Bile Reflux After Mini Gastric Bypass

By Gaston Tessada on August 10, 2019

Suffering from stomach painMore and more people are undergoing mini gastric bypass surgery to lose weight quickly and safely. Dr. Francisco Gonzalez has changed the lives of numerous patients thanks to this procedure. All surgeries do have their share of risks, however, and one such risk with mini gastric bypass is bile reflux.

Our team of Tijuana, Mexico weight loss surgery specialists would like to look at the link between mini gastric bypass and bile reflux. When you speak with the Oasis of Hope team, we can go over this topic in greater detail.

About Bile Reflux

Bile is a dark green or yellowish-brown digestive fluid produced by the liver. It aids in the digestive process in the small intestine.

Bile reflux occurs when the bile backs up (refluxes) in the small intestine and winds up in your stomach. Sometimes bile reflux is so serious that the bile winds up in the esophagus.

Bile Reflux vs. Acid Reflux: What Is the Difference?

Many people confuse bile reflux with acid reflux, but they are two separate conditions. Note that bile reflux involves fluid from the small intestine flowing into the stomach and esophagus. Acid reflux involves a flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. The conditions are sometimes interrelated, but they are distinct.

Signs and Symptoms of Bile Reflux

The most common signs and symptoms of bile reflux include:

  • Heartburn
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Sour taste in the mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (usually a green or yellow color)
  • Coughing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Unintended weight loss

Links Between Mini Gastric Bypass and Bile Reflux

There have been studies that found a link between mini gastric bypass surgery and instances of bile reflux. The incidence is relatively low, but worth noting.

One study published in 2017 found that bile reflux is somewhat likely after mini gastric bypass, though the bile backs up into the gastric tube rather than the esophagus. Another study published in February 2019 suggested that the increase in bile reflux was the result of higher bilirubin levels in mini gastric bypass patients.

Bilirubin is a substance that is made during the normal breakdown of red blood cells in the liver, eventually excreted from the body in the bile and urine.

How Seriously Should I Take Bile Reflux Risk After Mini Gastric Bypass?

This risk of bile reflux is one of the potential risks that can be discussed during the consultation process at our Tijuana weight loss surgery center.

The bile reflux risk is particularly important if a patient has a history of bile reflux or acid reflux prior to bariatric surgery. We may recommend another type of surgical weight loss treatment for the patient that will not increase the risk of bile reflux.

Keep in mind that for many patients, the benefits of a mini gastric bypass can outweigh the risks.

Managing Bile Reflux Symptoms

If you do develop bile reflux after a mini gastric bypass, there are many ways to manage the symptoms you experience:

  • Quit Smoking - Smoking can cause problems with stomach acid and digestion, so it’s important to quit for good dietary health.
  • Avoid Alcoholic Beverages - Alcoholic beverages can irritate parts of the digestive tract, so be sure to limit your consumption.
  • Reduce Fatty Food Intake - Fatty foods can lead to bile and acid reflux, so it’s best to avoid foods that are too rich.
  • Eat Smaller Meals - Try eating smaller meals to prevent issues with reflux. You’ll be eating small amounts of food frequently after bariatric surgery, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
  • Note Problem Foods - You may notice that certain foods are more likely to cause bile reflux than others. Be mindful of the meals you eat and go easy on those problem foods.
  • Avoid Lying Down After Meals - Don’t lie down for two to three hours after you eat. This gives your body a chance to process and digest a meal.

Advanced Treatments for Bile Reflux

If the above non-surgical approaches are ineffective, there are medications and surgeries that can help manage bile reflux.

Learn More About Mini Gastric Bypass

For more information about treating bile reflux and improving your overall health and wellness following mini gastric bypass surgery, be sure to contact a skilled weight loss surgeon. At Oasis of Hope, we are here to help. You can reach us in Tijuana by phone at (619) 304-2084.

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Oasis of Hope Bariatrics | Playas de Tijuana Office

Paseo Playas de Tijuana #19 Seccion Terrazas
Tijuana, BCN 22504

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