Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis?

Most patients with early primary sclerosing cholangitis have no symptoms, and the presence of primary sclerosing cholangitis is recognized only because of abnormally elevated blood levels of liver enzymes (particularly alkaline phosphatase levels) that often are performed along with a routine physical examination.

Early symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis include fatigue and bodily itching (pruritus). As the disease progresses, patients may developjaundice (yellowing of skin and darkening of urine). Jaundice is due to the accumulation of bilirubin in the body. The bilirubin accumulates because it is not able to be eliminated in the bile due to prolonged obstruction of the bile ducts. The accumulation of bilirubin turns the skin and whites of the eye (sclera) yellow. The reason for the pruritus is not entirely known. It may be due to accumulation of bile salts in the body, also as a result of obstruction of the bile ducts.

As primary sclerosing cholangitis progresses, patients typically develop right upper abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, pruritus, and jaundice. These patients also are at risk of developing primary sclerosing cholangitis complications.

The patients with the autoimmune form of primary sclerosing cholangitis have more rapid and early onset of symptoms of abdominal pain, jaundice and fever than the majority of patients with the more indolent form of primary sclerosing cholangitis.

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Comment from: akallmes, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 10

I've had two liver transplants due to PSC and recurrent PSC. The best advice I can offer: Questran, even when not itching, along with exercising when you can. Also, seeing a nutritionist is key. Recovery and strength related to what you were able to eat. I used to take Tylenol to help with eating, so that the pain wouldn't be intolerable.

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