Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis With GastroMed Connect

What is primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)?

The condition referred to as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a liver disease that shares some similarities with PBC (primary biliary cholangitis). However, PSC involves the bile ducts outside and inside the liver. It causes the bile ducts to become irritated, scarred, damaged, and constricted, which could ultimately result in cirrhosis of the liver as time goes on.

As a digestive fluid, bile is a key component in how the body functions. It helps with the elimination of bad cholesterol, toxins, and worn-out red blood cells. As a result, it is vital that you obtain help for primary sclerosing cholangitis as early as possible. The team at GastroMed Connect is pleased to offer experienced services for primary sclerosing cholangitis. To learn further details about this concern or to receive treatment for PSC in Kyle, TX, please request an appointment with one of our GI providers today.

What causes PSC?

Although the reason behind primary sclerosing cholangitis remains unclear, it is believed to be due to an immune reaction to a toxin or infection. Primary sclerosing cholangitis has a genetic predisposition, meaning if a close relative has or had the disease, you have a higher risk of having it as well. Factors of risk associated with PSC include:

  • Having IBD
  • Ancestry (people with Northern European heritage are at higher risk of having PSC)
  • Age (PSC is most commonly found in those between 30 – 50 years old)
  • Being male

The providers at GastroMed Connect can offer additional information involving the potential causes of PSC and help you learn more about your chance of having this chronic disorder.

What are the symptoms of PSC?

PSC is most commonly identified before signs or symptoms appear in the course of a routine test for other concerns. Treatment of primary sclerosing cholangitis is more successful when identified earlier. The beginning symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis can involve itching and fatigue. Other signs and symptoms of PSC are:

  • Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Tenderness in the muscles
  • Undesired weight loss
  • Dark skin not associated with being in the sun
  • Frail bones
  • Dark and greasy stools
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)
  • Chills
  • Dry eyes
  • Joint pain
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Significant sweating during sleep

It is important to request a consultation with a local GastroMed Connect specialist if you have extreme itching on a good portion of your body, or if you feel exhausted more than normal. It is particularly important to discuss these symptoms with your GI provider if you have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.

How is PSC treated?

Healthcare providers have not uncovered a remedy for PSC. Many of the treatments include addressing the biliary strictures (narrowed bile ducts) and the complications and symptoms that accompany the disease. Our Kyle, TX gastroenterology providers may advise having one or more of the options listed here to treat PSC:

  • Balloon dilation to address narrowed bile ducts
  • Manage itching symptoms with topical creams
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition support
  • Liver transplant
  • Avoid alcohol use
  • Stents to address narrowed or blocked bile ducts
  • Remain at a healthy weight
  • Surgical procedure to temporarily open blocked bile ducts
  • Antibiotics for infections