Cholestasis is a condition in which the liver can’t produce or expel as much bile as is needed. This occurs when the flow from the liver is inhibited by something. Bile is immensely important for our overall health as it helps us digest our food, particularly the fats that we eat. Fats are very important for our cardiovascular health, our mental health, and for our overall energy levels. If you can’t produce enough bile or the flow of the bile is changed, the body can start to develop an excess of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a compound that’s made by your liver and is generally removed from your body through your bile. The excess buildup of bilirubin can contribute to some of the symptoms of cholestasis.
There are two main types of cholestasis, referred to as intrahepatic cholestasis and extrahepatic cholestasis. The first one is caused within the liver itself, and can be a result of diseases, various forms of infection, drug addictions, or genetic problems. Pregnancy is also known to increase the risk of getting intrahepatic cholestasis, a condition that’s known as cholestasis of pregnancy. The latter form is caused by an actual obstruction to the bile ducts.
Many things can contribute to extrahepatic cholestasis such as tumors, gallstones, or anything else that builds up in the bile ducts. If you’re worried about whether or not you’re struggling with cholestasis, then perhaps reading this list of symptoms will help you to identify the issue. If you do, then you might want to seek medical attention before the symptoms get any worse.
Symptom #1: Jaundice
Jaundice is a condition that’s often associated with alcoholics because many long-term drinkers have done damage to their liver. People struggling with cholestasis are also prone to develop jaundice because their livers can become impaired by the buildup of bilirubin and bile.
Jaundice can be observed by a pale yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. It usually indicates that the liver is becoming quite unhealthy and that any issues associated with it should be managed as soon as possible.