What is Bile Reflux?
While acid reflux is the backflow of caustic stomach acids into the esophagus, bile reflux occurs when bile flows upward from the small intestine into the stomach and esophagus. Bile is a greenish-yellow substance that plays an important role in helping us to digest foods, absorb fats and eliminate worn-out red blood cells and certain toxins from the body. Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder in a concentrated form, and even a modest amount of fat in a meal signals the gallbladder to release bile.
This phenomenon can also occur during pregnancy or happen due to obesity, as well as excessive bending over and lifting heavy weights. A peptic ulcer may also contribute greatly to - and be a cause of - bile reflux. Frequent heartburn, nausea, vomiting bile and occasionally a cough or hoarseness may be symptomatic of bile reflux.