Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. It is required for the digestion of fatty foods. It is not usual to vomit bile in normal circumstances. However, certain medical conditions as well as unusual events may cause vomiting bile in some people. The presence of green bile in vomitus may cause you to raise an alarm. However, this condition does not necessarily warrant medical emergency. Nonetheless, in some cases, throwing up green bile may signal an underlying medical emergency.
Many a time, people wrongly assume that they puke bile while throwing up green stuff or green liquid. In reality though, they are vomiting only green foods! Strange as it might sound, some coloring agents in foods may give a green color to your vomitus. However, when you vomit bile, you see an almost fluorescent bright green color. Bile vomiting usually occurs when your body runs out of food to eject. Thus, occurrence of bile in vomit is more common when you vomit persistently. During the first few times, you will eject partially digested or undigested food. When the food is cleared out of your body, you will expel contents such as mucus and bile. Bile production is at peak after 20 - 30 minutes post meal. Thus, if you have persistent vomiting after meals, then you are likely to expel bile in vomit. Given below are a few causes of expelling bile in vomitus.
Alcohol and Medications
It is a well-known fact that alcohol abuse irritates the gastrointestinal tract and causes undesirable effects. When over drinking of alcohol is combined with bad food or food poisoning, you may suffer from excessive vomiting. Eventually, you will expel bile in the form of bright green vomitus. Apart from that certain alcoholic beverages such as cocktails may contain coloring agents, which may give green color to vomitus. In addition, certain drugs such as morphine, may cause chemoreceptor trigger zone to become active and expel the content of the stomach.
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
This condition is characterized by bouts of nausea and vomiting. Vomiting bile is very common in people suffering from this condition. There is no known cause for this condition. If you suffer from vomiting episodes for at least 3 times in a 6 month time frame, then you could be suffering from cyclic vomiting syndrome.
In normal contents, food content along with digestive juices are pressed downward, into the gut by peristaltic contractions. However, a vomit trigger may cause these contents to flow upwards and expel in the form of vomit. As these contents are already in partially digested form with bile mixed in them, you expel a green vomitus. Obstructions in intestine due to any reason are worthy of further investigation.
As mentioned above, bile is produced in liver and stored in gallbladder. The term 'stomach bile' is wrongly used as bile is not the product of stomach juices. However, a condition named bile reflux may cause the bile to get mixed with stomach juices and expel as vomit. Often, a gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy) triggers this condition, hence it is also called postcholecystectomy syndrome.
Treatment can only be suggested after diagnosing the accurate cause of vomiting green bile. More often than not, no treatment is required. If this condition is accompanied with nausea, then medications to relieve intracranial pressure may be prescribed. Bile expulsion due to bowel obstruction may need to be taken seriously, more so, if you experience more than a few episodes of bile expulsion.
Vomiting bile is also common in infants and children. You may have to take your child to a doctor if she becomes very dehydrated or exhausted.