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Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Signs and Symptoms

Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune disease of the liver in which the bile ducts are slowly destroyed.  In primary biliary cirrhosis the small ducts within the liver are damaged, leading to a build-up of bile within the liver.  This build-up of bile damages the tissue and leads to liver scarring, fibrosis and cirrhosis.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of primary biliary cirrhosis below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis are as follows:

  • Fatigue
  • Severe itching of the skin
  • Jaundice – yellowish eyes and skin
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Digestive problems
  • Dark, blotchy skin
  • Swollen feet
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Fatty lumps of cholesterol, especially around the eyes and on the eyelids

Since primary biliary cirrhosis develops slowly, many people with primary biliary cirrhosis have no symptoms of the disease.  The disease is often discovered through routine blood work.  Medication can slow the progression of the disease, and the prognosis is good if treatment begins early.

Diagnosis of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis is diagnosed through liver function tests combined with a test for anti-mitochondrial antibodies.  An ultrasound and an MRI are also frequently used to view the blockages of the bile ducts.  A liver biopsy can definitively diagnose primary biliary cirrhosis, and a liver biopsies are often used to monitor the progression of the disease.

Books and Articles for People With Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
James N. Parker
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
ICON Health Publications

CHOLESTATIC LIVER DISEASE Recognizing the clinical signs Primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and cholangiocarcinoma can be clearly … remain elusive. (Postgraduate Medicine)
MD Abhijit S. Bhatia
Novel therapy may soothe severe itching due to primary biliary cirrhosis. (Liver Support Device).: An article from: Skin & Allergy News
Bruce Jancin

Prinary Biliary Cirrhosis Resources

General Patient Resources

  • American Liver Foundation

Brochures & Handouts . Education Resources. Support Services … Explore this section to learn more about primary biliary cirrhosis, including a description of the disease and how it is diagnosed.

  • Experience Project

Anonymously connect with people who share your experiences– like those who say ‘I Have Primary Biliary Cirrhosis’. Read hundreds of true stories, share your own story anonymously, get feedback and comments, chat in the discussion forum, help others, meet new friends, and so much more– all free.

  • WD

Primary biliary cirrhosis information including symptoms, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, treatment, causes, patient stories, videos, forums, prevention, and prognosis.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, diagnosis, treatment of this chronic liver disease.

  • Pub Med Health

Discusses causes, risk factors, symptoms, treatment, prognosis and complications.

  • Medicine Net . com

Complete medical information – learn more about Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC), including a description, scope of the problem, causes, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, natural progression.