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Primary biliary cirrhosis

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I have primary biliary cirrhosis of the liver and most of the time the itching at night disrupts my sleep.  I was told that maybe a Naturopathic Doctor can help.  Would this be a good idea or will I be wasting my time?   I now have to rely on sleeping tablets to get some sleep and I don't wish to keep taking them if there are other options.


Primary biliary cirrhosis (or PBC) is a condition that is thought to be associated with autoimmune disease but little is currently known.  I hope that you have seen a liver specialist because there are medications that can be helpful in reducing some of the side effects.  The itching you are experiencing is most likely due to the build up of something called bilirubin which the liver is supposed to be able to process and eliminate.  When excess amounts accumulate it ends up in the blood and can cause yellowing of the skin and eyes and the itchy rash you are experiencing.  Taking the correct medication from your doctor can help to reduce the build up of bilirubin in the blood.

A Naturopathic Doctor can be very helpful for you.  There are many natural vitamins and herbal preparations that help to protect the liver from getting any further damage from the autoimmune process.  The cirrhosis of biliary ducts basically means that there is scarring that is occurring in the tiny channels in your liver that process bilirubin.  As these channels scar they loose the ability to process the bilirubin.  By taking the right natural supplements, you can help support your liver cells and the cells that line the biliary ducts which can eventually reduce the amount of scarring and damage that occurs. 

There is little known about this condition and the traditional treatment options are limited.  Working with a skilled Naturopathic Physician may offer you a significant avenue of aggressively reducing the damage that is occurring in your liver.  Check the resource at to find qualified Naturopathic Physician in your area.

Back to all Questions     View More by Dr. Kevin Passero

Lead Medical Director

As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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