Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) in Washington
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What is PSC (primary sclerosing cholangitis)?
Primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, is a chronic liver condition that shares some similarities with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC); however, PSC affects the bile ducts inside and outside the liver. It leads the bile ducts to become irritated, damaged, and constricted, which could eventually develop into liver cirrhosis.
Bile is essential to how the body functions. It aids digestion and relieves your body of toxins, worn-out blood cells, and bad cholesterol. That is why you need to find treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis as soon as possible. The team at Washington Gastroenterology is pleased to provide experienced treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis. To discover more about the condition or to find treatment for PSC in Washington, request a consultation with a local member of our gastroenterology team today.
What is the cause of PSC?
Although the root cause of PSC remains unclear, it is believed to result from an immune defense against infection or a toxin. Primary sclerosing cholangitis can be hereditary, indicating that if a family member has or previously had the condition, you have a higher chance of having it. Factors that elevate the risk of developing PSC are:
- Having inflammatory bowel disease
- Age (PSC is most commonly found in people between the ages of 30 and 50)
- Ancestry (people of Northern European descent are at higher risk of having PSC)
- Being male
The providers at Washington Gastroenterology can offer additional information regarding the possible causes of primary sclerosing cholangitis and help you better understand your chance of developing this chronic condition.
What are common symptoms of PSC?
PSC is most commonly detected before any signs or symptoms develop via routine testing for other concerns. Treating primary sclerosing cholangitis is more effective when detected early. The first symptoms of PSC may include itching and fatigue. Further common signs and symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis involve:
- Dry eyes
- Unintentional weight loss
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)
- High cholesterol levels
- Darkening of the skin not related to sun exposure
- Pain in the joints
- Tenderness in the muscles
- Upper right abdominal pain
- Brittle bones
- Swelling in the feet and ankles
- Significant sweating during sleep
- Dark and oily stools
- Dryness of the mouth
We urge you to request an appointment with a Washington Gastroenterology provider if you experience intense itching on a large portion of your body or if you feel fatigued often. It is particularly critical to discuss these symptoms with your provider if you have an inflammatory bowel disease, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
How is PSC treated?
The medical community has not yet discovered a cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis. Most treatments include treating the narrowed bile ducts and the symptoms and complications resulting from the condition. Our Washington gastroenterologists may recommend one or more of the options listed below to treat PSC:
- Balloon dilation procedure to expand constricted bile ducts
- Stent placement to treat narrowed or obstructed bile ducts
- Nutrition support therapy
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Alleviate itching with topical creams
- Remain at a healthy weight
- Liver transplant
- Antibiotics to treat infections
- Regular exercise
- Surgical procedure to temporarily open bile duct obstructions
Expert care for chronic liver disease
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a chronic liver disease that may affect your life in several different aspects and may lead to additional health issues without care. Our GI team at Washington Gastroenterology is ready to provide the services you require to help improve your quality of living. Contact one of our practice locations near you to connect with a local provider who offers primary sclerosing cholangitis treatment in Washington.
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