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Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Aug 2021| Content last modified Aug 2021
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What is primary sclerosing cholangitis?

"Sclerosing" means scarring and hardening. "-Itis" means inflammation or swelling. "Cholang-" means bile ducts. So cholangitis is inflammation of your bile ducts. Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a disease with swelling, scarring, and narrowing of the bile ducts.

Your bile ducts are tubes that carry bile from your liver to your intestines. Bile is a greenish thick fluid that helps in digestion. Inside your liver are small bile ducts. Outside your liver are larger bile ducts that connect your liver to your intestines.

What causes primary sclerosing cholangitis?

What are the symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis?

How can doctors tell if I have primary sclerosing cholangitis?

Doctors suspect you have primary sclerosing cholangitis from your symptoms and abnormalities they see on liver blood tests. To tell for sure they'll do:

  • Ultrasound of your bile ducts

  • A special kind of MRI called MRCP that focuses on your bile ducts

  • Special blood tests

How do doctors treat primary sclerosing cholangitis?

There's no cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis.

If you don’t have any symptoms, doctors will do blood tests twice a year to check how well your liver is working.

If you have symptoms, doctors treat primary sclerosing cholangitis using:

Where can I get more information about primary sclerosing cholangitis?

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
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