Liver Disease Symptoms

Learn all about liver disease  symptoms!

The liver is one of the vital organs of the body and it regulates many biological functions of in the human body.There are number of causes of liver pain some of which are fatal and may cause death if left untreated.In some cases liver pain is associated with malfunctioning of other vital organs as in case of kidney failure.Liver cirrhosis is one of the most common cause of liver pain which is advance stage of liver failure and occurs due to or due to .

Liver pain symptoms
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Liver Pain Symptoms

Liver plays important role in the process of digestion especially fat content digestion.Liver causes detoxification of certain chemicals including drugs circulating in the blood to  make their elimination possible.Because liver has key role in the process of digestion so, it is responsible for breaking down foods into energy as well as getting rid of poisons from  the blood.Liver diseases have multiple types depending upon the underlying cause which may be some viral or bacterial infection or cancer.

 Liver is made up of hepatocytes which are vital components of liver.Any infection or trauma to liver causes injury or damages these hepatocytes which leads to liver damage  and even stops the functioning of the liver.Some important symptoms of liver pain includes pain sensation in right upper quadrant, night sweating in case of liver cancer mild to moderate fever and malabsorption.

Liver pain location and symptoms

Liver pain is often confused with , abdominal pain, or back pain because of their nearby locations.Liver pain feels in the upper just below your rib cage.Liver pain may be felt as an ache that is dull but in some cases there is sharp sensation of pain depending upon the underlying cause of liver disease.In case of liver cirrhosis patient may feel sharp burning sensation in upper right quadrant due to inflammation and swelling of liver.

When to see a doctor

It is necessary to take an appointment from your healthcare provider with if you have persistent symptoms more than a week or month.The underlying cause may be hepatitis if it is associated with memory problems, fainting, extreme fatigue, blood in vomiting, confusion and hallucinations .Look for medical care immediately if you feel pain in shoulder or in upper right quadrant in association with difficult breathing, fatigue, malabsorption itchy skin and pain during coughing.

Causes of Liver Pain

1. Acetaminophen toxicity

Acetaminophen or paracetamol is leading cause of liver damage when administered in high doses.Acetaminophen is a drug also know as paracetamol present number of medicines used for pain.fever and  swelling .Symptoms of liver damage induced by acetaminophen toxicity include liver pain, dark urine, itchy skin, whitening of the eyes, skin yellowing, flu like  symptoms and abdominal tenderness on the upper right side.

2. Alcoholic liver disease

Alcoholism is strongly associated with fatty liver and cirrhosis.Main mechanism by which alcohol damages the liver is production of toxic metabolites during metabolism of alcohol in the liver.These toxic metabolites severely damage the liver hepatocytes that leads to development of advance stage liver failure.. Some major Sign and symptoms of alcoholic liver disease are  confusion, abdominal tenderness and pain, fatigue, excessive thirst, jaundice, fever, nausea, loss of appetite and weight gain.  Other symptoms include agitation, dark black or bloody bowel movement, and development of  breasts in males, paleness, concentration difficulties, hallucinations and sluggish movement among many others. Treatment includes discontinuation of alcohol completely and take medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms of alcohol under supervision of your health care provider.

3. Primary liver cancer

This condition is caused by uncontrolled growth o liver cells due to any viral infection or due to some genetic predispositions.This liver problem is only detectable after it has reached advanced stages.If treatment is initiated during initial phases of liver cancer then there is 70-80% survival rate  but once it becomes mature then it very difficult to treat and survival rate is also less.

Symptoms of primary liver cancer include enlargement of the one or more lobes of liver, weight loss, weakness, appetite loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, upper right abdominal pain  and skin discoloration and white eyes.Treatments of primary liver cancer includes includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy, injection of toxic chemicals and injection of opioids to reduce the sensation of pain.when liver cancer reaches to advance liver failure then it is difficult to treat the condition and liver transplant is only solution left behind.

4. Liver cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis is end stage of liver failure. Symptoms o include abdominal pain, cola-colored urine,exhaustion, easy bruising, bleeding in the intestines  and esophagus, itchy feet and hands, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, nausea, liver cancer, medication sensitivity and liver failure among other signs.Treatment of liver cirrhosis depends upon the underlying cause of disease.There are number of medications that are being used to decrease the progress o disease but once liver cirrhosis gets start it is very difficult to treat this condition with medicines.

5. Liver cysts

This is a thin walled bubble that is filled with fluid. This condition poses no health risks. If they grow without detection, they cause discomfort and pain in the  abdomen’s right upper side, infection of the bile duct and enlargement of the liver.Treatment includes use of nutritional medication to reduce the cysts and in some cases the cysts need to be removed.

6. The fatty liver disease

Some cases of fatty liver do not cause symptoms definite enough to arouse a suspicion of the condition. In other cases chiefly those in which the main cause is overindulgence in alcoholic beverages. Many of the symptoms are similar to those of portal cirrhosis of the liver and they may be due to other causes. Infact, it is probable that factors which would lead to fibrous degeneration of the liver in one person would lead to fatty degeneration in another.Other causes include

  • Medications
  • Autoimmune liver disease
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Malnutrition

7. Liver fibrosis

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver and poor liver function.This is the last stage of alcohol liver disease. is the excessive accumulation of extra cellular matrix proteins including collagen that occurs in most  types of chronic liver diseases.It is characterized by fibroid formation and the formation of fibrous tissues, liver scaring and regenerative  nodules. Consequently, blood circulation is impeded leading to progressive liver disease.Signs include exhaustion, abdominal pain, appetite loss, itchy feet and hands, weight loss, weakness, spider like blood vessels beneath the skin, jaundice, legs and  feet swelling and dark colored urine.

Treatment options for liver fibrosis includes

  • Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking
  • Eat healthy meals, treat infections properly
  • Consume foods low in fat and sodium
  • Treat cases of hepatitis
  • Avoid from recreational drugs
  • Exercise regularly

8. Hepatitis

There are many types of hepatitis including infectious types of hepatitis and non-infectious hepatitis.It is basically inflammation of the liver causing damage to hepatocytes(liver cells). comprises of hepatitis A,B,C,D and E .Out of them hepatitis B and C are leading cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer. Signs include , jaundice,dark urine, fever, diarrhea, general achiness, enlarged liver, malaise, vomiting often as well as mild fever.Treatment of viral hepatitis includes anti-viral drugs like ribazole but treatment should start during initial phases of hepatitis to avoid further complications.

About Dr. Arslan Malik

Dr. Arslan Malik
Arslan Malik is noted health blogger, public health activist, aspiring dreamer and avid reader. With doctor in pharmacy, he has worked closely with various health organizations, multinational pharmaceuticals and community health programs. Beside his professional practice, he has an avid interest in writing and teaching Physiology and Medicines. He covers variety of topics from Nutrition and Natural Care to Diseases, Treatments, Drug Interactions, Preventive Care and Clinical Research.

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