Understanding the Causes of Cholestasis and Their Treatment

Cholestasis is a condition inwhere there is interference with the flow of bile, causing health problems. The disorder can occur due to a lack of bile or there is a blockage in the bile duct.

Cholestasis can cause several symptoms, such as jaundice (jaundice), dark urine color, whitish stools like putty, itching, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. This condition requires a medical examination from a doctor.

Know the Causes of Cholestasis

There are two causes of cholestasis, namely those originating from the liver (intrahepatic cholestasis), and those originating outside the liver (extrahepatic cholestasis).

Some of the causes of intrahepatic cholestasis are:

Suffering from certain diseases

Intrahepatic cholestasis is generally caused by liver disease, such as acute hepatitis, liver disease due to excessive alcohol consumption, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Some genetic disorders and severe infections, such as liver abscess and sepsis, can also cause cholestasis.

Drug side effects

The use of certain drugs is also one of the factors causing intrahepatic cholestasis. Drugs whose side effects can cause cholestasis are: chlorpromazine, antibiotics such as ampicillin, penicillin, and amoxicillinanabolic steroids, antituberculosis drugs, azathioprine, cimetidine, and birth control pills.

Cholestasis in pregnant women

In pregnant women, pregnancy hormones can interfere with bile flow. This condition usually occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy which is characterized by severe itching symptoms.

After operation

In certain cases, cholestasis can also occur after surgery, especially in major operations on the internal organs of the abdomen or on the heart. The occurrence of postoperative cholestasis is also more likely to occur in patients who have a history of pancreatic disease or problems with the gallbladder.

Meanwhile, several factors that can cause extrahepatic cholestasis are:

  • Gallstones or tumors in the bile ducts.
  • Narrowing of the bile ducts.
  • Cancer in the bile ducts.
  • Pancreatic disorders, such as in pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
  • Cyst pressing on the bile duct.
  • Cholangitis.

To confirm the diagnosis of cholestasis, the doctor will perform a physical examination and support such as a complete blood test and a bilirubin test. In addition, the doctor will also perform an ultrasound, MRI and CT scan of the liver and gallbladder to look for the cause of cholestasis.

If cholestasis is suspected to be caused by liver cancer, the doctor will perform a liver biopsy to detect whether there are cancer cells in the liver.

How to Treat Cholestasis

After the diagnosis of cholestasis and the causative factors have been identified, the first step in treating cholestasis is to treat the underlying cause. If the cholestasis is caused by a side effect of drugs, the doctor will advise you to stop treatment for a while.

However, if the cholestasis is caused by certain diseases, such as the presence of gallstones or tumors, the doctor may prescribe medication or suggest surgery. Surgery can be performed using general surgical techniques, laparoscopic surgery, or endoscopy.

Especially for cholestasis of pregnancy, usually treatment aims to relieve itching. Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid ointment or an anti-itch ointment.

One of the efforts to prevent cholestasis that can be done is to get the hepatitis vaccine, limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages and stay away from drugs.

Cholestasis can be caused by many things, immediately consult a doctor if there are symptoms of cholestasis as previously mentioned. The doctor will perform a complete examination and determine further treatment steps to treat cholestasis.