Biliary Obstruction Specialists

Illinois Gastroenterology Group -  - Gastroenterology

Illinois Gastroenterology Group

Gastroenterology located in Gurnee, Evanston, Skokie, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Highland Park, & Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

Biliary obstruction or obstruction of the bile duct is a serious condition that causes bile to build up in the liver. If you experience biliary obstruction, the gastroenterology specialists at Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Gurnee, Evanston, Skokie, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Highland Park, & Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, provide prompt and effective treatment to restore your digestive functions and help you avoid dangerous complications. To speak with a board-certified specialist about your condition, call or book an appointment online today.

Biliary Obstruction Q & A

What is Biliary Obstruction?

Biliary obstruction refers to blockage of the bile ducts, which carry bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine. Bile is essential to the digestion process, and obstruction to the bile ducts can result in painful symptoms and changes to your bowel and urinary functions. 

If left untreated, biliary obstruction can lead to life-threatening complications like infections or cirrhosis. A number of issues can lead to obstruction of the bile ducts, including:

  • Gallstones
  • Cysts
  • Inflammation
  • Tumors
  • Trauma from injuries or surgery


Although biliary obstruction can affect anyone, you're at a higher risk if you have a history of pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, or abdominal injuries. 

What are the Symptoms of Biliary Obstruction?

The symptoms of biliary obstruction can vary from person to person. Some patients experience sudden and severe symptoms, while others experience symptoms that gradually worsen over time. The symptoms of biliary obstruction include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Pale colored stool
  • Dark urine
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


Obstruction of the bile ducts can also prevent the liver from removing bilirubin from the blood. A build-up of bilirubin in the body can result in jaundice, which causes yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. 

How is Biliary Obstruction Treated?

The first step in treating your condition is an accurate diagnosis from Illinois Gastroenterology Group. Your doctor begins with a physical exam and discussion of your symptoms. You might also undergo a blood test to check the levels of bilirubin in your blood.

After a physical, your doctor performs endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). 

To perform ERCP, your doctor uses a small thin tube with a camera attached called an endoscope to examine your bile ducts. Your doctor can also use the endoscope to remove small gallstones if needed.

If larger substances like tumors or gallstones block your bile ducts, you may require a more invasive procedure like a cholecystectomy. In some cases, the treatment of biliary obstruction requires removal of the gallbladder.

Treatment for biliary obstruction depends on the underlying cause. To speak with a specialist about your condition, call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or schedule your appointment online.