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Any kind of injury on the surface of the skin is immediately noticed by us, but when something happens to one of our internal organs, it can take a little longer to get to your notice for example, an obstruction in the bile duct. The bile duct is a tubular structure responsible for carrying bile from the liver and gall bladder through the pancreas to the small intestine. This bile helps the digestion process and the absorption of fat.
An obstruction in the bile duct can be triggered by a number of factors. Some of these are:
- Inflammation of the bile ducts
- Traumatic accidents
- Bile duct or pancreatic tumors
- Hepatitis infections
- Cirrhosis or severe liver damage
- Abnormal narrowing of the bile duct
This can affect anyone, but the people who have a history of gall stones or tumors in the abdomen are at a higher risk of suffering from bile duct obstruction. Chronic pancreatitis, sudden weight loss or obesity can also increase this risk. The symptoms of biliary obstruction include light coloured stool, dark urine, pain in the upper right abdomen, nausea, vomiting and fever. Your doctor will also probably need an X-ray of the bile ducts, blood tests, a hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan and ultrasonograph to confirm a diagnosis before they can start treating you for the same.
If not treated in time, bile duct blockages can lead to a dangerous buildup of bilirubin in the body and trigger a number of life threatening diseases. Treatment for biliary obstruction can be through medication or surgery with surgery being the more preferred mode of treatment. It is aimed at resolving the underlying cause of the obstruction and alleviating the blockage. Treatment for biliary obstruction can be two common forms of treatment include a cholecystectomy and ERCP. The former involves the removal of the gall bladder and is suited to obstructions caused by gallstones. The latter is a procedure to remove small stones from the bile duct or place a stent inside the duct.
There are many ways bile duct obstruction can be prevented which first and foremost includes following a healthy lifestyle. If you are overweight, exercise for at least half an hour a day to regulate your weight and reach a healthy BMI. Decrease your intake of sugar and saturated fats as both these can cause gall stones. Also, increase the amount of fibre in your diet. All the above mentioned tips will certainly help you in preventing bile duct obstruction. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gastroenterologist.