A large part of the bile acid passes from the end part of the small intestine via the portal vein back to the liver, where it was produced. A perfect recycling process is created (called the enterohepatic cycle).
If this natural process is disturbed, part of the bile may enter the large intestine. This leads to symptoms such as severe diarrhoea combined with cramping pain.
As a result, dehydration, a loss of minerals and deficiencies in vitamins B12, A, D and F can occur, which in turn can result in weight loss.
The diagnosis is made on the basis of a stool sample or the so-called 15SeHCAT test, which is even more conclusive.
Treatment and therapy
Optimally, the disease causing the symptoms is treated, but this is not always possible. It is possible to treat the symptoms such as diarrhoea by means of replacement resins such as colestyramine. Such a preparation, prescribed by the doctor, is taken shortly before food intake.
Furthermore, medicinal plants are suitable for strengthening the bile function, above all artichoke preparations, but also psyllium or healing earth.
Another approach to therapy is a change in diet. This means:
- a healthy and varied diet
- a low-fat diet, especially if symptoms are more severe
- avoiding large portions and preferring to eat small ones
- taking vitamin supplements to compensate for the lack of absorption