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The bile ducts drain bile from the liver into the duodenum. The excess bile is stored in the gallbladder. Any disturbance of the processes in these organs can lead to serious he alth problems. What should I know about the bile ducts?

The bile ductsare responsible for the discharge of bile from the liver, where it is produced by hepatocytes. This substance is responsible fordigestion and absorption of fatsand maintains the optimal pH for enzymes that ensure the proper functioning of the body.

Yellow has abitter tasteandbrown, yellow or green . It includes, among others phospholipids, cholesterol, bile acids, as well as drugs and toxins that have been introduced into the body. The liver constantly produces bile which is directed to the gallbladder.

Bile roads - construction

The bile ducts are the ducts that carry bile into the digestive tract. They form two main channels, calledright and left hepatic ducts . They combine in the hilum of the liver, draining all bile into the duodenum. It is the main biliary tract and is also connected to the cystic duct (from the gallbladder).

Diseases of the biliary tract

Diseases of the biliary tract can lead to serious complications and require medical attention.


These include, among others, gallstone disease. As a result, deposits are formed, commonly known asgallstones . They can form both in the gallbladder and in the bile ducts. Depending on the place of occurrence, they can cause chronic inflammation or mechanical jaundice. The consequences of acute inflammation are:

  • water sports
  • abscesses
  • necrosis
  • gallbladder perforation

The symptoms of gallstone disease are:

  • epigastric pain
  • lack of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • chills

Treatment of nephrolithiasis includes surgical removal of the stones, ending with laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder. Other treatments are considered ineffective.

Bile duct cancer

Gallstone disease is not the only disease that should be considered in the case of the biliary tract.

Bile duct canceris a malignant tumor that originates in the epithelium lining the bile ducts. This is a relatively rare phenomenon, but has a high mortality rate.


  • obstructive jaundice
  • discoloration of stools and urine
  • itchy skin
  • fever
  • chills
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Treatment includes, among other things, surgical resection, but most patients suffering from cancer of the intrahepatic bile ducts do not qualify for surgery due to their condition. Electric ablation and arterial chemotherapy can also be used to remove the lesions. The situation is a bit better in the case of the intrahepatic bile ducts, because the operation depends on the location of the cancerous tissues.

Gallbladder cancer

Similarly, a neoplasm may appear in the gallbladder itself, and then the prognosis is also not optimistic.


  • pain in the right side of the abdomen
  • jaundice
  • fatty stools
  • itchy skin
  • weight loss
  • anorexia
  • ascites
  • palpable bump

The treatment of first choice is surgery. The involved area and a large margin of surrounding tissue are cut out. In more severe cases, patients can count on palliative treatment.

Autoimmune diseases of the biliary tract

There are also autoimmune diseases in diseases of the bile ducts.

Primary sclerosing cholangitisis an autoimmune disease that leads to liver damage. Symptoms:

  • chronic fatigue
  • weight loss
  • itchy skin
  • less often:
  • fever
  • jaundice
  • Przeczosy
  • bacterial cholangitis

Patients can count on pharmacological and surgical treatment. In the former, among others, ursodeoxycholic acid, antibiotic therapy and symptomatic treatment (pruritus) are used. The procedures include endoscopy, excision of the extrahepatic bile ducts, and even liver transplantation. Without a transplant, the patient can live up totwelve years , and complications also include neoplasms of other organs.

Hereditary diseases of the biliary tract

Diseases of the bile ducts can also be hereditary, such asCaroli's disease . It leads to portal hypertension and cirrhosis of the liver.


  • fever
  • intermittent abdominal pain
  • liver enlargement
  • less jaundice

Diseasescoexisting: sepsis, choledocholithiasis and biliary tract. In this case, you can operate the liver, use antibiotics and apply for a transplant.

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Prevention and detection of bile duct diseases

As you can see, diseases of the biliary system have very unpleasant consequences, often ending in a long hospitalization, transplant or death. Unfortunately, they are very popular in Europe. The most common symptoms are: severe abdominal pain and gastrointestinal complaints: flatulence and nausea. Fever and mild jaundice are also popular.

What can be done to avoid unpleasant ailments?

The basis islifestyle change . The proper functioning of the biliary tract is directly related to the diet. When you eat a high-fat meal, more bile is secreted. If this trend continues, it may lead to the diseases mentioned above.

For this reason, it is worth eliminating from your mealsproducts with a high content of animal fats : meat fast food, bacon, lard, lard, cold meats and fatty cheeses, cream and butter .

Frying is also not recommended. Instead, the diet should be supplemented with light, high-fat foods. Animal fats can be replaced withvegetable fats , which will relieve the liver and gall bladder.

Regular checkups

Any worrying biliary symptoms should be consulted with a doctor immediately. One should also not forget about regular liver enzyme tests, abnormal levels of which can lead to the diagnosis at an early stage, prompt treatment and complete recovery of the patient.

If any abnormalities are detected, the doctor may refer, inter alia, to the Hida test - it is an imaging test used to diagnose biliary obstruction. Thanks to it, you can detect gallstones, cancer, diseases of the gallbladder and bile leakage.

What is the Hida test?

Kontrast(completely safe) is injected into the body and collected from the blood by the liver, where it then goes to the bile ducts. With the help of a nuclear scanner, pictures of all areas where bile should go are taken. If the radiologist finds an abnormality, further steps are taken. In a sick person, if the contrast is not detected in a given organ (in the liver, gallbladder or outside these organs), this indicatesroad malfunction.

Unfortunately, in the case of bile duct neoplasms, physical symptoms usually manifest themselves in a serious condition, and this is why prophylaxis gives the best chance of a successful recovery from the disease.

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