Increasingly today, it seems more people are having problems with their stomachs. We see more and more advertisements for products to help with various ailments that we may have or think we have. Very often, people will simply take an over-the-counter medication without knowing if it is really going to help with the problem at hand.
What many people may not be aware of is that while they may think they have all the symptoms of a typical case of indigestion, heartburn or acid reflux, that there are other problems or maladies that may exist that can only be treated by a physician.
One of these illnesses is referred to as bile gastritis. Many may ask the simple question, just what is bile gastritis?
This is a medical term that many may never have heard before. While not as common as the ailment known as acid reflux, both do act in a similar manner. It is very often also referred to as bile reflux as well, as this condition often goes hand in hand with it. Simply put, it is an inflammation in the stomach that begins to happen when bile, which is produced by the liver, begins to leak into the stomach. If this lasts long enough, the fluid can even begin to erode the lining of the stomach and eventually reach the esophagus, causing the feelings typically associated with heartburn.
Bile gastritis in itself is not very common. Often it occurs in people who have had some type of surgery which may lead to the situation that can cause it. If you have had your gall bladder removed or perhaps some sort of stomach surgery related to weight loss such as a gastric bypass, then you are at risk for the conditions to occur.
Any of these types of surgeries can cause the problems because typically in these procedures there is some sort of disruption in how the body does store bile. This can cause the bile to begin to be stored in places that it does not normally go to or belong, such as the stomach.
There can be other causes of gastritis that may lead to problems. The use of particular kinds of medications can often cause the symptoms and problems. Anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin and other medications similar to this have been known to cause issues that can lead to stomach complications. Infections that are caused by viruses or bacteria have also been known to cause this. There are also signs that stress and chronic vomiting can create the circumstances under which gastritis will exist.
Symptoms of the illness can be quite varied and often people have no symptoms at all, making it difficult for a doctor to diagnose. Of course, since the backflow of bile into the stomach can cause higher levels of acids to form in the stomach, there can be a great deal of abdominal pain and inflammation that may occur in some people. The pain can range from very mild to very severe, depending on the person and the extent and regularity of the bile reflux.
Heartburn can be another symptom that may occur. This is often seen as a burning sensation that happens in the upper part of the stomach, chest or throat and can again range from mild to quite intense. People who are experiencing this often find that the most severe heartburn occurs right after they have had a meal or during the night.
Nausea and vomiting are other indications that there may be a problem. Because of the irritation in the stomach that is happening, the feeling of being sick may carry with you often. Vomiting is also not the usual type you would see with a stomach flu or virus. Very often, the vomiting from this illness will contain blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds. This is an indication of severe damage to the stomach lining and you should seek the help of medical professionals as soon as possible if this happens.
Another indication may be the occurrence of weight loss. Since the lining of the stomach will be so irritated and inflamed, many people do not feel like doing any eating at all. This can lead to not just an average weight loss, but a severe one. The loss of appetite that occurs can cause a large, unintended decrease in weight.
There is really only one method that this ailment can be accurately diagnosed by a physician, and that is through the performance of an upper endoscopy. In an endoscopy, the doctor will insert a long, thin tube with a tiny camera attached to it. This is inserted through the patient’s mouth and is guided down into the stomach. It is only through this method that the doctor can then get a look at the stomach, the lining and the irritation and see what is going on. The doctor may also perform a biopsy while doing the endoscopy to remove a small sample of tissue for further analysis.
There are not a lot of treatment options available. The majority of the treatments often prescribed for acid reflux do not work under these circumstances since these medications are designed to deal with problems involving acid, not bile. If it has not been a chronic occurrence, often the body is able to heal itself. Eating a piece of bread or drinking milk after a meal may provide some relief. If the pain is severe and often, the doctor may prescribe sucralfate, which helps provide a protective coating in stomach and intestines to help the healing process. The doctor may also recommend surgery be performed to move the bile duct further down in your body to make it more difficult for bile to seep into your stomach.
Bile gastritis, while difficult to diagnose and treat, can be dealt with. A physician may recommend changes in diet and exercise to eliminate foods that may cause the production of more bile and acid. While these changes alone may not give a solution, they can help provide relief on a daily basis.