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How is bile reflux treated?

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Quick Answer

The treatment for bile reflux is the same as the treatment for acid reflux, according to the National Institutes of Health. Lifestyle modifications, weight loss and avoiding eating immediately before bed can control symptoms, while medications that reduce gastric acid secretion, which are known as proton pump inhibitors, are also sometimes recommended.

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Full Answer

Two other medications that are sometimes used to treat bile reflux include ursodeoxycholic acid and bile acid sequestrants. Ursodeoxycholic acid promotes the flow of bile while lessening the severity and frequency of symptoms. Bile acid sequestrants disrupt bile circulation, but tend to come with severer side effects including bloating, as stated by Mayo Clinic.

When medications and lifestyle changes fail to control bile reflux symptoms or if precancerous changes are noted in the esophagus, then surgery may be recommended to treat the condition. Two main types of surgery are used: diversion surgery, or Roux-en-Y, or anti reflux surgery, or fundoplication. Roux-en-Y, which is also used as a weight loss surgery, involves creating a new connection for draining bile so that it is diverted away from the stomach. Fundoplication involves wrapping the esophagus and sewing it around the lower esophageal sphincter to reduce reflux and strengthen the valve. The surgery suggested depends on severity of symptoms and other factors.

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