Bile reflux is a gastrointestinal disorder. Most people are familiar with acid reflux disorder, when stomach acids back-flow into the esophagus. Bile reflux disorder is a similar condition, but the bile leaks into your stomach and esophagus. According to the Mayo Clinic, these two conditions often accompany each other.
Ursodeoxycholic acid is a prescription your doctor can prescribe for the treatment of bile reflux. It helps promote the flow of bile. When you are prescribed this medication, your doctor is hoping it will relieve your pain and reduce the frequency of bile reflux symptoms. The commercial name is URSO (or ursodiol), and it comes in a tablet. Taken with food, it is usually prescribed to take two to four doses per day.
The symptoms of bile reflux can be severe. When medication is not working, doctors may recommend surgery. There are two types of surgery, neither of which is guaranteed to be successful. One type of treatment for bile reflux is diversion surgery. During this operation, surgeons divert bile away from your stomach by creating a new connection for you bile to drain.
The second type of surgery is anti-reflux surgery (fundoplication). This surgery is used on bile reflux patients, but is more successful in acid reflux patients. The purpose of the operation is to increase the pressure at the lower end of your esophagus to reduce the reflux. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is accomplished by wrapping and then sewing the uppermost portion of the stomach that connects with the esophagus to the fundus, which is the lower portion of the esophagus.
Aside from drugs and surgery, you can make some positive changes in your life to relieve your symptoms.
Stop smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, you are increasing the production of stomach acid and drying up the saliva that helps to protect your esophagus.
Eat smaller meals. When you eat large meals, it puts pressure on the esophageal sphincter, causing it to open at the wrong time.
Do not lay down after eating. Delay naps and sleeping for at least two or three hours after you eat.
Reduce your intake of fatty foods. Meals that are high in fat cause the esophageal sphincter to relax, thus slowing down the digestion process.
Changing your sleeping position can also facilitate the relief of symptoms. You will need to raise your bed about 6 inches at the head. This incline and the natural force of gravity may prevent the reflux. Pillows are not usually sufficient to create the correct angle. It is recommended to purchase a foam wedge or use blocks to elevate the sleeping position.