Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) in Texas

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Your liver produces bile, a liquid that helps your body break down fats and fatty vitamins in your food. Bile moves through the liver, and into the gallbladder and small intestines, via a system of ducts. Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a long-term, chronic disease that slowly causes damage to the bile ducts. Very gradually inflammation can cause scarring in the duct that prevents the bile from passing out of the liver. At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, we are equipped to diagnose and treat primary sclerosing cholangitis in Texas. Our team of board-certified gastrointestinal specialists offers state-of-the-art treatment solutions for a wide range of GI conditions. For more information or to request a consultation, contact your nearest Texas Digestive Disease Consultants location.

Doctors are not sure of the exact cause of PSC. There are potentially two possible causes.

First, PSC is a type of autoimmune disorder. As many as 90 percent of patients with PSC also have an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and the majority of those have ulcerative colitis. The issue is that only 10 percent of people with ulcerative colitis also have PSC, so more research is needed in this line of study.

The second possibility is the result of damage to the bile ducts caused by a bacterial infection. This is also tied to the close link between ulcerative colitis and PSC. It is possible that the inflammation of the colon wall allows for bacteria to circulate throughout the system, leading to inflammation of the bile ducts. Repeated inflammation then leads to damage, which in turn leads to the development of PSC.

Damage can continue over time and can lead to liver failure. Because of the serious nature of the disease, you should follow your Texas Digestive Disease Consultant provider's orders closely and continue regular monitoring. We will set up a care plan that fits your personal situation and needs.

In the early stages, PSC may cause no real significant symptoms and is often diagnosed while doctors are investigating something else. When symptoms do occur they include itching, which may be severe for some patients, and fatigue. Continual blocking of the bile ducts can lead to infection, resulting in fever and abdominal pain. Infections will need to be treated with antibiotics. Should you experience any of these symptoms, our providers in Texas can help you identify the root cause so you can find relief.

Treatment for PSC will focus on monitoring liver damage and managing any complications that arise. At this time, there aren't any medications available to help with the liver damage. We can help treat other symptoms, like itching, infections, and bile duct blockage.

  • Itching: We can help treat itching with antibiotics, antihistamines, and other under- or over-the-counter medications. We also may suggest bile acid sequestrates, which is a medication that will attach itself to the bile acids that are thought to be the root cause of the itching.
  • Infection: When the bile gets backed up in the bile ducts, it can cause bacterial infections. We will likely get you started on antibiotics right away to prevent infections from occurring and remedy them when they do take place.
  • Nutritional support: PSC can make it hard for the body to absorb certain vitamins, so we will likely suggest vitamin supplements or vitamin infusions to help your body get the nutrients it needs.
  • Bile duct blockage: While blockage is common due to PSC, it can also be a sign of cancer. We will diligently perform an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to determine the cause of the blockage so we can perform the necessary treatment. There are two ways we can treat bile duct blockage — balloon dilation and stent placement. We will discuss both options with you, as well as which option we feel is best for your particular needs.

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Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a disease that progresses slowly; however, it can lead to liver failure, multiple infections, and tumors in the bile duct and/or liver. It's important to work with a skilled GI specialist, like the providers at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, if you have been diagnosed with PSC. While there is no cure for this disease, there are ways to manage your symptoms and work to prevent further liver damage. For more information or to request a consultation, contact one of our Texas locations today.

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