An inflamed liver has become enlarged beyond the size of a normal organ of its type. It is typically a sign of a more serious health condition. Illnesses or diseases that lead to an inflamed liver could also produce other symptoms.
Symptoms of an inflamed liver can include:
- Feelings of fatigue
- Jaundice (a condition that causes your skin and the whites of your eyes to turn yellow)
- Feeling full quickly after a meal
- Pain in the abdomen
You can develop an inflamed liver because of excessive consumption of alcohol. The liver can also become swollen from processing too many other toxins, such as excess amounts of acetaminophen or other supplements and medications.
Below is a rundown of some of the illnesses and diseases that can cause an inflamed liver:
Cirrhosis is the formation of scar tissue on the liver because of alcoholism or hepatitis. An inflamed liver is one of the side effects of cirrhosis. The scar tissue makes it difficult for the liver to function normally. This illness can be life-threatening when it reaches an advanced stage. It’s difficult to undo the damage from cirrhosis, however, seeking help from a medical doctor may be able to limit further damage to the liver.
Amyloidosis is a rare disorder of the liver caused by the buildup of an abnormal protein called amyloid. It prevents the liver from performing its normal functions. These aren’t commonly found in the body, but can form from a combination of other types of protein. Symptoms of this disease include the presence of an inflamed liver.
Around five percent of the population have liver cysts, and only five percent of people in that group have symptoms like an inflamed liver. These cysts are fluid-filled structures with thin walls. Signs that you may have liver cysts include pain, discomfort, and feelings of fullness in the abdomen. The cysts can start bleeding, leading to severe pains in the shoulder and upper body. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove them.
Alcoholic or Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease occurs when the organ begins storing excess amounts of fat. While most people exhibit no symptoms, others may experience an inflamed liver as a side effect. You may also end up with fibrosis, where scar tissue forms around areas of damage on the liver and interferes with its functioning. Alcoholic fatty liver disease can result from heavy drinking, while nonalcoholic fatty liver disease may occur in those who drink little to none.
Remedies and Treatments for Inflamed Liver
Inflamed liver treatment depends on the root cause of the issue. A medical doctor typically decides on the appropriate remedies for an inflamed liver depending on their final diagnosis. They usually perform a physical examination where they feel your abdomen to get a sense of your liver’s size, texture, and shape. Other tests and procedures a doctor may perform to figure out what is causing your inflamed liver can include:
- Blood Tests — A doctor may order blood tests to determine your current enzyme level. They may also check for any viruses present that could be causing the inflamed liver.
- Imaging — Tests like a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound allow physicians to get a better view of the liver.
- Magnetic Resonance Elastography — This is a noninvasive test which uses soundwaves to form a visual map that shows the current stiffness of the liver. It’s often done as an alternative to a liver biopsy.
- Liver Biopsy — Your doctor may perform a liver biopsy to get a sample of your liver tissue to send out for lab testing. The procedure involves inserting a long, thin needle into your liver through the skin.
Once your doctor understands what is causing your inflamed liver, they can figure out how to treat both it and the disorder that’s causing the issue. For example, amyloidosis is often treated with chemotherapy, heart medication, or targeted therapy drugs like Onpattro and Tegsedi.
A condition like fatty liver may be treated through lifestyle changes that include losing weight, cutting back on alcohol, and taking vitamin E. Surgery may be recommended to remove benign cysts on the liver. Because remedies for an inflamed liver can vary so much, you should see a doctor if you find yourself experiencing inflamed liver symptoms.
When to See a Doctor
When you begin experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms associated with an inflamed liver, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A healthcare professional can help you determine what the root cause(s) of your symptoms may be and can recommend the proper treatments for you to undergo.