An enlarged liver occurs when the liver swells beyond its normal size. A medical term for an enlarged liver is hepatomegaly. An enlarged liver is typically a sign of an underlying problem. There are many possible causes of an enlarged liver, including hepatitis.
Depending on the cause, liver enlargement can sometimes lead to liver failure. This occurs when a large part of the liver becomes damaged and is deteriorating.
Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can trigger autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) in a minority of patients. This means that the liver cells are damaged not only by the virus but also by the body's own immune system.
AIH triggers the body to attack its liver cells as if the liver cells were harmful foreign substances. Patients with a combination of HCV and autoimmune hepatitis may suffer from more debilitating symptoms than patients with HCV alone. Autoimmune hepatitis is associated with other...
Located on the right side of the abdomen, the liver is a vital organ. For example, it helps with ridding the body of toxins and producing substances that aid in body processes such as clotting. If you have an enlarged liver, it is important to find the source of the problem and receive appropriate treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of an Enlarged Liver
In most cases, a slightly enlarged liver causes no symptoms. However, if your liver becomes severely enlarged, you may have:
Hepatic vein thrombosis, a blockage of veins in the liver
Veno-occlusive disease, a blockage of small veins in the liver
Treatment for an Enlarged Liver
Without treatment, liver enlargement can lead to liver failure. If you have an enlarged liver, your doctor will confirm what's causing it and take steps to treat it. Treatment for an enlarged liver depends upon the cause. For example, if drinking too much alcohol is the source of the problem, it is essential to stop so the liver does not become severely damaged. Your doctor may tell you to avoid all alcohol no matter what is causing your liver to be enlarged. Or, if you have an underlying disease, medication or other types of treatment may help.