Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary sclerosing cholangitis

is a chronic and progressive disease of the liver which inflames and scars the bile duct obstructing the flow of bile from the liver. This problem can ultimately develop into liver cancer, cirrhosis or a failure itself.

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC):

The bile (a fluid produced in the liver) plays a crucial role in the digestion of fats and in the excretion of toxic wastes. The bile ducts channel this fluid to the small intestines and the gut, thus playing a key role in digestion.

This particular disease of the liver (PSC) which obstructs the bile ducts the bile gets blocked in the liver eventually scarring and damaging it.

Causes and Incidence of PSC:

Although the exact cause of the disease is unknown, autoimmunity is considered a possible cause for the inflammation of the liver. People who suffer from Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel problems may also develop PSC.

  • Only 6 out of 100,000 Americans are known to develop this disease, which makes it clear that this is quite uncommon.
  • 70 percent of the patients who have developed PSC are men. Thus, men are known to get affected more than women do.
  • People in their forties are diagnosed more with PSC.


During the initial stages of PSC, people usually go asymptomatic as the disease is slowly progressing. Around 10 percent of the people may show signs like body itching, abdominal pain and fever which usually recede with the use of corticosteroids.

Common symptoms include-

  • fatigue
  • jaundice symptoms which include yellowing of the skin and the eyes and dark urines
  • chills caused by infections of the bile duct

In people who develop the disease due to autoimmunity, the symptoms present themselves rapidly and quickly when compared to others where a few years can pass before the person exhibits any symptoms.


As such, the progressive disease that

primary sclerosing cholangitis

is, it is difficult to stop it from progressing. Medications, antibiotics and vitamin supplements are only a measure to restrain the symptoms. Eventually, the liver would have to be transplanted if the patient has to survive.

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