Bile Duct Disorders

Bile Duct Disorders: Overview

Bile duct disorders refer to a group of conditions resulting from the abnormal functioning of the biliary system, which includes the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. The biliary system is responsible for the production, storage, and transport of bile, a liquid that helps in the digestion of fats. When any part of the biliary system is not functioning as it should, bile is not able to move properly, resulting in a range of disorders.

Types of Bile Duct Disorders

The most common types of bile duct disorders include:

  • Biliary atresia – a rare congenital condition in which one or more of the bile ducts are blocked or absent; it affects infants.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis – an ongoing inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts.
  • Gallstones – hardened accumulations of bile inside the gallbladder.
  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis – an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys the bile ducts, preventing bile from being released.
  • Cholangiocarcinoma – a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bile ducts.

Symptoms of Bile Duct Disorders

The most common symptoms of bile duct disorders include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, and dark urine. Other symptoms may include fever, nausea, and vomiting. The specific symptoms will depend on the type and severity of the disorder. In some cases, bile duct disorders may cause no symptoms at all.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Bile Duct Disorders

Diagnosing bile duct disorders requires a physical exam and imaging tests. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may include medications, lifestyle changes, or surgery. In some cases, these disorders can lead to complications such as liver infection, cirrhosis, and pancreatitis. Proper treatment is essential in order to reduce the risk of these complications.