Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction (SOD) is a condition where a round muscle that controls the flow of two digestive juices, bile and pancreatic juice, does not open properly. The backup of digestive juices can result in severe abdominal pain.

Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction: What You Need to Know 

Prevention
Take charge of your health and lower your risk for SOD:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
  • Quit smoking – Fletcher Allen offers a quit smoking program
  • Avoid high-fat foods
  • Control high cholesterol
  • Aim for a healthy weight
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals

Teamwork
Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction is best managed by a group of specialists that include gastroenterologists, surgeons and nurses.  Our physicians and other support staff work together as a team, providing expert care.

Technology
Our team offers specialized services to diagnose and treat sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, including endoscopic ultrasound and ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography).

Experienced, Trusted Expertise
We are the largest and most comprehensive digestive disease specialty group in Vermont and northeastern New York with two subspecialists board certified in endoscopic ultrasound.

What is Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction?

The liver makes a chemical called bile, and the pancreas produces pancreatic juice. These important chemicals are part of the digestive process. They flow from the liver and pancreas into the small intestine. The sphincter of Oddi controls the flow of these chemicals.

A sphincter is a muscle that can open and close and is usually round. In sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, the sphincter muscle does not open when it should. This causes a backup of digestive juices and can cause severe abdominal pain.  Also the sphincter of Oddi prevents the contents of the bowel from backing up into the pancreas and the liver’s bile ducts.

There are two main types of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction:

  1. If the bile from the liver’s bile ducts backs up, it is called biliary dysfunction.
  2. If the backup happens in the pancreas, it is called pancreatitis.  This is an inflammation of the pancreas.

Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever and chills
  • Diarrhea

SOD risk factors are similar to those for gallstones, including:

  • Gender: the condition is more common in women than men
  • Age: being age 60 or older
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Eating too many fats and cholesterol and not enough dietary fiber
  • High cholesterol
  • Losing weight quickly

Diagnosis and Treatment: Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

Fletcher Allen’s physicians are highly trained in performing procedures to diagnose and treat Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction such as endoscopic ultrasound and ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography).

Learn more about Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction diagnosis and treatment.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-8865.