Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) in Houston, TX
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What is PSC (primary sclerosing cholangitis)?
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a condition similar to primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), the difference being that PSC affects the biliary ducts both outside and inside the liver. PSC makes the bile ducts irritated, scarred, damaged, and narrowed, which can eventually develop into liver cirrhosis over time.
Bile is a digestive fluid that is critical to the way the body functions. It helps with the elimination of toxins, worn-out blood cells, and bad cholesterol. As such, it is important that patients get care for primary sclerosing cholangitis as soon as possible. The team at Gastroenterology Consultants is proud to provide personalized treatment for PSC. To hear more about this liver concern or to receive help for PSC in Houston, TX, please request a visit with a member of our gastroenterology team today.
What is the cause of primary sclerosing cholangitis?
The root cause of primary sclerosing cholangitis has not been identified, but it is believed to stem from an immune system reaction to an infection or toxin. Primary sclerosing cholangitis can be hereditary, meaning if a member of your family has or had the liver condition, you have a higher risk of having it as well. Factors that elevate the risk of developing PSC are:
- Heritage (individuals having Northern European heritage are at greater risk of getting PSC)
- Being a man
- Age (PSC is most common among those between ages 30 and 50)
- Having IBD
Our specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants can provide additional details regarding the possible causes of PSC and help you learn more about your odds of developing this chronic condition.
What are common signs of PSC?
PSC is often identified before any symptoms present while testing for other GI conditions. PSC treatments are more effective when the condition is detected early. The beginning symptoms of PSC might include itching and fatigue. Further general signs and symptoms of PSC include:
- Joint pain
- Upper right abdominal pain
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Fragile bones
- Unintentional weight loss
- High levels of cholesterol
- Darkening of the skin not associated with being in the sun
- Night sweats
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)
- Dryness of the mouth
- Dry eyes
- Dark-colored and greasy stools
- Soreness in the muscles
You should request an appointment with a Gastroenterology Consultants provider should you have extreme itching on a significant portion of your body, or if you feel fatigued more often than not. It is particularly important to bring these symptoms up to your provider if you have a type of inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
How is PSC treated?
Medical providers have not identified a permanent remedy for primary sclerosing cholangitis. The majority of the treatment options include treating the narrowing of the bile ducts along with the complications and symptoms associated with the condition. Our Houston, TX gastroenterology specialists may recommend one or more of the options listed here to treat PSC:
- Avoid alcohol
- Antibiotics to treat infections
- Nutrition support therapy
- Stent placement to address narrowed or blocked bile ducts
- Alleviate itching with topical creams
- Remain at a healthy weight
- Surgical procedure to temporarily open bile ducts that are blocked
- Liver transplant procedure
- Balloon dilation procedure to expand constricted bile ducts
Expert care for chronic liver disease
A chronic liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis is capable of seriously affecting your health and comfort and may lead to additional health issues without adequate treatment. However, our gastroenterology team at Gastroenterology Consultants is here to provide the personalized services you need to help improve your quality of living. To consult a provider who offers treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis in Houston, TX, please contact one of our practice locations in your area.
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