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Symptoms and Signs of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Doctor's Notes on Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic (lasting years and decades), rare, progressive disease of the bile ducts (inflamed, scarred and thickened) that occurs more often in men (70%). The signs and symptoms are slowly progressive, so early in the disease, most people will not have any symptoms. Often, the disease can produce elevated blood levels of liver enzymes that are incidentally found. Jaundice, dark urine and pruritus can develop as obstruction of liver bile ducts increase; abdominal pain, fever and fatigue also increases.

Although about 10% of patients are known to have an autoimmune hepatitis form of the disease that advances more rapidly; however, the cause of primary sclerosing cholangitis is not known. It has been associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.