If your doctor tells you that you've got an enlarged liver, it means it's swollen beyond its normal size. There's usually another condition that's causing it, such as hepatitis. You have a lot of treatment choices, but you first need to find out the source of the problem.
Getting treated is important. Your liver has a lot of big jobs to do. Just to name a few key ones, it helps clean your blood by getting rid of harmful chemicals that your body makes. It makes a liquid called bile, which helps you break down fat from food. And it also stores sugar, called glucose, which gives you a quick back-up energy boost when you need it.
It's possible you might have hepatitis and not realize it at first. Sometimes there aren't any symptoms. Or you might not get the right diagnosis because the disease shares some of the same signs as the flu.
The most common symptoms of hepatitis are things like:
Loss of appetite
Muscle or joint aches
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in your belly
Some people have other issues, such as:
There are other ways your doctor can look for the cause of your enlarged liver. He may use an ERCP, a scope that checks for problems in the ducts (tubes) that carry bile. An MRCP, a special type of MRI, also helps spot that kind of trouble. And he may want to take a small sample of liver cells to check for cancer or a condition called fatty liver.
Your enlarged liver might be due to one of these causes: