Wilson Disease

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Our gastrointestinal (GI) doctors at Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders use their knowledge of metabolic dysfunction to pinpoint therapies for complex conditions.


Wilson disease is a rare metabolic disorder. It passes on to a child by a defect in a gene found in both parents. Parents can be carriers without displaying any symptoms. While signs of the disease can appear as early as six years of age, they most often occur in teenagers. Uncontrolled body movement is one crucial physical symptom.


When symptoms of Wilson disease appear, the multidisciplinary team of specialists at the Underwood Center will use our access to advanced diagnostic technology to identify the most effective treatment. 


Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 8 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.

World-Renowned Diagnostic Specialists

The Underwood Center provides the essential clinical organ and tissue testing to permit confirmation of Wilson disease. Since this is a condition that involves the gastrointestinal tract, our specialists aim to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment of this disease. 

Wilson Disease Symptoms & Treatments

What are signs and symptoms of Wilson disease?

Wilson disease is a rare inherited disorder that affects the liver, nervous system, eyes and other vital organs. The disorder causes excess copper to accumulate throughout the body. Copper is poisonous in excessive quantities. When our body does not eliminate the mineral via the gastrointestinal tract, an imbalance forms, which causes:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in handwriting
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Neurologic or psychiatric symptoms
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

How is Wilson disease treated?

If Wilson disease is caught early, your gastroenterologist will recommend drugs that block the absorption of copper and that remove it from your body.

How do I receive advanced care or a second opinion?

We understand the concerns that come with the diagnosis of rare disorders. Whether you are looking for a diagnosis or a second opinion, we’re here to help. The center’s compassionate team of gastroenterologists will diagnose your condition and design a personalized treatment plan that works for you and your family.

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