The Sphincter of Oddi is a central gate to many liver, gallbladder and pancreas problems. Many scientists believe that the Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction (SOD) is a culprit of the pancreas diseases and it is the common source of chronic pain after gallbladder removal.
Around the common bile duct, pancreatic duct and the duodenum wall there is a muscle valve called the Sphincter of Oddi. The Sphincter of Oddi, named after Ruggero Oddi, an Italian anatomist who discovered this structure in 1887. The Sphincter of Oddi controls moving of the bile from the liver, and gallbladder and pancreatic juice from the pancreas into the duodenum.
Normally, when semi digestive food moves from the stomach into the duodenum sphincter of Oddi opens. Large amount of the gallbladder bile and alkaline pancreatic juice is released to digest this food. When no food in the duodenum, sphincter of Oddi is closed so the bile from the liver is collected in the gallbladder.
Regulation of this complicated work is under control of nervous system and special blood messengers – digestive hormones. Stress, fasting, “harsh” liver cleansing, gallbladder removal, bad eating habits, alcohol, some medications, and recreation drugs badly influence in proper regulation and work of the sphincter of Oddi.
Spasm or blockage of this muscle valve may cause pancreatic juice goes backward, thereby increasing the pressure inside the pancreatic duct. Digestive enzymes shut inside the pancreas, begin to digest their own pancreas, initiate inflammation, pain, and finally the death of pancreatic tissue. Thus, chronic pancreatitis is developed.
Tumor, gallbladder stone, or scaring can make an anatomical blockage of the sphincter of Oddi. It happens relatively rare. However, more often can be functional, temporal spasms of the sphincter of Oddi without any abnormality in the tests. The common reason for sphincter to be spasmodic is irritation of it by the “aggressive” bile and pancreatic juice.
What could make bile and pancreatic juice “aggressive”, corroded, and irritated? Let’s explain that.
The liver’s most important functions are producing and releasing bile and removing the toxins from our body by dividing them into water-soluble and fat-soluble wastes.
Water-soluble wastes move into the blood and the kidneys eliminate them from the body.
Bile serves to eliminate a variety of the toxic, fat-soluble wastes substances from the body. These substances include cholesterol, bile pigments, toxic chemicals, drugs, heavy metals, etc.
Hepatitis, fatty liver, Candida-yeast overgrowth, parasites, congestion, inflammation, infection of the gallbladder, high body’s acidity, poor eating habits, alcohol can cause the bile to be thick and acidic, therefore make it difficult for it to move through the ducts.
When the bile and pancreatic juice are getting acidic, they also become very “aggressive”, irritated, and corroded for the ducts, sphincter of Oddi, and small intestine causing jerky movement; “wrong way traffic” – bile/pancreatic juice refluxes in the stomach, ulcers and even cancers.
No surprise, it causes loss of appetite, nausea, gas, bloating, heartburn, attacks of pain, especially after “bad” foods or bad food combination. Pain can be last for 30 minutes to several hours and even bring person to ER.
Therefore, the goal of treatment has to be focus on root of the problems such as biochemical, acidic changes in the bile and pancreatic juice. In the normal situation, the bile and pancreatic juice are very alkaline fluids. However, if whole body is getting acidic, the bile and pancreatic juice also became acidic and “aggressive”.
Checking saliva and urine pH with litmus paper at home may show acidic condition of the body especially if saliva and urine pH repeatedly less than 6.6.
What can naturally normalize the alkaline condition of the bile and pancreatic juice?
Only minerals and bicarbonate from food and water can naturally neutralize the whole body acidity.
For this purposes, European doctors have used healing mineral water for a long time. Treatment with healing mineral water (balneology) is a part of education in some European medical schools. There are many healing mineral spas all over the Europe.
Most famous and researched mineral water is water from hot spring in the small Czech town Karlovy Vary. Karlovy Vary healing mineral water attracted millions visitors all over the globe. It was distributed by barrels and bottles many years ego. Demand of this water was so high hence, the mineral salt had manufactured there by vaporizing the spring water in 1764. It was a good option for people, which cannot visit Karlovy Vary or wanted ongoing the healing course at home.
Dissolving this salt in the water produces mineral water with the same healing value.
Karlovy Vary healing mineral water has been object for serious medical study for hundreds of the years. First medical book about that water have a laxative effect was dated by 1522. Later, a large number of medical papers confirmed the healing action of this water in many digestive disorders.
European doctors showed that drinking mineral water makes bile and pancreatic juice less acidic, liquid, and less “aggressive”. It naturally improves digestion, alleviates the pains and cramps, and lessens gas and heartburn.
This water may dissolve the gallbladder stones and expel them; it also is very beneficial for persons with sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, chronic pancreatitis, and hepatitis.
What else can make the bile and pancreatic juice less irritated for the sphincter of Oddi?
Herbal medicine is the oldest way to eliminate digestive problems. Chinese medicine, Hindu system – Ayurveda, European herbology offer many healing herbs for digestive disorders. Some of them increase amount of the bile, promote its easy elimination, decrease spasms and pain. The simple example is peppermint tea. Knowledgeable medical practitioner can customize the herbal remedies for any digestive problems.
No question, food is the important, safe and cheep medicine for sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.
Food needs to be alkaline and full of the natural digestive enzymes. Some vegetable blends or juices are good for these purposes. Warm vegetable soups are also helpful for many digestive problems. Some persons with sphincter of Oddi dysfunction suffer from Candida-yeast overgrowth, food sensitivity, and allergy. Appropriate diet changes are necessary to correct these conditions.
Stress can lead to spasm of the sphincter of Oddi as well. Worsening sphincter of Oddi dysfunction after mental or physical stress can be seen very often. Consulting, relaxation, meditation, medical hypnosis, listening the custom hypnoses CD at home, acupuncture, massage are some natural ways to alleviate the stress.
It would be wise to stop drinking alcohol temporary for a few months to improve condition because the alcohol interrupts the normal function of this muscle valve. Upper abdominal pain after alcohol consumption is typical for sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.
Unfortunately, there is not simple and safe test for diagnose early stage of the SOD now. Therefore, any kind of pain in the upper stomach area after heavy meals can be the alarm bell of the sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.
By author’s opinion, strategic position of the sphincter of Oddi involves it in many digestive diseases and disorders. On the other hand, sphincter of Oddi dysfunction by itself leads to many digestive symptoms.
Natural treatment of the early stage can avoid serious problem in the future and improve the quality of life.
It is important to work with a knowledgeable, licensed medical professional.
The information on this article is presented for educational, informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, and advice of a qualified licensed professional.