PBC Foundation
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Question. Can a physical trauma bring on an episode of severe fatigue ?

I'm 63 yrs old, & although I've only been officially diagnosed with PBC two & half years ago, I believe I've had it at least 20yrs ( when a blood test carried out in Florida, whilst on holiday highlighted high LFT ) .

Up until 18 months ago I can say I was completely asymptomatic, but since then I've had what I call episodes of fatigue, one episode lasted approx 5/6 weeks, when I suffered both fatigue & aching joints, but generally just random days when I'm completed wiped out, so the PBC hasn't impacted too much on my life, & thankfully I'm retired now. Up to breaking my hip, I was fairly active with a good social life.

However, 5 weeks ago, I fell & broke my hip ( first break I've ever had ), this resulted in a total hip replacement, I was in hospital for 8 days, longer than the usual 3 - 5 days. I spent the majority of the time sleeping & fatigued, so this impacted on my recovery, as very often the physio team came to get me moving I was ' out of it ' ! this worried me & I wondered if the morphine & co-codamol was affecting my PBC badly, so refused to take the strong pain relief, & opted for paracetamol only.

Since coming home, my progress has continued to be slow, & the fatigue is bad the majority of the time. What I can't understand is why some days I can be really bad, but sometimes I can feel much better, some nights I can rally & feel energised & back to my normal self, but next day back to square one, fatigued ! Unfortunately, I have to lie on my back, as not allowed to sleep on my side until 8 weeks, this hurts my back, even though I am sleeping on pillows to get some comfort. So no respite in bed.

Has anyone else had a physical trauma, which made there PBC symptoms worse & bounced back ? I'm worried that the fatigue will remain, & my life as I knew it has gone.

Thanks in advance for any response or advice.


8 Replies

Hi Dieselwales. Sorry to hear that things have been difficult for you. I fractured my foot last summer and, co-incidentally or not, I did have a slight rise in a couple of LFTs after but nothing major, and seems to have settled down again.

You've been through a lot recently, and you're stll recovering. I think, stay calm and give your body a chance to heal from the physical and emotional trauma, and trust that it will. Be kind and patient with yourself, because everyone has their own pace when recovering. Don't anticipate, and try not to worry; just go with the flow and do what your body's telling you each day and you may be surprised how that can help. You may need adjustments to your activity level and social life for a while, but you can re-build both gradually.

Best wishes.


Thanks Skypony, for your kind words.

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Hi Dieselwales

I had an emotional trauma which impacted on my PBC. I am fighting back and feeling better.

I am 66 this year and find that it is more difficult to bounce back although I am quite fit and walk as much as I can when I can. Sometimes though I think we can expect to much of ourselves and this is a time to treat yourself with kindness, give yourself time to recover and then hopefully you will overcome the fatigue. Stress of any kind, as I am sure you know, will shut the body down to give time to overcome what ever has happened having said that I do hope for you that giving yourself time to recover will beat the fatigue. In the meantime pace yourself and do what you can when you can. I have found in the past when I am not able to sleep in bed that getting comfy in the armchair with a footstool for my legs works quite well and I now have one of the V shaped pillows which I often use. I would also echo the thoughts of Skypony

best wishes

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Thanks for the advice & kind thoughts ButterflyEi .


Four years ago I had surgery and the recovery was said to be a couple of weeks, however I noticed it was more like six weeks before I was back to normal.

So I will echo the previous posts stay positive rest and let yourself heal without added worry , stress depletes our energy really quickly you will get there by being kind to yourself.

Take care

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Thanks Candy12, it's encouraging to hear, that other PBC suffererers have experienced the same.


Hi Dieselwales. Yes I am sure stress or trauma can make the fatigue worse. It stands to reason that if you are struggling physically and mentally the best remedy is rest.

Just take it easy and don't over do it. I believe when we force or selves to continue despite being unwell we can cause further damage to our selves and the auto immune disease gets to progress further. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Just my opinion and my experience.



Thanks Wilma 👍


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