What is Cholestasis?

Cholestasis is a condition that affects the normal flow of bile, a digestive fluid, from the liver. When bile flow is blocked, it can cause a range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and jaundice. It is most commonly caused by a medical condition, such as gallstones, chronic liver disease, or inherited liver enzyme abnormalities. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis or liver failure.

Symptoms of Cholestasis

The primary symptoms of cholestasis include:

  • Jaundice
  • Itching (pruritus)
  • Dark urine or clay-colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cholestasis

Cholestasis is usually diagnosed by a combination of blood tests, imaging tests, and liver biopsy. The treatment of cholestasis is based on the underlying cause. For example, if gallstones are the cause, the gallstones may need to be removed. If it is due to a liver enzyme abnormality, then medications to reduce symptoms may be necessary. In some cases, a liver transplant may be needed.

Prevention of Cholestasis

There are no specific methods to prevent cholestasis, but some lifestyle modifications may reduce your risk. These include avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and taking medications as prescribed.