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Primary biliary cirrhosis

  • Definition

    Primary biliary cirrhosis is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the bile ducts of the liver, which blocks the flow of bile. This obstruction damages liver cells and leads to scarring called cirrhosis.

    Alternative Names


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The cause of inflamed bile ducts in the liver is not known. The disease more commonly affects middle-aged women.

    Long-term bile obstruction is believed to lead to liver cirrhosis. The disease may be associated with autoimmune disorders such as:

    • Celiac disease
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Raynaud's phenomenon
    • Sicca syndrome (dry eyes or mouth)