When I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. A doctor saved my life when I was very young and very sick. He was intrigued by my interesting set of symptoms, and he had access to a number of textbooks. Doctors know seemingly endless volumes of information, but diseases seem intent on trying to fool them.
This is the case with a growing number of women going undiagnosed with Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC).
PBC is a liver disorder that causes inflammation and scarring in, on, and around the bile ducts. We all know bile, the fluid that exists in the body to help with digestion and excretion. Well… when the bile ducts are blocked, a buildup of bile in the liver can cause damage.
This condition predominantly affects women between the ages of 40 and 60. The symptoms are frequently misinterpreted as they can be similar to many other conditions. Frequently, the first symptoms are extreme fatigue and itchy skin.
It would be hard to connect either of these symptoms back to this progressive liver disease.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this particular disease. Lifestyle changes, treating the symptoms, and certain medications are available to help slow the progression of the damage. But if left unchecked, this disease can cause cirrhosis of the liver. At this point, the only option is a transplant.
Knowing your body and being tested regularly is the best option for early detection of PBC and many other conditions. Doctors advise anyone with chronic fatigue and abnormal liver function tests to be checked for conditions like PBC.