Why does my liver hurt? A general question comes to mind whenever anyone feels any kind of uneasiness or liver pain. It could have been triggered due to many reasons but one thing is for sure: we should never avoid such kind of liver pain.
It can be an indication of any kind of liver disease that can even result in liver failure and can prove fatal. Now let us study some of the cases in which normal liver function can be affected.
Diseases of the liver include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, while some might have alcoholic liver-related issues. The nonalcoholic liver disease requires medical treatment which may ultimately need a liver transplant meanwhile alcoholic related liver issues to require an urgent need to stop the consumption of alcohol in addition to medication.
Liver problems are one of the many rising problems that are becoming a global concern. American liver foundation is one of the organizations that facilitate, advocates, educates, and provide treatment for all kind of liver problems.
If there is any kind of problem in the functioning of the liver, then it could also result in some serious kidney disease as the blood which passes through the liver goes directly to the kidney.
There are three main body parts in our body that play a key role in our digestive system. These body parts are the small intestine, liver, and bile duct. The Bile duct is the one component of our body that connects the liver and the small intestine and thus, if any of them does not function properly, it could seriously affect our entire digestive system.
Causes of Liver Pain
Liver pain could have been caused due to the below-mentioned reasons:
- Liver Injury
- Liver Cancer
- Liver Cysts
- Reye’s Syndrome
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Wilson’s disease
- Liver abscess
- Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome
- An irregular diet that includes too much iron and abnormal protein levels (as the liver stores iron)
Why Does My Liver Hurt? Treatment Options
Most of the time liver pain requires a medical diagnosis to detect any liver diseases and could be cured by following a doctor’s advice, maintaining a healthy diet, and taking preventative measures for many liver diseases. Although, a chronic liver disease often requires medical treatment and a liver transplant in case of end-stage liver disease.
Liver pain often ends on its own and needs no special treatment because of the body’s immune response without the need to inject drugs. Pain receptors are the primary kind of neurons that signal the brain about the abnormality in a specific region and tell the brain through the sensation of pain.
Some of the early symptoms of liver disease that have been noticed in various patients are as follows:
- Itchy skin
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- General abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling and Abdominal pain especially in the upper right portion
- Weight loss
- Sudden Pain
Other symptoms may be as follows:
- Vomiting blood
- Yellowing of skin and whitening of eyes
- Swollen legs
- Bleeding easily
- Severe pain
- Spider-like blood vessels also appear in the legs
The following symptoms are the major signs of underlying liver damage. If the majority of these symptoms are noticed, there is a serious need of consulting a Physician immediately.
Causes and Risk Factors for Liver Disease
Major causes and risk factors for developing liver problems are as follows:
1. Alcohol Consumption:
Alcohol-related liver diseases are very common in the world. People who drink alcohol are more prone to developing liver disease as drinking too much alcohol can damage their healthy liver tissue and could result in acute liver failure.
2. Hepatitis Diseases:
Diseases like hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, hepatitis b, and hepatitis c could often increase the risk of developing a liver disease such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
These kinds of diseases mainly happen because of the hepatitis virus which directly attacks the immune system of the body.
Many people avoid taking an assessment to check if they are overweight or underweight due to their busy professional work lives. Some people might consider being overweight as a sign of a healthy body, but if some serious symptoms are missed, it could mean the difference between a healthy weight and being overweight which could lead to liver disease.
4. Liver Cancer
It mainly occurs because of the genetic traits in their genes. But the chances of having liver cancer could increase because of alcoholic habits which affect the normal functioning liver cells and turn them into damaged liver.
The treatment for this requires regular medication as prescribed by the doctor and chemotherapy. In the later stages, it may require medical surgery or it may prove to be life-threatening.
Some of the symptoms include severe weight loss, Itchy skin, feeling tired and generally having flu-like symptoms.
5. Reye’s Syndrome
Reye’s syndrome is a kind of rare genetic disease that affects the brain and the liver. It mainly comes about during the time of recovery from any kind of viral infection such as hepatitis b or viral flu.
This syndrome mainly affects the brain and forms blood clots; while if it affects the liver, it disturbs the blood flow resulting in liver pain.
6. Wilson Syndrome
Normally our body works in such a way that it eliminates all kinds of useless products like toxic substances, harmful chemicals, and other waste from the body. One such product is Copper which needs to be eliminated after consumption by the body.
But in this syndrome body does not, or is unable to remove the copper present inside the body properly. This may result in liver failure. Some of the common symptoms of this disease include fatigue, excess fluid buildup, and golden-brown eye discoloration.
If the level of fluids in the body goes unmaintained it will cause serious problems in the digestive system.
Treatment of this disease involves consultation with the doctor and regular medication at consistent times to maintain proper body fluid levels and keep severeness in control.
7. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is an umbrella term that is used for liver diseases that are mainly developed in people who drink little to no alcohol.
Now let us understand the basic cause of such disease. This kind of liver disease mainly occurs due to an excess amount of fat stored in the liver cells which causes fatigue and pain in the abdominal region.
Such liver issues if remained unchecked can cause serious damage to the liver and cause many liver problems. Fatty liver disease is very common in hepatitis c patients.
Treatment of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease involves maintaining healthy eating habits, regularly exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.
8. Liver Cysts
Cysts are described as a noncancerous elevation formed inside the body. Sometimes these elevations form over the liver which is commonly known as Liver cysts. These cysts mainly generate due to some growing liver disease foreshadowing it.
Common symptoms of liver cysts include liver pain and discomfort in the upper right body.
Treatment of Liver Cysts requires proper medications from the doctor for any kind of underlying problem and in extreme cases, it requires surgically removing that portion of the liver that consists of cysts. As the liver is a self-generative organ, it will not cause any problems in the future.
9. Irregular diet
One of the main functions of the liver is to store iron present in the blood. If the amount of iron in the blood is too much then it could often fail the liver. Also, nowadays many gym trainers recommend a high amount of protein in the diet to increase muscle growth but if kept unchecked it could result in some serious liver-related issues.
In this article, we will focus on cirrhosis as it is one of the most common problems that is found in every liver patient.
Cirrhosis is the final stage of alcohol-related liver disease and requires an immediate medication diagnosis to avoid health damage.
10.1. Who Gets Cirrhosis, and Who is Most at Risk?
People who drink too much alcohol, are overweight, or have viral hepatitis are at greater risk of getting cirrhosis. There is a second kind of cirrhosis named decompensated cirrhosis which is an acute condition that shows symptoms like jaundice, ascites, etc.
However, any condition that can harm the liver can over time lead to cirrhosis. If kept untreated it may result in chronic liver failure.
10.2. Is Cirrhosis a Hereditary Disease?
Some researches on cirrhosis suggest that it is not a hereditary disease but can be generated due to some of the liver diseases which can be inherited such as liver cancer and other genetic problems.
10.3. Is Cirrhosis Cancer?
No, Cirrhosis is not a form of cancer but it can put you at increased risk of developing liver cancer. Other diseases like Hepatitis b and c can also play a role in damaging the liver by preventing the immune system attacks to eliminate the virus and putting it in the risk zone of developing cancer which could be life-threatening.
To fight such conditions our liver goes into autoimmune hepatitis in which there is a kind of swelling in the liver as a response to fight such viruses present inside the body.
10.4. How Can I Prevent Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Cirrhosis can be prevented by following the below-mentioned measures:
- Eating a balanced diet and lifestyle changes.
- Regular Physical examination
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Regular blood tests to check for any underlying disease.
- Avoid eating fatty foods and maintain a healthy weight.
10.5. What are the Complications of Cirrhosis?
Following are the major complications of cirrhosis that could probably affect liver function:
- High blood pressure: In this condition, cirrhosis slows down the flow of blood in the portal vein, resulting in increased pressure in it to bring the blood into the liver. This condition is known as portal hypertension
- Infections: if someone is suffering from cirrhosis, there is a high chance that the body may have developed some kind of bacterial infection which can show symptoms like liver pain and other liver problems.
10.6. What are the Goals of Cirrhosis Treatment?
The basic goal of cirrhosis treatment is to slow the growth of scar tissue in the liver and prevent any kind of serious liver damage.
10.7. How is Cirrhosis of the Liver Treated?
The main treatment to cure cirrhosis of the liver is to cut the salt from the diet and take medication such as furosemide.
Also always keep in touch with your doctor. Avoid any kind of self-medication as it could unknowingly lead to serious health side effects. Medications should always be followed as prescribed by your doctor.
Get Help with the Best Gastroenterologist Today!
In the case of liver pain, stop asking yourself “why does my liver hurt?” and immediately consult the nearest gastroenterologist as soon as possible to avoid any kind of serious liver damage.
Some regular tips related to the wellness of the liver are as follows:
- Maintain a healthy food habit
- Regularly exercise
- Avoid junk foods
- Eat fresh vegetables and fruits
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