Bile duct cysts
Type of disease: Rare conditions
Choledochal cysts, also known as bile duct cysts, are characterized by the formation of cysts, or swelling, within the bile duct system. The bile duct system is responsible for storing and transporting bile to from the liver, where it is made, to the intestines, where it helps to digest food. Swelling within the ducts inhibits the flow of bile. Individuals with this defect have digestion problems as well as a yellow discoloration of the eye and skin (jaundice). The severity of the symptoms depends on how much swelling is observed within the duct. Doctors diagnose this defect early in life, as the resulting symptoms are quickly apparent. Treatment is developed on a case-by-case basis and depends on the specific needs of the patient. Digestion specialists may suggest individuals eat a lower-fat diet, or undergo surgery to reduce the swelling of the bile duct to allow free flow of bile to the digestive system.