my intestines causing the bile to come up instead of going down??

Last week I went to a "Digestive Disease Specialist" and had an EGD. My stomach is full of bile but I have no ulcer, cancer, or infection. The dr prescribed Carafate which makes me feel so much worse :( He didn't tell me what was wrong just gave me the pics of my stomach and prescription. I researched the web to find out what it's called.

I am thinking of going to a clinical nutitionist to see about getting tested for food sensitivy. If I find a solution I will post it!

Feeling very sympathetic toward my fellow bile reflux sufferers.


T. Jones 5 years ago

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

After almost 5 years iwas diagnosed with TRAP,a autoimmune disease from a genetic mutation. have had the worst treatment from medical community including sent to a mental institute because i must be crazy to have these same symptoms and they could not find root cause,ergo, I must be "nuts". I get sick each week,vomit egg yolk yellow bile up to 8 times,incredible stomach pain,diarea,for 3 to 4 days.Widowed parent of two small kids who raise themselves on those days.However, I have gained weight due to lack of activity yet can't eat or drink when sick.Steroid pills put on 30 lbs in about 2 weeks with that junkand bad results.Enbrel at over $400 a pop each week made it worse and now trying to get another trial on some similar expensive stuff. I mentioned Kevorkian and my best doc had me on "hold" for eval and then stopped my pain med that actually helped a little.They gave my condition a name. The symptoms are definitely Bile reflux. No cure and so far no control.local docs and ER ready to throw me away as a nut case and a complainer. I've had 5 kidney stones in my life. I would rather have that each week than this Bile reflux. I wish there was a tangible method for pain measurement.(My B/P 189/120 does not convince them) I wish there was a patient advocate who could tie a knot in the medical folks who treat you as a problem .Good Luck to all of you.There is comfort knowing you are not alone.


mommysbellyhurts 5 years ago

My gastric problems started right after my daughter was born, 3.5 years ago. After countless doctor visits and tests, i had an upper endoscopy done which finally diagnosed bile reflux. I read here somebody's post about PPIs worsening the case and i have to totally agree with that!

One weird symptom i have that doctor could not explain was why after eating my blood pressure drops and i get tired to the point of falling asleep at the table. Has anyone else experienced that?


Marcy22 5 years ago

Hi! Like all above, I am pretty miserable. I know that I have GERD, I think I have Gatritis and also Gastroparesis.

I was wondering if anyone else has upper back pain? It kind of goes right through me.

Thanks!


Joseph Cobbold 5 years ago

Hi,I am 18 and am suffering with bile reflux. I had an endoscopy about 3 months ago and bile is leaking into my stomach.When I get an attack I have severe stomach pains with vomiting bile,the attacks usually only happen about every 4-5 months but seem to last for longer each time,the last one for 3 days.Doctors seem to keep giving me mediacation for acid reflux which obviously isn't helping. I have heard of the Roux-en-y surgery and might ask my Doctor to refer me to the hospital again to see if this is possible for me. Has anybody had this surgery and if so did it help. I'm desperate and also as thin as a rake. I don't smoke,drink or eat fatty foods.Help


Little Mo 5 years ago

hi Erin - I get the Trikatu and Triphala from essentialayurveda website (uk) as they are quality products but guess you can use any website where quality is guaranteed. I take one Trikatu with my lunch and one with my evening meal (eaten before 6pm). Along with my evening meal I take 2 Triphala. With me, delayed gastic emptying causes bile reflux so the Trikatu speeds this up as does the Triphala (as well as cleaning the digestive track). You can google the benefits! Speeding up the digestive process keeps the bile reflux at Bay. PPI's only slow the digestive process down further which is why my symptoms got worse. Hope this helps


nancy 5 years ago

Im 24 and had my gallbladder out. I feel like it was the worsest mistake i have ever made. I had it out in 2009, now I have all of these problems, I have extremely bad gastritis, inflammation of my duodenum, and for the past month I have been getting a bile taste in my mouth. I know it is bile, I vomited bile a lot in the morning when I was pregnant and the other morning I had nothing on my stomach and vomited bile. I have no clue what to do about it.


pepperpot 5 years ago

I had my gallbladder out 16 years ago, no one ever said you could get this bile reflux from removing the gullbladder, still i had no choice, it was infected. Im taking colestipol and nexium. Nexium seemed to help a lot.My Dr did a scope and found bile in my stomach and then told me there wasn't much he could do.Great I said.I have pain nearly every day but its bearable, thank goodness and this can be a very painful disease. Not enough has been done to find a cure for it.I do eat little and often and try low fat, but Im also a diabetic so I must. My prayers are with you all.


reflux 4 years ago from USA

Unlike acid reflux, bile reflux usually can't be completely controlled by changes in diet or lifestyle. Instead, bile reflux is most often managed with medications or, in severe cases, with surgery.


Amy 4 years ago

I have been diagnosed with Bile Reflux. I was in excuriating pain on and off for almost two years. I have been taking psyllium husks (metamucil) and magnesium with great success. I also have been drinking camomile tea and taking rhoidola rosea. Good luck and take care.


Kathy Stenson 4 years ago

Excellent Hub on Bile Relux! I had suffered greatly from this condition for a long time as well, and eventually beat it. It was not easy, but the good news is I beat it naturally.

I just wanted to say you did a great job here!

Be sure to check out this comprehensive site on bile reflux here as well: http://bile-reflux.com/

Thanks again for your great information!

Kathy Stenson


Vijita 4 years ago

Another way to help bile reflux is Ayurvedic or Tibetan Herbal medicines. When nothing worked for me, Ayurvedic and Tibetan herbs helped me control my bile reflux. I avoid eating fried and spicy food always and take the medicines regularly. It is usually chronic and you always have to take care of your diet. I know how painful it is to go through when you get bile reflux. And I got relief to a great extent. If anyone needs more information about these options feel free to mail me at vijitaaggarwal@gmail.com


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Thanks for the Trikatu and Triphala suggestion... have just ordered some online. Hope it works better than the Motilium and Questran... still have symptoms (and side effects) with these.


Safiyyah 4 years ago

Hi. I'm 19 years old and also suffer from bile reflu. My doctor put me on Nexium which helped initiaaly but then stopped working. I then started taking Iberogast which helped a lot, I was completely back to normal for about 3 months. I took some antibiotics this month for an infection which seems to have triggered the bile reflux. I have mile nausea, a lot of stomach burning and a funny taste in my mouth. Any ideas would be appreciated.


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, My surgeon reckoned Motilium (to increase stomach emptying) and Questran (to absorb the bile acid and get rid of it faster) together would help.

People on this page and the other bile reflux page seem to have major stomach pain with eating, which I don't have yet (just the throat symptoms for me... lump feeling, phlegm, gurgling, hoarse and sore). A few of them have found Questran works really well.

The Questran has definitely helped me (not symptom free but way better than before). It's mainly prescribed for people with high cholesterol, but is also used for other disorders and people like us, as it binds to the bile acids. It's good because it's not absorbed into your system. I just had minor side effects with it initially (bloating, flatulance, increased urination), but they have died down. It won't hurt to try this out... ask your specialist or GP for a prescription. It comes in powder form and I just mix a sachet with pear juice (can use any juice or water) just before I eat in the morning. I think I really need another sachet before lunch, but will wait until my gastro specialist appointment to confirm that (some people take up to 3 sachets a day).


Ebethe 4 years ago

I have had bile reflux for 5 years. Questran does help but be sure that you don't use the sandoz - the phar is so much better. I am on dexilant as well. Good luck with our journey people...hang in there! I hear aloe juice and licorice work well too. Ginger is good and chamomile does help.


grandma71 4 years ago

Although I wasn't diagnosed until last year, I think I have had bile reflux for 7 years. I believe a combination of 3 heavy duty drugs I took for 1.5 months to get rid of Sudden Hearing Loss (I lost 90% of my hearing) injured my pyloric sphincter. I can hear but my stomach is a wreck. At first my symptoms were nausea. Two years ago they became reflux. A year ago my esophagus became so irritated that I couldn't swallow solid food.

About half of the MDs I have seen diagnosed my problem as "all in the head". I notice this happens disproportionately to women. All doctors who took me seriously gave me PPIs, which did no good. When I told them this, they either told me to keep taking them or switched to another PPI, which, of course, did no good. After I could no longer swallow solid food, a female doctor did an endoscopy and discovered bile reflux. I went on a very low fat, no spice diet. I find that even chicken without skin is too fatty. I eat baked or poached fish, without any sauce, for protein. My adult children, who are all some version of foodie, think I am sick BECAUSE of my diet! My doctor gave me Carafate, which helped a lot. But after a year, I started having side effects - dizziness. Since I also have an inner ear injury, which makes me dizzy, the additional dizziness was unbearable. I then tried domperidone. It immediately gave me unacceptable side effects. Since then, I have found that, if I take Mylanta (not any other antacid) just before I go to bed and each time I wake up at night (about 6 teaspoons per night), I feel much better. The reflux is not as bad during the day, when I am upright. Lately, however, I have begun to feel very weak and tired. I believe this is related to the bile reflux but I am not sure how. I am happy to hear of the herbal solutions and plan to try them. Information put out by Johns Hopkins says that bile reflux can give you cancer of the esophagus (5% survival rate) and stomach cancer (15% survival rate) and that one should have an annual Endoscopy to check for tumors and to remove them. My doctor doesn't seem enthusiastic about doing this.


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Grandma71, I will be asking the GI specialist on Tuesday about an annual gastroscopy. I'm not as bad as you are, but my symptoms do appear to be getting progressively worse. I think my first mild symptoms of this started in 2009. Then I had a Nissen Fundoplication surgey for my hiatal hernia in 2010, then they realised it was actually the gallstones causing me the major pain, so the gallbladder came out two months later. Being symptom free for 4 months was awesome, then my current symptoms started over night and the rest is history!

You should join the bile reflux support group. I did recently. There are nearly 200 members on it from all over the globe. Here is the link: http://bilerefluxdisease-projecthope.webs.com/


Safiyyah 4 years ago

hey kiwi1967, thanks for your comment, was really helpful. I wanted to know which symptoms exactly is Motilium and Questran helping you with? My main symptoms are burning, hearburn and loss of appetite. Also, what side effects have you experienced with these meds?

Also, has anyone experienced heart palpitations and fainting with bile reflux?


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, I saw a gastro specialist yesterday. He told me bile reflux is common (some have it worse than others). He told me to stay away from the internet (he is worried I'll pick up the wrong information) and any herbal meds (as they haven't been researched). He said if I just stick to the prescribed meds and get the dosages right then that will help. So I'm back on the Motilium twice a day (which increases stomach emptying) and sticking with the Questran twice a day (which binds to the bile to get rid of it). So the theory is that these meds help to move the bile out of your stomach faster and therefore get rid of the reflux symptoms you are experiencing. Everyone has very different experiences with this issue and lots of different symptoms, so these meds may help some and not others... plus the dose that is used would vary for everyone too. It's something you need to discuss with your doctor.

Heart palpitations and fainting are not listed as a bile reflux symptom. I'm guessing you are either have a reaction to a medication (if you are on anything) or you have another health issue. I think you really need to see your GP.


Safiyyah 4 years ago

Glad to hear you have gotten some reassurance from your doctor, are your meds working? And how was your bile reflux diagnosed?


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, After a year of tests and everything coming back normal, the surgeon did another gastroscopy (my fifth one!) and found bile in my stomach. I knew I had reflux (the symptoms are obvious) yet the tests showed that my stomach acid wasn't too bad... so it was the bile all along. I haven't been on these meds for long, so as my specialist says I have to give them time to work. I have found the Questran to be helpful already (symptoms aren't as bad)... plus it's helped stop the bile acid diarrhoea I've had for the last year. So that is an extra bonus!


Safiyyah 4 years ago

That's great :) I have to admit that my symptoms actually aren't that bad. I've been for a scope and they found mild gastritis, and aren't sure what is causing it and therefore said that it is 'most likely due to bile reflux.' What's stressing me out more is all the terrible things I've read about this condition and how people are suffering, and I'm just so terrified that I am going to end up like that too! I'm only 19 and can't imagine suffering like that for the rest of my life, if my condition does indeed get progressively worse.


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, I felt the same too when I read about all the horrible things people are experiencing online. But if it makes you feel any better my specialist told me my symptoms wouldn't get any worse and that I just have to maintain my current symptoms with the medication.

You have youth on your side and your body will be stronger generally. The only downside is that you will need to be more careful with your lifestyle (at your age I was partying it up big time), so limit your alcohol and caffiene (that will just make it worse) and don't have a high fat diet (the bile increases with fat... the purpose being to break it down). This is a good link:

http://www.livestrong.com/bile-reflux/

You should have a PH test done to see what your acid levels are like. Not the most pleasant thing mind you, but bearable... tube down the nose into the stomach and it stays there for 24hrs measuring the acid levels in your stomach and throat. You are awake for this procedure and can function fine during the 24hrs. Although I stayed away from work... didn't like the whole tube look! It would be good for you to know for sure if it is bile reflux or stomach acid reflux (two different things). My gastroscopy a year ago showed no bile, so they couldn't make that diagnosis... meanwhile I had all of the symptoms. But the one I had a month ago showed bile, so then they could put me onto the appropriate medications.

I also recommended probiotics to someone recently... I rate them highly. You get them from the health food shop. Here is a link about them: http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm

If you do try them just don't take them the same time as antibiotics... I think you can have them two hours either side of antibiotics. Don't laugh, but I give them to my dog too and it has helped her incontinence and gastric issues (she is on a liquid diet for life after multiple throat surgeries).


Safiyyah 4 years ago

I actually have started taking probiotics a few days ago since I realized that my stomach problems started up again immediately after taking a course of antibiotics. I am also taking Iberogast to increase my gastric emptying. It is a formula made of 9 different herbs which has been through rigorous clinical testing and found to be even more effective than metaclopromide. If you are interested in a natural substitute for Motilium, you could ask your doctor if Iberogast will work for you. I will see how my symptoms go for a will and will then consider taking the pH test.

It truly is so nice to be able to talk to someone with the same concerns and your advice has really been helpful, not to mention comforting!


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, The Iberogast sounds interesting... I'll look into it. I'll stay on the Motilium for the next couple of months and see how I go with that first and if I have no luck might gve that herbal one a go (if I can access it). My specialist was quite anti herbals, but I guess that is to be expected.

Some people can have both bile reflux and stomach acid reflux, which makes life difficult... as the PPIs lessen the stomach acid, but at the same time increase the bile acid. So it's good to know if you have just one of these or both... then you know if you are having the right treatment. I just have bile reflux.

Yes, it is good to be able to vent and get support online. It's quite cool too that we are scattered all over the world and can chat about it... hooray for computers! When I was a couple of years younger than you computers had only just started coming into schools and now at work I spend most of my days on one. It's come such a long way since then.


Safiyyah 4 years ago

It definitely is worth a try, in fact my gastro specialist recommended the Iberogast to me after the Nexium stopped working for me.

Talking about this really does help to de-stress which is good for me since I'm a 2nd year medical student and am constantly stressed out! Hope you've been feeling well lately?


Safiyyah 4 years ago

It definitely is worth a try, in fact my gastro specialist recommended the Iberogast to me after the Nexium stopped working for me.

Talking about this really does help to de-stress which is good for me since I'm a 2nd year medical student and am constantly stressed out! Hope you've been feeling well lately?


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Good to know that the specialist recommended it.

It's helpful having medical knowledge, although sometimes you get a bit carried away with self-diagnosis! I've got a nursing background, but am not currently clinically practicing. Still working in health though, in communications... primary health care alongside the GPs.

Only been on both the Motilium and Questran (started the Questran a month ago) for a week now, so the symtpoms are still there... but probably not as bad as previous. Will give it the timeframe the specialist suggested and if no change go back to the Dr and get a gastric emptying test done. Would like to know if I actually have a problem with that.


Safiyyah 4 years ago

Hi Kiwi1967. Haven't been here in a while, university is keeping me too busy! My stomachs been acting up in the past few days but I'm hoping that that is just due to the stress. I've decided to go for the pH test but only in 3 weeks since that's when my holiday is. I'm just going to try to manage till then.

Have you tried PPI's for your bile reflux and did they work? Also, do you think that antibiotics could trigger bile reflux, as I'm convinced my problems started up after that antibiotic course. Or do you think antibiotics are more likely to trigger acid reflux?

Hope you are doing well :)


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, I can imagine you would be extrememly busy. I'd say that stress definitely does impact on this disorder, so try and chill out a bit if you feel you are getting too wound up.

They put me on Losec previously (when they didn't know I had bile reflux) and it didn't do anything. As my stomach acid levels are ok I'm not taking a PPI anymore. I've read that PPIs can increase bile reflux, but maybe that's because they combat acid reflux and therefore make the bile reflux symptoms more obvious? If you have both acid and bile reflux you would need to take a PPI, but also balance it out with meds for your bile reflux... I think getting the right dosage is very important. This is an interesting read:

http://www.mombu.com/medicine/general-body/t-bile-...


Safiyyah 4 years ago

Hi Kiwi 1967. How have u been feeling, hope the meds have been working...I'm still trying to manage without much meds till I go to see a new gastro in 2 weeks. I was wondering if you've tries Xanax for the bile reflux, I've read that it can inhibit/reduce bile flow.


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, My symptoms have been mild lately, so don't know if it's the meds working or if I would be like this anyway. The first 2-3 weeks on the meds the symptoms were bad, but then this disorder seems to have 'episodes' anyway... which doesn't make sense to me, as the bile is constantly being produced.

No, I haven't tried Xanax (alprazolam). Xanax belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression... so it surprises me that it would impact on bile production.

I worked in mental health as a nurse for a number of years and I'm very against benzodiazepines... they are addictive and can potentially increase any anxiety problems (they become less effective over time and your body craves more and your symptoms increase). They are fine for short term use (one month) to treat anxiety, but I wouldn't recommend them long term... I've seen the nasty results.

Good luck with the gastro specialist.


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Safiyyah 4 years ago

Hi Kiwi. I've been to the new gastro doctor. I found him quite good. His diagnosis is functional dyspepsia which was aggravated by antibiotics that I took two months back. He says that substantial bile reflux is very very rare and unlikely, especially in people who have never had gastric or gallbladder surgery. He also mentioned that since there was no bile found in my stomach, there is no reason to think I have bile reflux. He suggested that I continue with the Iberogast and Trepiline that the previous gastro prescribed. I have been feeling much better lately and have been able to go back to normal meals. Hope you've been doing well too :)


Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Safiyyah, That's great that you don't have bile reflux and that you are feeling better. Good you have found a decent specialist. I'm not too bad... I think the meds are helping. Just getting over the flu at the moment, so the symptoms of that have over-ridden the bile reflux.

Just following our previous conversation... I know your studies are stressful, but try and stay away from the benzos (Xanax) if you can. There are other ways to relax. All the best!


Thomas 4 years ago

Soooo, I take digestive enzymes from a health food store, with adequate dosages of lipase (for fat), amylase (for carbohydrate) and protease (for protein). I take it with or just before food (as the capsules take a minute to release. I have my gall bladder and medium athletic body type, middle aged.

My theory is this: Pyloric valve has been damaged hence bile reflux. Could be surfing injury, twisting injury lifting items located behind in delivery van with one arm etc. Whatever the reason. The presence of the digestive enzymes somehow makes a feedback loop to the liver and gallbladder not to release bile into the small intestine, and avoiding any issue of backflow. My stool returned to normal colour, shape and sinkers. However none of this is scientific or controlled diet exclusion of food types. It could be staying off sugar. Or staying off alcohol (did cause a ferocious grastritis like I imagine giving birth, or snapping a cruciate ligament, solved by major gulping of water). Or A2 milk and not A1 milk/cheese? Or staying off dairy? I don't know. But for two years I've benefited from plant based digestive enzymes, after ruling out H. pylori, and a scan which came up nil. I may get an endoscopy one day soon. But I recommend digestive enzymes. I also find staying off sugary food really critical. It's hard for the first few weeks as so addictive, but okay after that.


Anna 4 years ago

My symptoms started back in March of this year- or may have started even earlier. But I really didn't tap into what was going on until March when one morning prior to breakfast I felt sick to my stomch. It passed, but even the next day I flet off and, from that poin on, the weird symptoms began to build to the point of becoming rediculous and stupid, then to the point of noticable and unintentional weight loss.

I still have a very healthy gall bladder, liver and biliary system-that- you very much- since all of these were tested first in June to rule out blockages and stones.

The mystery abnormal fullness is what finally prompted that call to the doctor--especially after I consumed certain foods- mostly nut butters (high in fat), cheeses, higher fat crackers and finally full fat salad dressings. And that's how I described it- FULLNESS- not pain not bloating. That was then

Since an endoscopy in July that did confirm a belly FULL of bile (oh boo-hoo) I have had just a few morning of waking up feeling like I was going to throw up. But still have not and have been lucky enough to make it go away. I don't get acid reflux either, although the endoscopy and 2 suspect spots that were tested revealed Barrett's- "possibly" according to the G I doctor. He didn't want to take any chances and put my on Nexium as a just in case--to quell the acid.

I've been on Carafate (generic pill form) for just a mere 2 1/2 weeks and can tell a slight difference. BUT absoutly cannot eat full meals and in no way can risk eating anything super late. If this happens, I"ll wake up the next morning feeling REALLY full, kinf of sick and not wanting to eat ANYTHING for the rest of the day. I have risked a small amount of peanut butter and few hands full of french fries here and there with just a very slight feeling of discomfort...but nothing like it was before. But I'm still not willing to risk much before this drug has time to take full effect.

Might be interesting to note that my job has me lifting heavy loads quite frequently (as in 50# bags of feed and heavy bales of hay) and in my work unit, there has been employee tunrover. So if stress aggravates this condition, I can see how it was a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. Not sure what can be done at this point. Can't recall any sharp blows to the gut.

It's nice to see others who are in this same boat, but very discouraging to know that extreme surgery and medication are the only "bandaids" not cures.


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Kiwi1967 profile image

Kiwi1967 3 years ago from New Zealand

Haven't been on this page in ages. Just read Anne's post from 6 months ago. I think that because of your heavy lifting you have herniated one or both of the stomach sphincters and they are now not as effective... hence you are getting bile where it shouldn't be! I had a hiatal hernia (top stomach valve) and had a nissen fundoplication surgery. I still get bile reflux, but can manage it with Colestid... Questran is the same (this medication binds with the bile and gets it out of your system faster). Hope you are managing okay.


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