The common causes of a bile taste in the mouth include bile reflux disease, dysgeusia, and various liver disorders. Bile is a greenish-yellow fluid that is produced in a person's liver to help break down fats inside food. If a person experiences an unpleasant taste of bile in his or her mouth, there are several reasons why this might occur, most of which involve problems in the stomach or liver.
One common cause of a bile taste in the mouth is something called bile reflux disease. It is similar to acid reflux in that it causes acid to flow up the esophagus and into the back of the throat, but the pain is different. Bile reflux causes stomach pain in the upper abdominal area, and there also may be a burning feeling in one's throat or chest in addition to the sour bile taste. Nausea or vomiting may accompany the pain as well. If vomiting occurs frequently, then weight loss or throat pain can become a problem.
Another cause of an unpleasant taste is acid reflux, which occurs when gastric acid travels up the esophagus. The pain of acid reflux is often localized to the chest and throat of a suffering individual. Gastritis, which is a disorder of the gastric passageways, can cause a bile taste in the mouth as well.
Untreated bile problems can lead to a condition called Barrett's Esophagus, or Barrett's syndrome. It is characterized by abnormal cellular changes in the esophagus. If someone suspects that he or she may have a bile problem, it is best to consult a physician as soon as possible, as a bile taste in the mouth may be indicative of a liver problem or malfunctioning bile duct.
Less commonly, a bile aftertaste may indicate a condition called dysgeusia, which is a distortion of the taste sense. For example, a person may eat a favorite piece of food and find that the taste is different or suddenly unpleasant. Zinc deficiency and chemotherapy sometimes cause this condition as well.
Peptic ulcers or complications arising from gallbladder surgery can also cause bile tastes to occur in a person's mouth. Ulcers are usually caused by bacteria in the gastric tract or are side effects of prescribed drugs. They usually can be alleviated by avoiding certain foods and taking medication.
Treating bile reflux includes changing one's diet. Removing onions, mint, spicy foods, fattening foods, and caffeine seems to help many people reduce the symptoms. The best course of action is for one to see a doctor regarding diagnosis and treatment, however.