Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) in St. Louis, MO
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What is PSC (primary sclerosing cholangitis)?
Primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, is a chronic liver condition that is similar to PBC (primary biliary cholangitis), but it affects the bile ducts outside and inside the liver. The condition causes the bile ducts to become inflamed, scarred, damaged, and narrowed, which can eventually lead to liver cirrhosis.
Bile is essential to normal bodily function. It aids in digestion and with the disposal of toxins, bad cholesterol, and worn-out blood cells. As a result, it is important that individuals get help for primary sclerosing cholangitis as soon as possible. Specialists in Gastroenterology locations in your community are proud to provide skilled services for primary sclerosing cholangitis. To learn more information about this disease or to receive help for PSC in St. Louis, MO, request a consultation with one of our gastroenterology providers today.
What causes primary sclerosing cholangitis?
While the reason behind PSC remains unclear, it is thought to involve an immune defense against infection or a toxin. PSC carries a genetic predisposition, which means that if a family member has or had the condition, you have an increased risk of having it as well. Factors of risk associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis involve:
- Being a man
- Having IBD
- Ancestry (individuals of Northern European descent are at an increased risk of having PSC)
- Age (PSC is most common among people between ages 30 and 50)
Our Specialists in Gastroenterology team can offer further details about the potential causes of PSC and help you learn more about your chance of developing this disease.
What are the most common symptoms of PSC?
In many cases, primary sclerosing cholangitis is diagnosed before signs or symptoms appear through a routine test for other health issues. Treatment for PSC is ideal when the condition is diagnosed in the early stages. The early symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis can involve itching and fatigue. Some other general symptoms of PSC involve:
- Heavy sweating during sleep
- Muscle soreness
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Dry eyes
- High cholesterol levels
- Upper right abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
- Darkening of the skin not related to being in the sun
- Unwanted weight loss
- Brittle bones
- Swelling in the ankles and feet
- Dark-colored and greasy bowel movements
- Joint pain
It is important to request a consultation with your nearest Specialists in Gastroenterology provider if you notice excessive itching on a significant portion of your body, or if you feel exhausted more often than not. It is critical to discuss these symptoms with your provider if you have a type of inflammatory bowel disease IBD, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
What are the treatments for PSC?
Healthcare professionals have not yet determined a cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis. The majority of the treatment options involve addressing the narrowed bile ducts along with the complications and symptoms that accompany the disorder. Our St. Louis, MO gastroenterology specialists may advise having one or more of the options listed here to treat primary sclerosing cholangitis:
- Liver transplant
- Balloon dilation for narrowed bile ducts
- Avoid alcohol use
- Remain at a healthy weight
- Manage itching symptoms with topical creams
- A surgical procedure to temporarily open bile ducts that are blocked
- Nutrition support
- Antibiotics for infections
- Stent placement to address narrowed or blocked bile ducts
Personalized care for chronic liver disease
PSC is a chronic liver condition that could affect your life in several different ways and can cause additional health problems if left untreated. Our gastroenterology team at a Specialists in Gastroenterology location near you can offer the personalized services you need to help boost your quality of living. To find a provider who offers primary sclerosing cholangitis treatment in St. Louis, MO, contact one of our locations in your community.
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This is one of the best run doctor's offices I've had the pleasure of visiting. The staff is friendly + knowledgeable, and it's clear that they have processes they're following, which creates an environment where you know exactly what to expect and how much it's going to cost. On top of that, Dr. Weinstock is top notch and has an excellent bedside manner. I've been struggling with GI symptoms and a lot of other crazy symptoms for a few years, and he listened carefully to everything I shared (in addition to collecting much of the information up front in a thorough intake questionnaire) and help me determine that I have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). After doing a lot of research about MCAS, it's clear to me that I'm working with one of the best doctor's in the country and am insanely lucky that I found him this early into my journey. His protocol has helped me get a significant amount of symptom relief, and I'm optimistic that by digging into the root causes with another local STL doctor (Dr. Christian Wessling), I'll be on the road to healing. One other thing I love about this office is that you can get support between appointments using their patient portal, and their responses are thoughtful and prompt. All doctor's offices should take a lesson from this one on how to run their operations while providing excellent patient support! 👏👏👏