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Treatment Options for Bile Reflux

Before you seek treatment for the condition known as bile reflux, you need to be certain that you have been properly diagnosed with it. Have your attending physician double check your symptoms. This is because you could have acid reflux. Acid reflux and bile reflux have similar symptoms but the two conditions are different from each other. At the same time, make sure you have properly been diagnosed with acid reflux. This is because acid reflux could happen as a result of having bile reflux. Make sure you definitely have one or the other first. Due to the similarities and differences between both acid reflux and bile reflux, the treatment methods are different from each other. What is used to treat acid reflux might not work for bile reflux and vice-versa.

In regards to acid reflux, one treatment would be to avoid the following foods and beverages: alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, chocolate, citrus (fruits and juices), tomatoes, spicy foods, fatty foods, full-fat dairy products, peppermint, and spearmint. Also, you avoid other foods that have given you symptoms of heartburn.

Another method of treatment would be using antacids. However, you will have to constantly take them. There are also other drugs and medications such as: Zantac, Pepsid, Tagamet, Prilosec, Protonix, etc.

However, those treatments are for acid reflux. Bile reflux is a different story, despite the similarities in symptoms between the two conditions.

According to Mayo Clinic, the treatments for bile reflux are: ursodeoxycholic acid, proto pump inhibitors, and surgical treatments. A New York Times health article on the condition explains that surgery would be the last means of treatment. Go for surgery if the other methods of treatment fail to help those that suffer bile reflux.

Ursodeoxycholic acid is a means to promote the flow of bile. This is to lessen the symptoms and pain of dealing with bile reflux. But, other drugs could be prescribed if your stomach delays emptying out.

Photon pump inhibitors, usually to treat acid reflux, can also be used for bile reflux. This is to block the production of acid. But, it could also help keep the bile from traveling into the esophagus. But, this method is applied mainly to treat acid reflux.

For surgery, there are two main methods: diversion surgery and anti-reflux surgery.

Diversion surgery, also known as “Roux-en-Y,” is used to treat those with bile reflux who had previous gastric surgery. This method of surgery is to move the bile away from the stomach by draining the bile further down into the intestine. Thus, it keeps the bile from entering into the stomach and in turn entering into the esophagus. For bile reflux, this is a very common operation.

Anti-reflux surgery or “fundoplication” can also be used to treat those with bile reflux. However, this method seems less effective on those with bile reflux. This method is usually given to treat those with acid reflux.

Due to the different methods of treatment, you need to be certain that you have either acid reflux or bile reflux. If you get diagnosed with having acid reflux, you need to be double-sure. Have the doctor run further tests. Even if you get diagnosed with acid reflux, you could have bile reflux and that the former is an effect of the latter. The Mayo Clinic explains that those with bile reflux could still have the symptoms after going through anti-reflux surgery.

Sources Cited:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bile-reflux/DS00651/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001311/