Is Cirrhosis of the Liver Reversible? What You Need to Know
Cirrhosis of the liver occurs when the liver is scarred by certain diseases and conditions. While the liver has an amazing ability to repair itself, it is very rare for cirrhosis to completely reverse. Instead, the best option is to work with one of our gastrointestinal doctors in Raleigh and the surrounding regions. Through these GI doctors, treatment can prevent further, more extensive damage to your liver.
Is Cirrhosis of the Liver Reversible?
As we mentioned earlier, while it can be reversed, this is actually a rare occurrence. The best way to manage cirrhosis is to work closely with a gastrointestinal doctor to stop your liver damage before it progresses.
Your liver is an amazing organ. Every time it is injured, it tries to repair itself, and in some cases, can successfully do so. However, in the process, scar tissue forms. Cirrhosis is the result of excessive scarring that inhibits the liver’s everyday functioning. Advanced cirrhosis is a serious and life-threatening condition.
How is Cirrhosis of the Liver Treated?
Treatment depends upon the extent of your liver damage and what caused it. Severe liver damage may result in hospitalization
However, when cirrhosis is in its earlier stages, there are more treatment options. These include:
Eliminating Alcohol Dependency
Cirrhosis of the liver can be caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or alcohol abuse. In many cases, patients may need to be treated for alcohol addiction in order to begin successful treatment for cirrhosis. If you have any liver damage, even one drink can have a devastating effect on the liver.
Cirrhosis can also be caused by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and losing weight can help alleviate this condition.
Your liver can be damaged by hepatitis B or C, and by taking medications, you can stop further damage to your liver.
What Are the Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the Liver?
One of the facets of cirrhosis that makes it so dangerous is that there are typically no symptoms until extensive liver damage has already occurred. These symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Edema—which is a swelling of the feet, ankles or legs
- Unintentional weight loss
- Jaundice, which is a yellow coloration in the eyes and skin
- Palms that are red
- Slurred speech
In addition, if you’re a woman, you may find that you’ve stopped having your periods (for reasons not related to pregnancy or menopause). For men, they may experience a loss of libido (sex drive) coupled with gynecomastia—the enlargement of breasts.
If There are No Early Warning Symptoms, How Can You Tell if You Have Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Sometimes, the first indication of damage is discovered through a routine blood test. Typically, physicians may order annual wellness blood tests. These tests also examine liver enzymes that could be an indicator of possible liver damage. If you are diagnosed with cirrhosis, further blood tests can help determine the stage of the disease.
What Are the Two Liver Cirrhosis Stages?
There are two liver cirrhosis stages: compensated and
What Is Compensated Cirrhosis?
In compensated cirrhosis, your liver is damaged and scarred but is still able to perform its basic functions. If the cause of the damage is not treated, your liver function can deteriorate.
What Is Decompensated Cirrhosis?
During this phase the liver function has significantly deteriorated, and you will see the symptoms listed above.
What Are the Risk Factors for Cirrhosis?
You are at greater risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver if:
- You use alcohol excessively
- You are overweight or obese—this can contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- You’ve had viral hepatitis
Raleigh Medical Group Gastroenterology’s GI Doctors Have the Answers You Need About Cirrhosis of the Liver
As gastrointestinal doctors, we have a comprehensive understanding of how your complete digestive system works. We realize that any problem with one area can dramatically affect the others, and that’s why we’ve dedicated decades of service to your care, making us the provider of choice for the region.
We have several primary office locations to serve you throughout the following counties: Wake, Johnston, Wilson and Vance.
In addition to our honor as being recognized as a Center of Excellence in several areas of expertise, we also focus on comprehensive treatment that is both compassionate and state-of-the-art.
We would welcome the opportunity to care for you. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.