Loading Results
We have updated our Online Services Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. See our Cookies Notice for information concerning our use of cookies and similar technologies. By using this website or clicking “I ACCEPT”, you consent to our Online Services Terms of Use.

What is Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC)?

Formerly called primary biliary cirrhosis, this condition was recently renamed as primary biliary cholangitis or PBC. It is a rare condition that is more common in women than men and typically occurs in middle age.

Call to Schedule an Appointment Today

To schedule an in-person or virtual consultation with a UH liver specialist, call 216-844-8500, Option #1 or schedule online.

PBC is a rare, progressive disease of the small bile ducts inside of the liver. Bile is a liquid produced by the liver cells. When bile is unable to be properly drained due to damaged bile ducts inside of the liver, there is buildup of bile (cholestasis). Cholestasis leads to chronic inflammation of the liver and scarring. Over time, scarring is irreversible and can progress to cirrhosis. This can lead to liver failure and even liver cancer.

Classic symptoms of PBC include:

  • Fatigue
  • Severe itching (pruritus)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Some individuals may not initially have symptoms present, but rather may have abnormal liver chemistries (elevation in the alkaline phosphatase levels).

What Causes Primary Biliary Cholangitis?

The exact cause of PBC is not known, but researchers believe it is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s own immune system attacks the bile duct cells and destroys them. Others think that environmental factors may play a role in triggering the disease.

UH Offers Expert Diagnosis and Treatment of PBC

An accurate diagnosis of PBC is essential so that the appropriate treatments can be determined.

Diagnosis is made with blood tests and sometimes a liver biopsy.

There is no cure for PBC but once the diagnosis is confirmed, recommended treatments may include:

  • Medications to help delay disease progression and ongoing monitoring
  • Managing any complications that may arise from the disease
  • Consideration for liver transplant in those who develop advanced disease
  • Participation in a clinical trial

Make an Appointment

Your health is important. Get expert care.

Offering in-person and virtual visits.

216-844-8500, Option #1

Make an Appointment