Oesophageal Patients Association
3,370 members2,106 posts

Throwing up bile 3 or 4 times a day

I had my Ivor Lewis op on 8th March, unfortunately there were complications and I developed a leak after some time in ICU and 4 weeks in hospital I'm home now recovering. I am unable to eat anything and only allowed to take small sips of water till the leak repairs itself as I wasn't well enough to go back into surgery.

I'm feeling better every day the only major problem is I am throwing up 3 or 4 times a day of which is greenish bile. Has any one had experience of this at all? Not sure if it's medication causing it as I'm on MST and top ups of oramorph. Or the fact that I'm not eating at all so my stomach is empty. I have a swallow test in 12 days and hopefully the leak will be fully fixed and I can eat but in the meantime the throwing up is getting to me. Would appreciate any advice from anyone who has any similar experience.


6 Replies


Good work on getting this far. This is very early days (you will get fed up hearing this). I am 2.5 years post op now and like most, still have episodes where things go wrong. But, life is good and things are almost normal.

What I would say (not being a doctor) as your new plumbing settles, even the smallest of things can set off a reaction, similar to what you have. You have to be very careful of contracting any bugs. I would suggest a visit or a call to your consultant in the first instance.

In my case the PPI's that I was prescribed (post op) caused bile and vomitting. But it is a balance, not taking them can cause reflux issues. I found that by not taking them the vomitting stopped almost immediately. Then by not eating after 19:00 the reflux stopped. I take the odd glug of Gaviscon before bed, if I feel reflux is likely.

Drinking lots of water also helped me, but I would caution doing this without speaking to your own medical team.

It is very much about finding what works for you. That is really, trial and error in the early days.

It does get better and time is a great healer. I am now back working full time and doing pretty much everything I did before my cancer. This is great site for real life advice and experience.

Good luck.



As Bruce has said, these are very early days for you; and worn-out old adage it may be, but time in this case really is a great healer: things can and will improve. Bruce is also right in saying what an excellent resource this site is. Hearing that others are experiencing symptoms and effects from the radical surgery; and yet others for whom these same symptoms are a thing of the past, is a comfort and a source of hope.

My IL was in June 2015 and it would have been impossible at that time to imagine my life as it is now. To a large degree, my life is much as it was pre-cancer: but it is the 'new normal'. There will be radical alterations in your diet and lifestyle. There will be times when you experience pain or problems such as Dumping Syndrome, Early or Late; but you'll develop strategies to cope with all of this in time, through time, trial and error, and the advice derived from common experience to be found on this site.

Bile was a major problem for me, post-op. For me, it took exhaustive experimentation with pillow configurations when sleeping, a reduced dose of PPIs, eating tiny amounts often and always many hours before bedtime, and the breakthrough therapy was Tung acupuncture. How this works I neither know nor care. It just does. One treatment keeps bile at bay for about three to four months. When I awake in the middle of the night with a tell-tale trace burn in the back of my throat, I know it's time book an appointment.

But this is your pathway to recovery and time, trial and error and common experience culled from this site will lead you to your 'new normal'. I wish you every good thing.


I am sorry to say that leaks can take a long time to heal themselves, and that it cam be a very frustrating wait; but they normally do heal in time. Meanwhile you do have to ensure that your nutrition levels contour, presumably with a feeding tube?

I do not think that throwing up will do the healing process any good, so you do need to report this to the specialist nurse or the ward sister. The green 'bile' might be the sign of an infection - are you running a temperature? Bile tastes really foul, and the throwing up might be the result of bile reflux, and this too will not help the healing, so you need to report it to the hospital either way.

Try not to worry too much. It is probably a complication that will get better in time, but it never feels that way when you are going through it, especially when you are at home without nurses and doctors on hand.


The MST and Oramorph that you are taking will be suppressing the natural peristalsis that should clear your lower intestines of food residue, bacterial mass, mucus and secretions.

So there is nowhere else for it to go but up, given that you have probably lost all three of the higher sphincters.

Try to wean yourself off the pain management.

How are your bowel movements?


Thanks I had considered that maybe they were playing a part in it, I am down quite a bit from what I was taking and will be lowering them further this week coming. Am still in a good bit of pain so need something. My bowel movements are not good having to take alot of laxido to get any movement at the minute.


The lack of exercise and lack of any bulk food will be making your constipation even worse.

Ask your medics if you could switch to Tramadol .... this will not impede the peristaltic action of your gut but has a powerful analgesic action in the brain without the groggy effect of morphia, also it is less addictive.

As soon as you are allowed anything by mouth consider a little oatmeal in live yoghurt as the means to begin stabilising your ravaged gut flora and re-establish a rhythm.

Let us know how you get on.

1 like

You may also like...