An unusual form of liver cirrhosis that results from the problems with the bile ducts. There are two kinds of biliary cirrhosis one is an autoimmune disorder and is known as primary biliary cirrhosis. Second biliary cirrhosis occurs as a result of a long standing blockage. In both types of the condition, liver function is affected due to cholestasas (accumulation of bile in the liver).
Primary biliary cirrhosis principally affects middle aged women and appears to be linked with a malfunction of the immune system. Due to this disorder the bile ducts within the liver become inflamed and are destroyed. Symptoms include jaundice, itching, abdominal pain, enlarged liver, fatty diarrhoea and xanthomatosis (deposits of fatty material under the skin). Osteoporosis may also develop. Symptoms of liver cirrhosis and liver failure can occur after a few years. Drug treatment can be used to lessen complications and to relieve symptoms such as itching, but a liver transplant is the only cure. Secondary biliary cirrhosis results from prolonged bile duct obstruction or biliary atresia. Symptoms and signs include tenderness, abdominal pain, liver enlargement, fevers and chills and sometime blood abnormalities. Treatment is the same as for bile duct obstruction.