Vomiting Bile

If you are vomiting bile, then you could have a serious medical condition. Although many of the causes are minor, there is always a chance that this could be a sign of something more serious. Due to this, you should always get medical treatment if you are vomiting bile for an unknown reason.

When you vomit bile, your vomit may be green or yellow in color. Normally, vomit will be brown or pink in color, but the presence of bile can make it appear like a different color. Bile is produced by the liver to help break down food, absorb fats and aid in digestion. If bile is present in your stomach, it may be due to a problem with your pyloric valve. If the sphincter aspect of the valve is not working properly, it may remain open and allow some of the juices in the small intestine to escape up into the stomach. Since the small intestine is where bile is released to process food, this means that the bile could end up in your stomach and eventually your vomit. When this happens, it can be due to a variety of different medical conditions.

The Reasons Why You Might Be Vomiting Bile and Treatment Options

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning actually happens a lot more than you thought. Any time you felt slightly nauseous or under the weather, it could have been a mild case of food poisoning at fault. This illness occurs when food carries viruses or bacteria because it was not handled hygienically. When you have food poisoning, you may experience symptoms like stomach pain, vomiting bile, fever or diarrhea.

To treat food poisoning, you need to drink an electrolyte solution like a sports drink to help your body recover the fluid and electrolytes that it has lost. In severe cases, doctors may recommend that patients undergo rehydration therapy orally or intravenously. You do not want to take anti-diarrhea medicine because it may make the problem worse. Instead, rehydrate and let your body flush the harmful microbes out naturally.

Bile Reflux

Sometimes, your body overproduces bile due to peptic ulcers, gallstone surgery, stomach surgeries or gallbladder removal. When this happens, your body tries to reduce the excess bile by throwing it up. Symptoms of this illness include nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort and heartburn. If the symptoms continue, patients may lose weight because they have changed their eating habits to adjust. As soon as you have symptoms of bile reflux, you should always seek medical care. Without treatment, bile reflux can develop into esophageal damage, GERD, stomach inflammation or gastritis.

Normally, your doctor will treat bile reflux with some type of medication. Medicines like ursodeoxycholic acid can help to sooth your stomach acid and stop some of the abdominal discomfort. If medication does not work, your doctor may prescribe fundoplication surgery to reduce the pressure on your esophagus.

Food Allergies

Fortunately, some of the causes of vomiting bile are easily remedied and carry very few long term complications. If you have a food allergy, you may end up vomiting bile. Your immune system is basically treating a food like an outside invader and triggering an immune response. When this happens, you may have a runny nose, breathing difficulties, nausea and stomach cramps.

Once you figure out that you have a food allergy, you should do your best to avoid the allergen. Most minor allergy symptoms will subside on their own without any extra care. In serious allergies, you may develop breathing problems or facial swelling. If this happens, you need to get emergency medical care immediately and your doctor may give you an epinephrine shot to treat your symptoms.


Gastroenteritis is caused by a virus that is spread by contaminated food and water. When you have this illness, you will experience flu-like symptoms. Known commonly as “the stomach flu”, this illness causes stomach cramps, vomiting, dehydration and diarrhea. When you develop gastroenteritis, you may be unable to digest solid food for several days and your body will vomit up any solid food that is consumed. Due to excessive vomiting, you may end up vomiting bile.

During this time, the main treatment is to drink plenty of fluids to replace all of the fluids that you are losing. Electrolyte fluids like sports drinks are one of the best ways to make sure that you are replenishing your body properly. If your illness is due to a bacteria, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic medication. To stop the vomiting, doctors may recommend antiemetics such as promethazine.

Blocked Intestines

On occasion, you may develop an intestinal blockage. If your intestines are blocked, it becomes impossible for food to pass through them. Instead of moving out of your digestive system, the food ends up moving in the opposite direction until you vomit it up. When you have an intestinal blockage, you may experience severe cramps, constipation and green vomit. Unless you have a birth defect, your blockage is most likely due to a twisted intestine.

Since the most common cause is a twisted intestine, doctors normally recommend a surgical intervention. During surgery, the doctor cuts the deformity in the intestine and unblocks the bowels. By doing this, the vomiting stops and bowel movement is allowed to restart.

Cyclic Vomiting Disorder

When someone has cyclic vomiting disorder, it means that they have vomiting episodes periodically that may require hospitalization. These episodes may be triggered by different things and can last for periods longer than a month.

To help with this disorder, doctors may give medications that prevent episodes from occurring. They will generally recommend that the patient take three meals and three snacks a day to keep their stomach balanced. You may be recommended to avoid circumstances that are too exciting since this can trigger this disorder. In addition to getting enough sleep, you may also be told to avoid potential trigger foods like cheese, alcohol or chocolate.

An Empty Stomach

If you become sick and there is nothing in your stomach, you will often end up vomiting bile. When this happens, your vomit may appear to be yellow or green in color. To treat this, you merely need to take an antiemetic to stop throwing up and make sure to eat something. You may also need to drink extra fluids to replace any that were lost.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Your body is not made to binge drink every weekend. If you are throwing up bile, it may be due to excessive alcohol consumption or to a low tolerance for alcohol. When this happens, your body throws up the toxic alcohol along with bile.

If you have a low alcohol tolerance, you will have this tolerance forever and should avoid drinking. In cases where you threw up bile from excessive drinking, your main treatment is drinking fluids and waiting for the hangover to pass. In the future, drinking less will help your body to stay healthy.


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