Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is diagnosed and treated by the GI Division of Premier Medical Group. Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a disease that damages and blocks bile ducts inside and outside the liver. Bile is the liquid made in your liver and the bile ducts are the tubes that carry bile out of the liver. From there the bile travels to the gallbladder and small intestine, helping to break down fat in food in the intestine. PSC is a chronic disease that can last for years, even decades, and worsens over time.
Your liver produces bile, among many other functions. Bile is a watery liquid which is important for digesting food in the intestine, particularly fat, and ridding the body of toxins. Primary sclerosing cholangitis occurs when there is inflammation (cholangitis) in the bile ducts. This can lead to scarring (sclerosis) and narrowing of the ducts. The result is a build-up of bile in the liver because it cannot be released to the gallbladder and small intestine. Primary sclerosing can eventually damage liver cells and the scar tissue can spread throughout the liver, causing cirrhosis and liver failure.
Roughly 70 percent of people with primary sclerosing cholangitis have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), most commonly a form of the condition known as ulcerative colitis. People with primary sclerosing are also more prone to have an autoimmune disorder, such as celiac disease, thyroid disease, or type 1diabetes; they also have a higher risk of developing cancer, especially in the bile ducts.