Primary Biliary Cirrhosis – Causes and Symptoms

Primary biliary cirrhosis

(PBC) is a chronic, autoimmune disease of the liver where there is a slow progressive destruction of the small bile ducts within the liver. In this disorder, the bile ducts in the liver become inflamed, gets damaged and ultimately disappear. This causes bile to build up in the liver and over a time period this accumulation damages the liver tissue.


Bile is a bitter-tasting, dark yellowish brown fluid, produced by the liver. It travels through the bile ducts to the gall bladder and then to duodenum and small intestine. Bile helps digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K.

In PBC, it is called primary because in this condition small bile ducts within the liver are affected. In secondary biliary cirrhosis, there is obstruction of large bile ducts of the liver like the common bile duct and its major branches.

In this article, we give causes and symptoms of PBC

Causes of PBC:

The cause of PBC is not clearly known. Research on this disease suggests that it is an autoimmune disorder. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system of the body attacks its own tissues instead of foreign bodies. In PBC, the immune system attacks the bile ducts in the liver.

Genetic factors and family history increases the risk of developing PBC.

Symptoms of PBC:

Initial symptoms

that the person having PBC experiences are:

  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Itchy skin
  • Darkened skin due to scratching

In due course of time other

symptoms that develop


  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • All jaundice symptoms like yellow coloration of skin and whites of the eyes

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