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Bile reflux

Related Terms

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Background

  • Bile is a digestive fluid composed of bile salts, bile pigments, cholesterol, and fatty acids. Bile is produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and released into the duodenum (the upper section of the small intestine) when needed to aid the digestion of fats. Bile is essential for digesting fats and for eliminating aged red blood cells and certain toxins from the body.
  • Bile reflux, also called duodenogastric reflux, occurs when bile flows upward from the small intestine into the stomach. Bile reflux is caused by damage to the pyloric valve, which is a ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the duodenum. When the pyloric valve fails to close properly, bile flows into the stomach, causing pain and inflammation.
  • Bile reflux and acid reflux (also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)) have similar signs and symptoms, and the two conditions may occur at the same time. When bile reflux and acid reflux occur together, the mixture of bile and stomach acids flows backwards further into the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach), causing heartburn and damage to the esophagus. Unlike acid reflux, bile reflux often causes a burning or gnawing pain in the stomach.
  • Diagnosing bile reflux is often difficult, because bile reflux and acid reflux have similar signs, and it is not uncommon for symptoms of the two conditions to occur at the same time. Since acid reflux is more common, bile reflux is often overlooked or mistaken for acid reflux and improperly treated.
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Types of the Disease

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Risk Factors

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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.