Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

 Sphincter of Oddi

Sphincter of Oddi Treatment

One of the most complex processes in a human body is digestion. The conversion of food into energy and how it is done in between consists of different steps and various organs are involved in order to complete the process. What people may probably know is the role of the mouth, the importance of saliva, and the stomach in pursuit of the digestion process. But other than these, there is no more into it. In reality, there are other organs that play an integral role in digestion. These are the sphincter of Oddi, pancreas and liver.

To help in the digestion process, the liver secretes bile and pancreas gives off pancreatic juice. The flow of these juices towards another organ is controlled by sphincter of Oddi. It is a round muscle which simply opens and closes in order to make the bile as well as the pancreatic juice to flow without any problem.

When the sphincter of Oddi does not open as it normally should, there lays a condition called sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. What happens when this occurs is that the juices (bile and pancreatic juice) are prevented from flowing through. This will lead to have the two juices backed up. Later on, it will cause having severe pain right within the abdomen.

Two Basic Types And Three Categories Of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

There are different types and categories for sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. With regard to types, there are only two. First is the biliary dysfunction. This is where the juices are backing up right to the bile ducts.

Second would be pancreatitis. This is where the backup occurs right on the pancreas. Doctors often referred this as pancreatitis which simply means there is an inflammation on the pancreas.

With regard to categories, there are three to mention of them namely: category I, II, and III. For I and II, there is clear evidence that this condition occurs through undergoing test results for an abnormal blood and ultrasound test to check out if there is a dilated bile duct.

As for category III, this would be the most difficult one. There are no clear findings. The only symptom is that there is an abdominal pain. But as such can mean anything. This can even be a symptom of other medical condition. It has been said that the abdominal pain happens due to the occurrence of a spasm right at the sphincter of Oddi. With all the three categories, it is the type III which doctors find it more difficult to diagnose.

Who Are Prone To Have This Condition?

Those who have undergone surgery to remove a gall bladder are the ones who will have a much higher percentage to have this condition. Cholecystectomy is the procedure used in order to remove a person’s gall bladder. Most often than not, doctors do have another term for sphincter of Oddi dysfunction and it is called as post-cholecystectomy syndrome.

It has been found out that most of the patients who are at higher risk of getting this condition are women who often are at their middle age although, there has been no studies or evidence to support as to why is this so.

Different Symptoms

Like any other medical conditions, sphincter of Oddi dysfunction do manifests certain symptoms. The common ones are abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, and chills. One thing to remember, the symptoms enumerated can become severe or mild at one point.


Since the common symptom of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is abdominal pain, what the doctor does is to give the patient a thorough check. This is to ensure that the pain is associated with such condition or not. Perhaps, it is a symptom of another medical condition such as cancer, peptic ulcer, ischemia or angina.

The doctor may want to check out how the sphincter of Oddi is doing. This is to know whether or not it is functioning fully and it is at its normal state. This is easily done through measuring its contraction and expansion


As for treatment, medical treatment will be the first thing to be done. Patients who are suffering from pain can easily get relief through the use of prescriptive drugs which are used to prevent having spasms in the sphincter of Oddi.

However, if severe pain is being experienced there will be series of test to be conducted. If the doctor sees there is a need for surgery, then sphincterotomy will be advised. What this procedure does is to ensure that there are no stones present within the gall bladder.

It is through sphincterotomy that severe pain and some of the symptoms will be relieved.