Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) in Tulsa, OK

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Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a rare chronic liver condition. PBC is a progressive autoimmune condition that slowly damages the bile ducts in the liver. Bile aids with the digestive process and carries away fat, toxic substances, and worn-out red blood cells. This condition could also have serious effects on the liver. If the bile ducts become harmed or dysfunctional, this allows bile to build up in your liver and create scarring. When the liver becomes too damaged, it can cause cirrhosis.

If you want to hear more about this condition or to get help for primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) in Tulsa, OK, we encourage you to request a consultation with our gastroenterologists. Our Adult Gastroenterology Associates providers are here to offer customized treatments for patients throughout the region. Contact one of our locations today to request a consultation.

PBC is an immune system disease. This means that the immune system mistakenly destroys normal cells and tissues. The inflammation of the liver is caused by white blood cells, also called T cells, accumulating and harming normal cells in the liver. Inflammation in the small ducts spreads to other portions of the liver, harming these cells and causing scar tissue. As the liver scarring increases, it starts to function incorrectly, leading to cirrhosis of the liver. It is not yet clear what causes these T cells to hurt healthy cell tissue, but it could be linked to genetics.

Risk factors

Some of the risk factors associated with having PBC are:

  • Being 30 – 60 years old
  • Certain infections
  • Tobacco and exposure to other toxic chemicals
  • Being a woman
  • Family history (you are at an elevated risk of primary biliary cholangitis if a relative has had it)
  • Region (PBC is more widespread in North America and Northern Europe)

If you would like more information about PBC, contact a gastrointestinal specialist at your nearest Adult Gastroenterology Associates location today.

Often, symptoms of PBC do not manifest until 5–20 years after the diagnosis. The detection of PBC often occurs while testing for different issues. Some of the first symptoms of PBC include tiredness, dry mouth and eyes, and itching of the skin.

Additional symptoms of PBC can include:

  • Painful joints
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • High cholesterol
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Discomfort in the upper right abdomen
  • Dark and greasy stools
  • Dark skin that is not a result of sun rays
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Brittle bones

It is essential to diagnose primary biliary cholangitis as soon as possible. If you are at risk of having PBC or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, our Tulsa, OK GI providers are ready to help.

Presently, there is no way to reverse primary biliary cholangitis. Treatment helps to delay the progression of the disease and addresses the symptoms. The treatments available for PBC include:

  • Receiving a donor liver
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Obeticholic acid (aids liver health)
  • Fibrates (lower liver inflammation and itching)
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid (helps move bile through the liver)
  • Staying active

Once the patient starts displaying symptoms, their life expectancy is a decade unless they have a liver transplant. Although there is no cure, patients will be able to receive the treatment required to live a more vibrant life. Our GI providers will discuss all treatment options available to you.

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If your or someone you know are showing symptoms of PBC, please know that personalized care is available. The gastrointestinal providers at your nearest Adult Gastroenterology Associates location are proud to provide treatment options to help you manage your liver condition. Request a consultation at a Tulsa, OK location near you to take the first step in managing your health and well-being.

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Dr. Conkling is a very thorough doctor. He spends time talking and answering questions that I may have. He’s very knowledgeable in the field of gastroenterology. I feel confident putting my health care in the hands of Dr. Conkling.

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Dr Conkling listens to my issues and took the time to explained several options for treatment in a way I could understand.

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I highly recommend Dr. Patel he pretty much saved my life. His Staff is always so nice also.

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