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Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

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Digestion is a complex process that takes part in the human body and involves several integral parts and systems that must work together in order for people to maintain digestive health. Some of the most important parts in the human body involving digesting food include the well-known liver and pancreas. A less well-known player, although still important, is the sphincter of Oddi. The liver and pancreas provide important chemicals so that the small intestine can properly function. It is the sphincter of Oddi that regulates the flow of these chemicals. Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction occurs when the sphincter does not open up when it should – causing a build up of bile and pancreatic juice.

To learn more about sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, please contact Central Florida Hepatology & Gastroenterology at 407.303.1812 or request an appointment on our website.

Symptoms of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

There are two different types of Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. One occurs when fluid is backed up in the liver, the other happens when fluid is trapped in the pancreas. Sphincter of Oddie dysfunction in the liver leads to biliary dysfunction. Dysfunction in the pancreas can lead to pancreatitis.

The main symptom of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is abdominal pain. Other, less common symptoms include vomiting, chills and fever. Most individuals report suffering from extreme abdominal pain that comes and goes.

Causes of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

The exact case of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is unknown. What is known about the condition is that people who have their gallbladders removed are at a much higher risk of developing the condition. In particular, females between the ages of 30-50 who have had their gallbladder removed are the group at the highest risk. It is possible for anyone to develop the condition.

Treatment for Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

Treatment options vary depending on severity. Mild cases of sphincter of Oddi typically start off with pain medication or other medications that mitigate spasms. Physicians will generally start off with the least invasive form of treatment before moving on to more aggressive options.

For patients who are suffering from severe pain caused by sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, physicians may order a sphincterotomy be done that involves a small tube being sent down the throat that is used to cut the sphincter of Oddi. In the vast majority of instances the surgery has yielded positive short-term and long-term results.

To learn more about sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, please contact Central Florida Hepatology & Gastroenterology at 407.303.1812 or request an appointment on our website.