Health and MedicineDiseasesBile duct obstruction: causes, symptoms and treatment

Bile duct obstruction: causes, symptoms and treatment

Biliary obstruction is a condition that must be corrected quickly. Find out what its symptoms are, why it appears and how it is treated medically. In short, everything you need to know about the blockage and obstruction of the bile ducts.

The obstruction of the bile ducts is another of the pathologies or diseases that commonly affect the gallbladder, a pear-shaped organ (specifically a viscera) that works in the same way as a small sack, since its main function It is to store and accumulate bile in order to release it later to the small intestine when it is required during the digestion process.

But it is not the only gallbladder disease that commonly tends to affect this organ. The appearance of gallstones or gallstones is also common, a disorder that is medically known by the name of cholelithiasis. Or the inflammation of this organ itself, which is medically known as cholecystitis.

What is biliary obstruction?

Biliary obstruction medically refers to any obstruction that occurs in the bile ducts, which carry bile from the liver and gallbladder to the pancreas and small intestine.

We must bear in mind that, to a greater extent, the bile secreted by the liver for the digestion of fats is released directly to the small intestine, but what remains is stored in the gallbladder.

After having eaten any food, the gallbladder releases bile in order to promote both digestion and the proper absorption of fats.

However, when there is some type of obstruction in the bile ducts, there is a blockage in the different ducts that transport bile, so that it tends to accumulate in the liver.

Symptoms of bile duct obstruction.

When biliary obstruction causes a blockage of a duct that carries bile, it is common for  jaundice to develop (skin and eyes turn yellow), as a result of increased levels of bilirubin in the blood.

But this is not the only symptom that arises when there is an obstruction of the bile ducts.  Abdominal pain (mostly located on the upper right side of the abdomen), itchy skin, nausea and vomiting, cloudy urine, pale-colored stools, and nausea and vomiting are also possible.

What are the causes of biliary obstruction?

Its causes are actually very varied, although the most common is due to the existence of  gallstones, especially when one of these stones wants to leave the gallbladder and gets stuck in one of the bile ducts. In this way, the bile is interrupted.

There are also other related causes that can cause the appearance of biliary obstructions.  We summarize them below:

  • Bile duct cysts.
  • Inflammation of the bile ducts.
  • Narrowing of the bile ducts as a result of a healing process.
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes located in the hepatic hilum.
  • Injuries from surgeries performed on the gallbladder.
  • Tumors: either of the bile ducts, of the pancreas, or that has spread to the bile ducts (metastasis).

Treatment of obstruction of the bile ducts.

There is no doubt that the medical treatment to be followed pursues the objective of  relieving the biliary obstruction. But the treatment to be prescribed or performed will depend directly on the cause that has caused said obstruction. Thus, for example, the removal of gallstones using an endoscope is possible.

In some cases it may be necessary to remove the gallbladder, a medical procedure that is usually done when the obstruction is due to the presence of gallstones.

However, surgery may be required to perform a bypass and thereby bypass biliary obstruction.

Be that as it may, we must bear in mind that biliary obstruction must be corrected quickly, since otherwise it can cause the appearance of a life-threatening infection, the dangerous accumulation of bilirubin in the blood, and chronic liver disease.


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