Just want ask anybody please only now and again I suffer from that horrible bile that comes up during the night when your a sleep !! is it because I have slept on my left side or is because I have eaten late just before going to bed or is it both ??? the bile that comes up eventually is a yellow colour and once you have clear your chest or throat all is fine again but its not a nice experience, I wait for some people's views on this subject I am nearly 3 years post op. Thank you

29 Replies

  • I am 9 months post op and I get this. I have found this is better if I stay away from anything red or herby. pasta seems ok.

  • Ok thanks for the reply all information is so helpful.

  • I try to eat my last meal of the day a good three hours before bedtime and I never try to 'lie down' on my side. I have 4 pillows + a v. shaped one so that whichever side I sleep on, I'm well propped up. My last drink before bed sometimes causes problems with bile reflux so I try to limit it to something small, cold, non alcoholic and non dairy. Cranberry juice and water or J2o and water seem to be ok 'most of the time', tho' I occasionally have a problem with everything, including water. When I start getting reflux, I go back to taking a dose of Gaviscon just before bed, for about a week and that usually gets me back on an even keel. More often than not I have problems with persistent burping during the day, after drinking tea. It causes a great deal of discomfort, not to mention embarrassment - and ruins my enjoyment of a good cuppa. My op' was in Mar. 2012.

  • Hi thanks for such a lot of useful info and I will give a try,the burping is just something I pup up with and sometimes it can give you a little bit more room in your tummy (if you get my drift) by the way my op was Jan 2012.

  • I take two 5ml spoonfuls of Peptac Liquid before going to bed, as prescribed by my GP. The last time I forgot, I had a severe acid reflux during the night.

  • From my experience causes vary somewhat. Eating fatty food late does it for me, a glass of warm milky drink before bedtime did it as well. Why it happens around 2 to3 in the morning but never during the day is a mystery. I cannot link it to sleeping in any position. Like most of us I try to sleep elevated but it defies that and the gluey consitancy makes it difficult to get rid of it. Unlike reflux.

  • Hi David, thanks for replying your quite right about its a mystery, I was told by the support group a long time ago about laying on the left side it would happen,and I do have quite a few pillows. Its such a nasty thing when its dose comes up that I quickly that a spoon full of B12 tonic liquid and this helps a little until a few hours and I can clear it (yuck) I was thinking of getting some barley sweets as well. I just wondered how other people cope.

  • I had my surgery in Feb this year. I don't think ever a simple explanation to any of the problems after this sort of surgery. I sleep in my left side and occasionally I have a problem with bile coming up. It really is a horrible experience but I can't connect with anything I've done or when I've last eaten.

    I also have problems after I eat sometimes- tummy pains, sweating etc. there again I can't connect this with a particle food. I just keep hoping it will get better through time. I would be interested to know from those who had their surgery longer ago if it does get any better,

  • Hi Ya, your tummy pains could be a little of over eating so I would cut down a little, I hope you don't mind me saying that as I can remember doing that,the mind wants more than the tummy can handle.The sweating can be sugar rush as the food has got to down little and often and slowly. We all get there eventually but it takes its time and you are still in the early days so take care and I wish you well.

  • I think your right. As I feel generally better I think I sometimes forget that I need to little at a time. Thanks for the advice.

  • Do you take ranitidine ( Zantac)?

    That may help it does me 150mg at night

  • No I don't only because this only every happens about say once a month/6 weeks, so as yet I have not been to my doctor !!!

  • Everything above is great advice, and I only want to add that investing in an adjustable bed can help. It can be quite expensive, but I have found that it is one of two things that helped me the most. The other is no food whatsoever after my supper, taken at 1730-1800 at the latest. I avoid fatty foods at supper, including things like alfredo sauces, items with cheese or any other dairy products, and fatty meats. these are just a few examples. And no caffeine whatsoever after mid-afternoon.

    I found that an adjustable bed worked much better than pillows. I would slide off the pillows, and the angle really bothered my neck, which was cut on as part of my surgery. Once I transitioned from the recliner to a bed, I found that an adjustable bed along with the food changes minimized the nighttime regurgitations and aspirations.

  • Hi Thank you so much for all your helpful hints and tips great job.x

  • It would be worth thinking about whether eating fatty food might have caused it, because bile does get produced to help you digest fat, and you might just have had something those evenings that have tipped the balance a bit?

  • Hi Alan, that was one of my question what sets it off laying the wrong side for to long or is to do with food ?? no one seems to know ???

  • I know that for some people, according to the details of their surgery, sleeping on the 'wrong' side can indeed trigger things off. But it is also likely to be mixed up with what and when you have eaten, especially if much of the time you are OK.

    It is a mystery why everybody seems to be so different from each other. What works for some does not always work for others, which is really unhelpful as a reply to a straightforward question!

  • Hi Alan, thank you so much for your straight forward as best as it come be !!! what I mean is that sleeping on my left side has an affect on me !! but also staying quite up right with maybe 3 pillows or a v shape pillow helps out so much as well, but I was unsure about any food ??

  • Hi. I am 7 years post op, and i never suffered with reflux for the first 3 years. One night I woke up with the worst burning/taste I have ever had and was quite scared. I realised it was acid reflux, and now have a packet of tunes and polos by my bed, and the tunes seem to soothe the feeling. I have noticed that I can no longer sleep on my back, or my left side, even if my head israised. I can only sleep on my right side. Even if I do turn during the night I almost always get reflux. I do find it uncomfortable, but unfortunately it's another thing I have learnt to live with!

  • The short answer is that foods are the cause of the bile-acid reflux/regurgitation. The more fat content of the food, the more bile that is produced. This bile increases the volume of GI contents, and these GI contents creep up at night due to horizontal positioning and the relaxation of sphincters during deep sleep. Elevating the head helps, and ranitidine can decrease the volume of secretions. It is highly individualized as Alan has said. A person must come up with an eating routine that works best, and use pillows or adjustable bed to mitigate the situation. \wc

  • Oh, and positioning matters if one position causes the angle of the new esophagus to be lower relative to horizontal. This and volume of GI contents at night are to me the biggest factors.

  • Hi Thank you for all the advice, but either I am a bit thick on the your way of putting things is there an easier way to tell me ??? sorry

  • I apologize for responding in a way that is unclear. Perhaps it is my Southern American idiom.

    I believe that eating is the biggest factor leading to your bile regurgitation. Changes in eating habits will probably be the best way to minimize those episodes, although it is unlikely they can be eliminated altogether. Decreasing fatty foods at the supper meal, and eating the supper meal at least two to three hours before lying down are the best ways to help. Certain things can worsen the episodes, such as caffeine, chocolate, or mint. Avoiding these in the late afternoon or evening will also help. I would also avoid milk or nuts. This will lessen the amount of bile in your system at bedtime, and the less there is the less the chance of it coming up into your mouth or airway.

    The higher your head is above your abdomen will also lessen the chance of any bile that is in your system coming up toward your mouth or airway. This can be achieved by pillows, an adjustable bed, or sleeping in a sitting position (ie recliner). The more your head is above the level of your abdomen, the less likely any GI contents will come up.

    These two things taken together (diet and position) are the best way to minimize regurgitation of these GI contents. Shortly after my esophagectomy, I had a major problem with this even sitting upright at night. But it improved with time so that I have been able to minimize the episodes by using the things I talked about above. Even then If I lay on my back at night the episodes are likely to occur. So it may be that lying on your left side just has to be avoided. But I would try the diet and position changes to see what works for you. I don't know the exact type of surgery you had or where the stomach was attached to the esophagus, but it may be that there is some connection between lying on your left and an increased chance of regurgitation.

    Hope this helps. Sorry again.

  • Thank you Thank you!!!!! so very much it was very useful, I had what is called an ivory lewis procedure January 2012 and I have heard this before about laying on the left side but not heard all about the stuff so once again thank you my American friend, ha ha

  • Happy to help a little. We've all got to stick together after such a major change.

  • The range of replies demonstrates the complexity of this problem. Now 9 years post op I break many of the suggestions made other than the fact that I always attempt to go to sleep initially lying on my right hand side, always propped up 6/8 inches. When I wake in the night I usually turn to my left hand side (someone told me not to sleep on my left side until three and a half hours had elapsed). I split my Omeprazole into half morning and half evening and every night, at least one hour after, I take 2 full desert spoonfuls of Gaviscon Advance before going to bed. This, in the main, seems to work for me but very occasionally it does not and to say it is vile is an understatement. Those nights drinking warm milk and eating digestive biscuits in an attempt to absorb the burning taste are not easy to forget. I tend to feel off colour for a few days after. It certainly seems that an individual remedy needs to be established. Good luck.

  • Hi Sportsman thanks for a very personal feeling about how it makes you feel and also thanks for the helpful tips.

  • Hi Hunsdon

    All useful posts below, You will produce more bile when eating fatty foods and the taste when you bring it up is disgusting, even worse than reflux. Continue with the raised bed/pillows etc and you will find thru trial and error which side is better for you to sleep on. I suppose it depends where your stomach (rest of) settles. I find keeping the RHS on the bed easier because the stomach is in a lower position on that side.

    Burping/Belching will be a constant irritation. Try to do this whist upright otherwise it might bring stomach residue up as well. I often have some milk before I go to bed (although this is mainly for acid) and keep some Gaviscon sachets handy ... and try not ot eat late at night. Good luck

  • Thank you so much for all your good advice, all of us in this elite group should look after one another I think or at least pass on all good information, once again thank you.

You may also like...