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Cirrhosis

Also called: Hepatic fibrosis

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. Scar tissue forms because of injury or long-term disease. Scar tissue cannot do what healthy liver tissue does - make protein, help fight infections, clean the blood, help digest food and store energy. Cirrhosis can lead to

  • Easy bruising or bleeding, or nosebleeds
  • Swelling of the abdomen or legs
  • Extra sensitivity to medicines
  • High blood pressure in the vein entering the liver
  • Enlarged veins called varices in the esophagus and stomach. Varices can bleed suddenly.
  • Kidney failure
  • Jaundice
  • Severe itching
  • Gallstones

A small number of people with cirrhosis get liver cancer.

Your doctor will diagnose cirrhosis with blood tests, imaging tests, or a biopsy.

Cirrhosis has many causes. In the United States, the most common causes are chronic alcoholism and hepatitis. Nothing will make the scar tissue disappear, but treating the cause can keep it from getting worse. If too much scar tissue forms, you may need to consider a liver transplant.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Cirrhosis

The following features are indicative of Cirrhosis:
  • fatigue
  • bleeding easily
  • bruising easily
  • itchy skin
  • jaundice
  • fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • swelling in the legs
  • weight loss
  • confusion
  • redness in the palms of the hands
  • breast enlargement in men

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Common Causes of Cirrhosis

The following are the most common causes of Cirrhosis:
  • chronic alcohol abuse
  • chronic viral hepatitis
  • fat accumulation in the liver

Other Causes of Cirrhosis

The following are the less common causes of Cirrhosis:
  • iron buildup in the body
  • cystic fibrosis
  • copper accumulated in the liver
  • poorly formed bile ducts
  • Alagille syndrome
  • destruction of the bile ducts
  • schistosomiasis

Risk Factors for Cirrhosis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cirrhosis:
  • bacterial infection
  • fungal infection
  • parasitic infection
  • smoking
  • environmental toxins

Prevention of Cirrhosis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Cirrhosis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • do not drink alcohol
  • eat a healthy diet
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • do not share needles
  • do not have unprotected sex which can increase the risk of hepatitis
  • ask the doctor for hepatitis vaccinations

Occurrence of Cirrhosis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cirrhosis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Cirrhosis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Cirrhosis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cirrhosis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cirrhosis:
  • Liver function: To check the excess bilirubin
  • Kidney function: To check the creatinine
  • Clotting: To check the ability to clot

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cirrhosis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cirrhosis:
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Hepatologist

Complications of Cirrhosis if untreated

Yes, Cirrhosis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cirrhosis is left untreated:
  • portal hypertension
  • swelling in the legs and abdomen
  • enlargement of the spleen
  • malnutrition
  • buildup of toxins in the brain
  • jaundice
  • bone disease

Procedures for Treatment of Cirrhosis

The following procedures are used to treat Cirrhosis:
  • Liver transplantation: To replace liver with a healthy liver

Self-care for Cirrhosis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cirrhosis:
  • Don't drink alcohol: Helps preventing further kidney damage
  • Eat a low-sodium diet: Helps limiting additional liver damage
  • Eat a healthy diet: Helps limiting additional liver damage

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Cirrhosis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Cirrhosis:
  • Consume milk thistle herb supplement: Helps in treating cirrhosis
  • Use licorice root, schisandra and astragalus herb supplements: Helps in treating liver diseases

Patient Support for Treatment of Cirrhosis

The following actions may help Cirrhosis patients:
  • Join Support groups: Helps avoiding drinking alcohol

Time for Treatment of Cirrhosis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Cirrhosis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 6 months - 1 year

Is Cirrhosis Infectious?

Yes, Cirrhosis is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • contact with infected blood
  • sexual contact
  • infected mother to her newborn

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Cirrhosis.
Gallbladder Diseases
Liver Cancer
Liver Diseases
Liver Transplantation

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