liver Cirrhosis with GastroMed Connect

What is liver cirrhosis?

Your liver is a bodily organ that performs several essential functions necessary for health, such as filtering harmful toxins from the blood and metabolizing fat. Cirrhosis of the liver, additionally called hepatic cirrhosis, is a disorder that develops when the liver is inflamed and scarred from issues like late-stage liver disease and chronic alcohol abuse. As further scar tissue forms, the ability of the liver to function properly continually diminishes. The various levels of severity surrounding liver cirrhosis are broken down into four separate stages.

Stage 1: Some scarring of the liver but there are not many symptoms and no complications have occurred.

Stage 2: Additional symptoms develop, such as enlarged and swollen veins and hypertension involving the portal vein around the liver (portal hypertension).

Stage 3: Symptoms in this stage include advanced scarring of liver tissue and abdominal swelling, along with serious complications and the potential for liver failure.

Stage 4: This stage can be deadly without a liver transplant.

At GastroMed Connect, our gastroenterology team can diagnose, address, and help patients manage liver problems. To find help for liver cirrhosis in Kyle, TX, please request an appointment with a member of our team today.

What are the causes of liver cirrhosis?

There are several reasons why a liver can become scarred, which can result in cirrhosis. Some of the causes include:

  • Infection
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Sugar metabolism disorders
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications
  • Viral liver infections (hepatitis B & C)
  • Iron buildup in the body
  • Damage to the bile ducts
  • Abnormal formation of bile ducts
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Liver disease caused by autoimmune hepatitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Genetic digestive conditions

In the event that you begin to experience issues with your liver and need help, connect with the GI providers at GastroMed Connect. Our knowledge and expertise can lead you in the right direction for reliable care.

What are the signs of liver cirrhosis?

The first stages of liver cirrhosis may not carry any symptoms. However, a few of the first indicators that you may feel could include exhaustion, weakness, and lack of appetite. When the condition progresses, some of the signs and symptoms might include:

  • Spider web-like veins
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools
  • Nausea or queasiness
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Jaundice
  • Red palms
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Brownish urine
  • Unexpected weight loss or gain
  • Bruise or bleed easily
  • Cramping of muscles

What are the treatment options for liver cirrhosis?

Scarring and damage to the liver cannot be reversed; however, it can often still function even in the event that two-thirds of the organ has been damaged or removed. Listed below are a number of the treatment options our GastroMed Connect team may recommend to increase the liver’s ability to function:

  • Antiviral medications for hepatitis B and C
  • Immunization for hepatitis A and B
  • Prevention of additional damage to the liver
  • Managing the individual concerns surrounding your condition
  • Undergo a liver transplant
  • Avoid taking specific medications (naproxen, ibuprofen, etc.)

Are there any complications of liver cirrhosis?

A patient’s liver carries out an extremely important role in the body, and any amount of damage caused to the liver will negatively affect its ability to work normally. Possible complications related to cirrhosis of the liver include:

  • Bacterial peritonitis (inflammation of the abdomen wall)
  • Cancer of the liver
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (a buildup of toxins in the blood leading to brain damage)
  • Hypersplenism (overactive splenic function)