Natural Remedies for Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

| Modified on Apr 10, 2023

You may be completely unaware of the name or existence of an important body part until it isn’t working properly. This is commonly the case with the sphincter of Oddi. However, if you have sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD), you will know that something isn’t working properly! Unfortunately, a diagnosis of SOD often comes after months or more of suffering since SOD can be difficult to diagnose. Once you have an accurate diagnosis you can arm yourself with information and make decisions about how to treat this condition. While surgery and medication are typical treatments for SOD, natural remedies have been found to bring relief in many cases as well.

What is the Sphincter of Oddi?

The sphincter of Oddi is a muscular valve that opens and closes to allow bile and digestive fluids from the pancreas into the small intestines. If the muscle does not open, fluids can back up and can cause severe pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and chills. This back up of fluids can occur in the bile duct or the pancreas.

A diagnosis of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction is usually made after other conditions have been ruled out. A procedure (sphincter of Oddi manometry) can be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction is most common among middle aged women, which makes hormone imbalance a suspected factor in this condition. Some women find that flare ups occur during menstruation. It is also common among those who have had their gall bladders removed. In fact, sometimes it turns out that a suspected gall bladder issue is actually sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.

How is Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction Treated?

Sometimes pain medication brings relief, though this is usually only the case for those whose symptoms are mild.

For more serious cases, a sphincterotomy is sometimes performed. In this surgical procedure, the sphincter muscle is cut to allow a way for digestive fluids to pass freely into the small intestines. Unfortunately complications from this surgery are high (5%-15%.)

Are there Natural Remedies for Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction?

A natural approach to dealing with SOD includes attention to good nutrition and eating habits, natural antispasmodics, digestive aids, and natural pain remedies.

Dietary Changes

Reducing stress on the digestive system and maximizing nutrition are the goals of dietary changes for SOD. Smaller meals are easier on the digestive system.

Avoid these foods:

  • fatty foods
  • greasy foods
  • fried foods
  • high fat dairy products
  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • spicy foods

Smaller meals are less stressful to the digestive system. Long periods of fasting however, can aggravate SOD. Ideally you will eat several small meals each day and perhaps a few nutritious snacks.

Foods to Include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • lean meats
  • chicken
  • low fat yogurt or milk kefir
  • whole grains

Hydration is important. Water with a splash of fresh lemon and herbal tea are good choices.

Digestive Supplements for Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

If you have SOD, your digestive system is not working properly and the digestive juices that are usually released by the Sphincter of Oddi are not getting into your system. For this reason, digestive enzymes and HCL may improve your digestion and reduce your pain attacks.

Peppermint is an herb that helps digestion. It is also an antispasmodic herb. Peppermint tea or peppermint essential oil capsules can be taken with meals.

Natural Pain Relief for Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction


Magnesium is a critical mineral that is commonly lacking in modern diets. Magnesium helps muscles to relax. The sphincter of Oddi is a muscle and it too needs magnesium. You may want to consider a magnesium supplement. Magnesium oil, which can be purchased in a spray, can be sprayed directly onto the skin where you are experiencing pain. It absorbs directly into the skin.

Lavender Essential Oil

1 drop of 100% lavender essential oil can be added to a glass of water. Slowly sip the water. Lavender essential oil is a natural relaxant.

Castor Oil Packs

Castor oil packs are relaxing and bring pain relief. Place the pack over the pained area. You will find information about making a castor oil pack on this page.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a relaxing herb. A warm cup of chamomile tea may help settle an attack down and bring relief.

Do you have a natural remedy for Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction? Please send us some feedback!

Additional Pages of Interest:


Gallbladder Attack


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Libraloveshealth (Los Angeles, California) on 01/03/2017

Garlic Tablets for Sphincter of oddi aka SOD comes for some after having their gallbladder removed. I as well did not have any stones, I actually had this disorder which is very hard to diagnose. A HIDA scan found that my gallbladder wasn't functioning. Biliary dyskinesia can also do this. SOD is pretty much like your gallbladder is still there after the removal. Same pains and attacks after eating, chronic diarehha, and chronic spasms in stomach. One treatment is magnesium which will calm the spasms but too much can cause seizure. The real cause of SOD is from candida overgrowth. Many people do not realize but about 90% of the people who have their gallbladder removed suffer from candida overgrowth and gluten intolerance.

Candida is caused by the gluten and what happens is it overgrows in your stomach and yes can even cause the people with stones gallstones. Many doctors do not focus much on candida overgrowth this is the culprit. The diarehha is also caused by the candida overgrowth.

The best thing to do is avoid all fake sugars. Only drink juices (fresh veggies and fruits) and avoid all gluten.

Also if you can, go paleo(or go paleo a few days till stomach calms). in the process also take 2 garlic tabs after your meals ( I use kyolic aged garlic candida cleanse and digestion tabs). After a few days your digestion will return to normal, the spasms and discomfort will cease, and your stools will be normal and not diarehha.

This pill is the miracle worker for SOD. If you can't get the tabs dice up some garlic and soak in olive oil and spread it on some gluten free bread or crackers or add tons to some recipe. the tabs are great though because they are odorless. Its so sad to see how many people go thru so much with this disorder and how little doctors have answers for this disorder.

Candida overgrowth will also affect the appendix as well causing you to need that removed too. also take probiotics to heal your leaky gut and to keep the balance in your system well. The garlic tabs are best combined with a low carb/paleo diet for the fastest results. They will also work with regular diet too.

Replied by Charity
(Faithville, Us)

Yes the sphincter of oddi

Who woulda thunk it. I have been battling the worst gut issue today . Yesterday, I did a borax foot soak as usual, on schedule but then my gut went crazy. Had too many HOLY Days with kids and treats and then a birthday to top that off and then babysitting cranky grandbaby and wallah....stomach went insane. Been on the candida merry go round since birth, I'm pretty sure. I just want to say...thank you for this website. In 2013 I think, they ran me into every room in the hospital they could bill my insurance for and at the end of the day, they told me my upper intestine was not emptying. Well no wonder I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I prayed and was fine waiting it out, but a friend who is a nurse, had another friend have a stroke, so worried, she pressured me to go to the emergency room. I swore I was only going to do that if I really thought I might die, cause I don't get much solution there. Hopefully I can point you to this page SPHINCTER OF ODDI, with my ramblings, in case your gut is acting up and you need some wisdom..and you prefer to keep your organs as opposed to crisis removal to stop pain symptoms...

yes castor oil is helping with a heat pack on it and some liver detox pills, garlic, molybdenum, some kefir and digestive enzymes, and a good laxative, some magnesium, and I can hopefully reassure you that once you have some clue what might be wrong, you can feel better, even if it doesn't resolve right away. I am trying to be fun while I get to the other side of this drama in my gut. Anyway...Thank you again Earth Clinic, May you stay well and prosper. Charity

PS if you need a good distraction while you feel like screaming or crying there are some good hallmarks on youtube, I just watched one about a little girl dying of a gut issue and she got a miracle. I am still waiting for an ACT OF GOD. keep the faith

Replied by Shirley
(Bayville, Nj)

You mentioned that Candida affects the appendix....sorry to say that the right sided pain people suffer is the ilieocecal valve that is affected. As a result of candida infection the valve does not close and allows waste from large intestines up into small intestine. There is much more info on the web.

Replied by Virginia
(Winton, CA)

Do I take the garlic tablets every day, even after I feel better?

(faithville, Us)

You might like Eric Berg, he answered a ton of gut questions I was having. I have a gallbladder but it use to hurt all the time, my issues stem from stress and cortisol issues. Now I use ox bile most days. Here is a link on no gallbladder.

What They Don't Tell You When They Remove Gallbladder?: Dr.Berg - YouTube

Lavender Essential Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Jill (Bronx, New York, United States) on 12/17/2009

Biliary Pain (Gallbladder, Sphincter of Oddi, Pancreatitis)

Although I had my gallbladder removed 9 months ago, I still get the classic "attack" pain every now and then. While I will get this checked out with my doctor (it is most likely a 'Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction') in the meantime I discovered a fantastic remedy that relieves the pain within SECONDS.

One drop of pure 100% essential oil of Lavender in a tall glass of water. Sip it slowly and steadily. I went from doubled over and delirious in pain to blissful relief in no less than 30 seconds (and have not had an attack since). I make sure I always have some on hand just in case though. A nice side-effect was it relaxed me so much I enjoyed a lovely afternoon nap! Lavender is on the FDA "GRAS" List (generally recognized as safe) for ingestion. Make sure whatever brand you purchase is 100% pure essential oil (not diluted with jojoba or other carrier oils... those would not be suitable for ingestion).

Replied by Virginia
(Winton, CA)

I did not realize I can consume lavender essential oil. I thought it was toxic.

Lobelia, Acupuncture

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Katherine (BC) on 01/01/2022

I discovered a gold mine when I started weekly Chinese medicine acupuncture treatments for my debilitating sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. My GP wanted me to take morphine when it was in spasm which would have turned me into a junkie for sure. The herb Lobelia taken in a tincture form causes my spasms to relax in under 5 minutes!! I don't leave the house without it. It doesn't cure this awful disease but it helps tremendously as well as the acupuncture treatments I'm committing to having on a regular basis.

Replied by Nancy S.
(Minneapolis MN)

1-🌻I Thank all who have shared on this platform. THERE IS HOPE. You are helping me. I am gathering as much information on Alternative Treatments of SOD= Sphincter Of Oddi & I do think there is 🌻HOPE. 2-🔸I have recently become aware of a Clinic in California that seems to have Lots & Lots of experience & success treating SOD. When I returned a couple time in desperation, because of the Nausea & Pain, the Drs mentioned NOTHING about Sphincter Of ODDI. I am always referred to Mental Health. 3-🔸I have experienced 23 plus years of worsening SOD Pain with the following Symptoms: NAUSEA- Daytime & sometime during the Night. Spasms in the Biliary Tree area most of the time. Fever🥵followed by Chills🥶, Dizziness, Joint Pain, Chronic Fatigue & Weakness, Overwhelming Sleepiness, yet Insomnia at times, DRY MOUTH. The Pressure & Pain & Urge to have a BM & or to Urinate with Nausea & accompanied by Dread & Depression & the Irritation of the tissues up in the right Biliary Tree area cause ANXIETY. ********************* 4-🔸With the symptoms that are worse at times (feel like like gallbladder attacks) the symptoms get worse & the Irritation from the Bile & Pancreatic Enzymes flowing out at inaproppreate times causes such almost indescribable suffering & such diversion that it's almost impossible to concentrate at all. 5-🔸Pressure in head & Seizurey feeling. Feel unbalanced. Nausea & Dread with this Chronic condition have made my life come to screeching halt. However, there is 🌻HOPE. ********************* 6-🔸I have come to see that a life of CONSTIPATION FROM CONSUMING (“Food-Like Substances") with LOW FIBER instead of real food & Antibiotic Treatment & ☠️Chlorinated WATER with ☠️FLUORIDE & exposure to ☠️Chemical In our Foods & Perfumes & Household Products Clothing ALL have contributed to the emergence of chronic illness's in Society. BAD FATS, SUGAR & FAKE SUGAR, PESTICIDES & HERBICIDES. 7-🔸ONE MOST ESSENTIAL change for most people is a drastic change in what you put into you body as food. Consuming/Adhering Strictly to Only REAL FOOD. I think that this is the difficult part for us because we feel so sick & disabled so often that there are foods that have brought us a little pleasure even Short Term. In the long run, these Comfort Food-Line Substances may contribute to a downward spiral 🤢 8-🔸I was an Artist/Publisher. I painted & published & sold my art prints to most all the major picture frame manufacturers in the US. I became completely disabled after the Gallbladder removal. ********************** 9-🔸I have gathered info about diet & possible supplements that may be beneficial in helping SOD. With the help of all that I've read, I are just beginning to put together a more complete Therapeutic program for myself. 10-🔸After researching, I am choosing the most important & appropriate Supplements & treatments that seem likely to help. ( Fatty Liver) I do believe that gently detoxing the Colon & Liver is important. Sometimes Enemas & (Hydrotherapy Colonics) might be Essential. I feel that 🦠CANDIDA OVERGROWTH is involved. There could be 🦠Parasites Involved as well. 11-🔸I have come to NEVER take Calcium Supplements. Research indicates that Calcium is CONSTIPATING & OFTEN settles in Soft Tissue like The ARTERIES, HEART, BRAIN, JOINTS, ETC. I TAKE: MAGNESIUM GLYCINATE VITAMIN-K2 VITAMIN-D2 TRACE MINERALS BORON Among numerous Supplements. The Symptoms may be a continuation of the symptoms that the person had before Cholecystectomy Surgery, or they could be new. 12-🔸More to follow: I would like to share a list of the supplements & procedures that I am currently going to try in case this might be helpful to anyone out there. *********

Replied by Emma M.

Thanks for all the useful information..I have had pain under my ribs and shooting pains in stomach, pancreas are and right side..Dull aches. Blood tests have so far come up as normal but the fatigue is killing me. I had my gal bladder out in 2016 and was suffering with severe anxiety..the op didn't make a difference and my anxiety got worse. Thank you so much for all the information on this page and Nancy I will be really interested in hearing what your research comes up with..please feel free to contact me. I have ordered Garlic and peppermint today and am doing a castor oil cleanse.