A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
I had a question the other day about primary sclerosing cholangitis.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a disease of the bile ducts in your liver.
The term “cholangitis” in refers to inflammation of your bile ducts, while the term “sclerosing” describes the hardening and scarring of your bile ducts resulting from chronic inflammation.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a progressive disease that leads to liver damage and, eventually, liver failure.
Liver transplant is the only known cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis, but transplant is typically reserved for people with severe liver damage.
But until a treatment is found, care aims at reducing signs and symptoms of complications.
Symptoms associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis include fatigue and itching, followed by yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eyes.
In addition, you may have dark urine, light-colored stools, abdominal pain, nausea, chills, diarrhea, fever, and/or weight loss.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis may not cause any symptoms in its early stages.
In some cases, the only way you know you have this disorder may be abnormal blood tests suggesting your liver isn’t functioning well.
It’s not clear what causes primary sclerosing cholangitis.
It’s believed the condition may be caused by an immune system reaction to an infection or toxin in people with a predisposition to develop the disease.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis occurs more frequently in people with certain other medical conditions, particularly inflammatory bowel disease.
It’s not clear how these conditions are linked and whether they share similar causes.
Factors that may increase your risk of developing primary sclerosing cholangitis include:
>Your age. Primary sclerosing cholangitis can occur at any age, but it’s most commonly diagnosed in people ages 25-45.
>Your sex. Primary sclerosing cholangitis occurs more often in men than women.
>Inflammatory bowel disease. The great majority of people with primary sclerosing cholangitis also have inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Still, primary sclerosing cholangitis is rare among people with inflammatory bowel disease, and most won’t develop primary sclerosing cholangitis. It’s not clear why these diseases occur together.
Complications of primary sclerosing cholangitis may include:
>Liver disease and failure. Chronic inflammation of your bile ducts throughout your liver can lead to tissue scarring, liver cell death and, eventually, the inability of your liver to function properly.
>Repeated infections. If scarring of your bile ducts impairs the flow of bile out of your liver, you may experience frequent infections in your bile ducts.
>Portal hypertension. Your portal vein is the major route for blood flowing from your digestive system into your liver. Portal hypertension refers to high blood pressure in this vein. Portal hypertension can cause fluid from your liver to leak into your abdominal cavity. It can also divert blood from your portal vein to other veins, causing these veins to become swollen.
>Thinning bones. People with primary sclerosing cholangitis may experience thinning bones. Your doctor may recommend a bone density exam to test for osteoporosis every few years.
>Bile duct cancer. If you have primary sclerosing cholangitis, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in your bile ducts or gallbladder.
>Colon cancer. People with primary sclerosing cholangitis associated with inflammatory bowel disease have an increased risk of colon cancer.
Treatments for primary sclerosing cholangitis focus on reducing signs and symptoms of the disease as it progresses.
To deal with primary sclerosing cholangitis it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily hydrates body and brain cells and flushes toxins (whether thirsty or not!).
*Fresh squeezed lemon juice added to water (warm or room temp) in morning is ideal, but anytime is helpful.
*Consider a liver, gallbladder and/or colon cleanse.
*Increase fresh, raw foods (organic when possible).
*Consider fresh juicing.
*Decrease toxic exposures of all kinds (food and environment).
*Decrease overeating at a meal (eat until almost full, then stop).
*Decrease being overweight; maintain an optimal weight.
*Decrease any and all hydrogenated, trans fat, deep-fried foods, etc.
*Decrease products that contain refined sugar.
*Decrease caffeine, soda pop, processed foods, and alcohol.
*Avoid MSG and all artificial sweeteners.