PBC Signs & Symptoms

The Signs & Symptoms of PBC

Many people in the very earliest stages of PBC will not experience any symptoms. Often times, the only marker or indicator that PBC is present is found by taking blood samples and measuring certain biochemical compounds within that sample that are related to liver function.

However, different symptoms can present themselves in varying levels of severity. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Pruritus, or severe itching

Some patients may also experience:

  • Dry eyes and/or mouth
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes (this happens once PBC is more advanced and serious liver disease has occurred)
  • Cognitive symptoms, such as difficulty remembering things

It is important to note, however, that the symptoms of PBC do not necessarily correlate with the disease’s progression.  That means that symptoms can occur or even increase in patients whose PBC is stable, while other patients may have PBC that is advancing but not experience any symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or have other concerns about PBC, talk to your doctor so you can proactively manage your disease.

Treatment for PBC

Currently the only approved medical treatment for PBC is Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). Most patients can manage the disease for many years when UDCA is administered and taken correctly. In some later-stage or more severe cases, some patients may not adequately respond to this therapy and may require additional treatment options, which may include a liver transplant.

For additional information on treatment, talk to your healthcare provider and ask them to walk you through the guidelines from the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) and the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).


Sources:

Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Symptoms of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, The National Health Service.

Primary biliary cirrhosis: A 2010 update. Poupon, Raoul. Journal of Hepatology, Volume 52, Issue 5, 745-758.

 

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