Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

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What are the signs and symptoms for primary biliary cirrhosis?

Up to a quarter of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis are asymptomatic, meaning they do not have symptoms at the time of diagnosis and the disease is found incidentally because of abnormal liver blood tests.

The most common initial symptoms are fatigue or a sense of being abnormally tired and, skin that itches. Because of the intense itching and scratching, the skin may become darkened and discolored in some areas. The person may also complain of dry mouth and eyes.

Because there may be liver inflammation, some people may experience right upper quadrant abdominal pain, where the liver is located.

Should the liver damage progress, the symptoms of cirrhosis may develop. These include muscle wasting, ascites (swelling of the abdomen due to fluid accumulation), leg swelling, jaundice (yellow coloration of the skin), and confusion.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/23/2015

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