Archive for the ‘Digestive juices’ Category
Bile reflux refers to the fluid from the small intestine that flows into the stomach and esophagus. Acid reflux, however, occurs when stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. Both conditions are usually linked and can sometimes be difficult to distinguish.
Bile is a digestive juice produced in the liver. Its main function is to help the body digest fat and remove toxins. The bile flows from the liver through the bile duct to the upper small intestine (duodenum), located just below the stomach. Normally, the bile cannot enter the stomach due to a one-way valve between the stomach and small intestine, called the pylorus, which opens to allow food to pass from the bottom of the stomach into the intestine. The pylorus prevents the contents of the small intestine, including bile, back to the stomach.
When the pylorus is damaged or not working properly, bile and other digestive juices in the intestine may enter the stomach and cause irritation and inflammation. Among people at high risk for bile reflux are those who eventually underwent a surgery involving the pylorus or stomach that affects the nerves that play a role in the functioning of the pylorus.
There is another valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter. Normally, this valve is opened only to let food enter the stomach and then closes tightly. When the valve relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can back up into the esophagus and it is known as acid reflux.
In cases where neither the pylorus nor lower esophageal sphincter function properly, bile and stomach acid, along with other digestive juices from the small intestine may enter the esophagus from the stomach. This condition is known as bile reflux, although juice entering the esophagus does not contain only bile.