Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) in New Orleans, LA

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Primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, is a chronic liver condition that has some similarities to primary biliary cholangitis (PBC); however, PSC involves the bile ducts outside and inside the liver. Primary sclerosing cholangitis makes the bile ducts inflamed, scarred, damaged, and constricted, which may eventually cause cirrhosis of the liver over time.

Bile is a digestive fluid that is important to the way the body functions. It helps your body get rid of bad cholesterol, toxins, and worn-out red blood cells. As such, it is crucial that patients receive care for PSC without delay. The team at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates offers specialty services for primary sclerosing cholangitis. For more on this liver disease or to find care for PSC in New Orleans, LA, please request an appointment with a member of our gastroenterology team today.

The causes behind PSC have not been determined, but it is believed to be associated with an immune reaction to a toxin or infection. PSC can be genetic, which indicates that if a close relative has or had the liver condition in the past, you have a higher risk of having it as well. Risk factors of primary sclerosing cholangitis include:

  • Being male
  • Ancestry (people having Northern European heritage are at an elevated risk of having PSC)
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease
  • Age (PSC is most commonly diagnosed in patients between 30 – 50 years old)

The gastroenterologists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates can provide additional information involving the possible reasons behind primary sclerosing cholangitis and help you explore your risk of developing this chronic disorder.

In many cases, primary sclerosing cholangitis is diagnosed before signs or symptoms develop during routine tests for other conditions. Treatment outcomes for PSC are more favorable when the condition is detected early. The initial symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis may involve itching and tiredness. Other common symptoms of PSC involve:

  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Frail bones
  • Darkening of the skin not associated with sun exposure
  • Dark-colored and oily bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Unwanted weight loss
  • Upper right abdominal pain
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Dry eyes

We urge you to request a consultation with a Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates gastroenterologist near you if you have significant itching on a large portion of your body, or if you feel fatigued more than normal. It is very critical to bring these symptoms to the attention of your provider if you have been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

The healthcare community has not yet found a remedy for PSC. Most of the treatment strategies involve treating the narrowed bile ducts along with the symptoms and complications resulting from the condition. Our New Orleans, LA gastroenterologists may advise having one or more of the following options to treat primary sclerosing cholangitis:

  • Nutrition support
  • Liver transplant
  • Exercise
  • Balloon dilation procedure to expand narrowed bile ducts
  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Topical creams to manage itching
  • Stents to address obstructed or narrowed bile ducts
  • Remain at a healthy weight
  • Avoid alcohol use
  • Surgery to temporarily open blocked bile ducts
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Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a chronic liver condition that can affect your health and wellness in a variety of ways and, without care, it may be a catalyst for further health issues. Our digestive health team at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates can provide the services needed to help elevate your quality of life. To find a provider who offers treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis in New Orleans, LA, contact one of our practice locations near you.

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