Mysterious Bile Gastritis Ruining My Life

Posted by strangepain96 @strangepain96, Oct 24, 2018

Hello everyone & anyone. In the recent months, I've suffered a steep drop in quality of life, the likes of which I could have never conceived. I'm 22 years old (M). Other than being slightly underweight, I've [fortunately] never suffered with any health problems before. I have no known history of significant health issues in my family, other than my 20 year brother who has (manageable) UC. At the beginning of the summer, I went to a routine doctor visit for some blood work. Everything came back normal EXCEPT for my bilirubin levels which were high (2.3). The doctor suspected nothing serious, but he ordered me to get an ultrasound of my gallbladder to check for stones or inflammation. At this point I had no symptoms other than anxiety that there could be something seriously wrong with me. Less than a week later, when I laid down to get some shuteye after eating a heavy meal, I experienced a dull, intermittent burning pain just under the ribcage on my left side. My primary care doctor suspected an ulcer and prescribed 8 weeks PPI (omeprazole.) The pain continued despite medication as well as drastic diet and lifestyle change. It occurs for 1-2 hours after meals, and in the morning when I wake up. I began to panic so I requested more testing. A CT scan revealed nothing other than a small nonobstructive kidney stone. I eventually decided to go forward and see a GI doctor, who recommended an EGD. Here's where things start to get strange: The EGD revealed I have no ulcer, only gastritis caused by a pool of bile in the gastric body. I've exhaustively researched a possible reason for this, but found absolutely NOTHING that could lead to a conclusion. I've never had any surgery before, no history of digestive problems up until this point. After I got this EGD, I started to feel an occasional tenderness in my upper right abdomen (gallbladder area.) I also have unexplained inflammation of the sclera in both eyes, which I've read can be symptomatic of IBD, but I have no lower abdominal pain and my stool is unremarkable. In the past 5 months I've lost almost 20 pounds, (mostly due to a vegetarian diet and lack of appetite, I presume.) Last month I got an MRI of the liver, (with and without contrast) as well as blood tests to check for abnormalities in my liver enzymes. BOTH came back unremarkable. My GI doctor is now recommending a biopsy of the liver tissue to check for other possible problems that might have evaded detection. I'm in constant pain, and racked with anxiety that I have some terrible condition that will claim my life. Is there ANYONE who might have a clue as to what's going on? I can provide further information from my tests if needed.

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You have had a CT and MRI which would have detected anything major, I believe. At this point, you seem to be very anxious about yourself and anxiety will feed on itself. With negative imaging and negative liver enzymes, I cannot imagine why you would need a liver biopsy. Maybe a Hidascan for a better look at the gallbladder. Are you taking any medication that could cause gastritis? Maybe take OTC prilosec or Nexium daily on empty stomach in the morning again. Be sure not to go hours without eating because that will allow unopposed stomach acid to sit in your stomach and cause irritation. Several small meals a day will help, I think. Remember, I am not a doctor. Just sharing my experience.


Hello @strangepain96,

Welcome to Connect. You might be interested in going through this recently published study about the challenges of diagnosing bile reflux gastritis, particularly in people with no other health factors:
– New Causes for the Old Problem of Bile Reflux Gastritis

Here’s some information from Mayo Clinic:
I’d also like to introduce you to @stephieisabella @kathyannyarborough @saucy @ptfitzy @ladysky @robbinr – they’ve shared some of their experiences in this discussion on Connect:
– Relentless bile reflux / pain

Are you taking any medications to manage the pain, @strangepain96? May I ask if you’ve made dietary changes, and whether that has helped?

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