Is It Serious – What Does Vomiting Green Bile Fluids Mean?
No one enjoys being ill but vomiting green bile fluids can be particularly unpleasant and even worrying.
What is Bile
Bile – also sometimes called gall – is dark green fluid that is produced in the livers of mammals, animals and humans, and is secreted to help make digestion an easier and more efficient process.
In humans bile is not stored in the liver though it is stored in the gallbladder. When we eat it is secreted into the stomach to help break down foods, especially fats.
Bile also has alkaline properties that help neutralize strong stomach acids that are produced as a by product of digestion.
If you happen to find yourself throwing up bile the taste alone can be enough to make you feel even worse. Bile is a very bitter substance and very unpleasant to have to experience.
As it is also fairly brightly colored if you see it it can be rather frightening, as you may worry that there is something wrong other than a case of stomach flu.
Vomiting green bile fluids is not always a cause for concern but it can be a symptom of an underlying problem sometimes. Here are some of the common reasons people vomit bile:
Stomach Flu – If you have picked up a bug that is making you vomit before too long there will simply be nothing left in your stomach to expel except bile, which will continue to be released. In this case the concern is not so much about the vomiting as it is the danger of dehydration.
If you do have a stomach flu the very last thing you will often feel like doing until the bug passes through your system is eating.
It is important however that you keep trying to drink plenty of fluids, even if you have a hard time keeping them down.
Food Poisoning – If a person eats tainted food their body will try to expel as much of it as quickly as possible, regurgitating the food often only semi digested so bile will be brought up as well.
There is often very little that can be done to treat food poisoning and victims simply have to wait it out, drinking plenty of fluids and when they do feel that they can eat again starting by only eating small amounts of bland food until their system has begun to get back to normal.
If the symptoms of food poisoning are not beginning to resolve after 48 hours, or a person cannot keep any liquids down at all for a number of hours medical treatment- usually in the form of IV fluids – may be required, especially in the case of small children and older people.
Intestinal Obstruction – An intestinal obstruction is a blockage of waste matter at some point in the intestines.
Often people pass this off as severe constipation but if bloating, abdominal distention and constipation are accompanied by vomiting bile then the problem may be an intestinal obstruction that will often need a doctor’s care to resolve.
If a small child has the symptoms of an intestinal obstruction seeking the advice of their doctor is a must since such things can cause severe health complications for babies and toddlers if left untreated.
Gallbladder Problems – For a small organ the gallbladder can cause a lot of pain, especially if gallstones have formed and are blocking the proper function of the bile ducts.
Gallstones are a build up of bile and cholesterol and their presence can cause severe abdominal pain and vomiting, vomit that will often contain fairly large amounts of bile.
Sometimes gallstones can be removed by way of a procedure called ERCP, inserting a small flexible scope into the body and using imaging technology to locate and attempt to remove smaller stones.
If the stones are in the gallbladder itself often an operation to remove the gallbladder altogether is a better solution.
Gallbladder removal has become a far less invasive and traumatic experience and for people who have an ongoing problem with gallstones, or have a gallbladder that processes bile very slowly life without their gallbladder will be less painful than one with it.
Most people experience very few problems after their gallbladder is removed. With no organ to store it bile is delivered directly to the stomach from the liver after a meal instead.
This can sometimes cause indigestion problems after a large meal but rarely any more than that.
Occasionally vomiting bile is pretty normal, although very unpleasant to have to deal with. If, however, you become concerned that it happens frequently, or vomiting green bile fluids is accompanied by some of the other symptoms mentioned here you should probably make an appointment with your doctor for a check up.