Primary sclerosing cholangitis is often diagnosed before symptoms appear when a routine blood test or an X-ray taken for an unrelated condition shows liver abnormalities.

Early symptoms often include:

  • Fatigue
  • Itching

Many people diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis before they have symptoms continue to feel generally well for several years, but there's no reliable way to predict how quickly or slowly the disease will progress for any individual. Signs and symptoms that may appear as the disease progresses include:

  • Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Enlarged liver
  • Weight loss
  • Yellow eyes and skin (jaundice)

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have severe, unexplained itching on much of your body — itching that persists no matter how much you scratch. Also see your doctor if you feel extremely tired all the time, no matter what you do.

It's particularly important to bring unexplained fatigue and itching to your doctor's attention if you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, both of which are types of inflammatory bowel disease. A majority of people with primary sclerosing cholangitis also have one of these diseases.

Aug. 15, 2014

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