Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the bile ducts and slowly destroys them, resulting in liver damage and eventually cirrhosis. The bile ducts are located in the liver and are needed to produce bile, which is a liquid substance required to break down and metabolize food. Bile is also necessary for removing toxins, cholesterol, and blood cells from the body. Primary biliary cirrhosis causes the bile ducts to become inflammation and eventually collapse. Here are the causes, symptoms, and treatments for primary biliary cirrhosis.
There may be no symptoms at all for years during the early stages of primary biliary cirrhosis. As the disease progresses, the following symptoms may occur: itchy skin, dry eyes and mouth, fatigue, high cholesterol, greasy diarrhea, hypothyroidism, osteoporosis, ascites, swollen feet and ankles, musculoskeletal pain or inflammation, fatty deposits around the eyes, eyelids, knees, and in the creases of palms, hyperpigmentation not related to sun exposure, and pain in the upper right area of the abdomen where the liver is located.