Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) in Northwest Arkansas

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Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) shares several traits in common with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). One of the main differences between the two is that PSC involves the bile ducts both inside and outside the liver, causing them to become irritated, scarred, and smaller in diameter, which may ultimately result in liver cirrhosis if not handled by a specialist.

As a digestive fluid, bile is critical to how the body functions. It helps with the elimination of bad cholesterol, worn-out blood cells, and toxins. Because of this, it is imperative that you get care for primary sclerosing cholangitis without delay. The team at GI Alliance of Arkansas proudly offers personalized services for primary sclerosing cholangitis. For more information about the condition or to receive treatment for PSC in Arkansas, please request a consultation with one of our gastroenterologists today.

The main cause of PSC has not yet been identified, but it is believed to be associated with how the immune system reacts to toxins or infections. Primary sclerosing cholangitis carries a genetic predisposition, which means that if a member of your family has or had the condition, you are more likely to have it as well. Factors that elevate the risk of developing primary sclerosing cholangitis involve:

  • Heritage (people with Northern European heritage are at greater risk of having PSC)
  • Age (PSC is most commonly diagnosed in people between 30 – 50 years old)
  • Sex (PSC is more common in men)
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease


Our specialists at GI Alliance of Arkansas can offer additional details involving the possible reasons behind PSC and help you better understand your risks for this disease.

PSC is often found and diagnosed during routine testing for other conditions, even before symptoms have had a chance present. Treating PSC is more effective when it's diagnosed in the early stages. The beginning symptoms of PSC may include fatigue and itching. Additional symptoms of PSC include:

  • Dry eyes
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Excessive sweating during sleep
  • Dark and greasy bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Unwanted weight loss
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Muscle soreness
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Chills
  • Dark skin unrelated to sun exposure
  • Fragile bones
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Swollen feet and ankles

We urge you to request a consultation with a GI Alliance of Arkansas gastroenterologist if you have intense itching on much of your body or if you feel fatigued more than normal. It is particularly vital to bring these symptoms up to your provider if you have a type of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

So far, healthcare professionals have not been able to identify a cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis. It is, however, manageable with medical care. Many of the treatments for PSC focus on opening the biliary strictures (narrowed bile ducts) and alleviating the complications and symptoms that accompany the disorder. Our Arkansas gastroenterology providers may suggest one or more of the following options to treat PSC:

  • Balloon dilation procedure to widen narrowed bile ducts
  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Topical creams to manage itching
  • Nutrition support therapy
  • Surgical procedure to temporarily open bile ducts that are blocked
  • Liver transplant
  • Stents for narrowed or blocked bile ducts
  • Routine exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid consuming alcohol
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PSC is a chronic liver disease that has the potential to seriously affect your GI and overall health in the long term. However, our digestive health team at GI Alliance of Arkansas is ready to offer the individualized care you need to help boost your quality of life. To consult a provider who offers primary sclerosing cholangitis treatment in Arkansas, contact one of our office locations near you.

Short wait time, very friendly staff, beautiful views from the windows, and a common sense approach to medicine. An excellent listener!

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Dr. O'Keefe really took the time to explain things in an easy to understand way & I would highly recommend him! His nurse Claudia is wonderful as well!

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All of the staff, nurse practitioner, RN,,phlebotomist at GI Alliance were professional and caring. I am happy with the care from GI Alliance would recommend Them.

V.C. Google

I really like going to see Dr O’keefe at G I Alliance. I have a complicated case. Dr. O’Keefe always listens to me and takes the time to answer my questions without trying to rush me out of the office like some doctors do.

K.W. Google

Very kind, friendly and caring doctor. Love that he is very knowledgeable and approachable. Highly recommend!

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