To understand how to stop liver pain, we must understand all the details.
What is Liver Pain?
As the liver has no pain receptors, it feels like abdominal pain. Pain in the back or shoulders may also be an indicator of liver issues. Liver pain does not originate in a specific area.
Your liver is located on the right side of your abdomen, just above your stomach. Discomfort in the liver may occur due to inflammation or tissue damage.
People with cirrhosis complain of a light throbbing pain in the abdomen. Such throbbing may also occur in the back, shoulders, and large joints.
Functions of The Liver:
The liver support undertakes the task of ridding your body of harmful toxins and it maintains metabolism.
The liver is responsible for the production of bile which is an important digestive fluid. Along with these major functions, the liver stores and manages:
- Platelets that help in forming clots
- Substances and proteins that assist immune function
- Fat-soluble vitamins.
- Excess blood sugar is transformed into glycogen.
What Causes Liver Pain?
Liver pain can be an indicator of problems with the organ itself or in other body parts. The following may be possible and common reasons for liver pain:
- Consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly.
- Liver inflammation or hepatitis.
- Non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease.
- Liver cirrhosis.
- Reye’s syndrome.
- Too much buildup of iron.
- Liver cancer.
- Budd-Chiari syndrome.
- Wilson’s disease.
- Liver injury or trauma.
- Liver abscess.
- Portal vein thrombosis
- Liver cysts.
What are The Symptoms of Liver Issues?
Pain may not be the sole symptom you may experience if your liver is facing issues.
Following is a short list of other symptoms of liver disease:
- Loss of appetite
- Change in the color of stools and urine.
- Itchy skin.
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes.
- Swollen ankles or legs.
How to Stop Liver Pain?
The liver pain that is caused by factors such as alcohol consumption or diet can be solved at home using the best liver-supporting remedies. You can treat non-fatal liver pain using the following techniques:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do not consume more alcohol.
- You may want to try drinking tea or coffee.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter medications before taking professional advice.
- Herbal remedies may not be the best option to go for.
- Stay far away from fatty foods.
- Take the pressure off of your liver by maintaining good posture.
- Consume an apt amount of protein.
- Control your cholesterol levels.
- Engage regularly in an exercise regime.
If the liver issues persist even after undertaking the above-mentioned steps, it is best to consult your doctor. The doctors may treat your issue using a combination of diet changes, exercise plans, and medications.
Potential Causes of Liver Disease
There are different types of liver disease and they may be caused by different factors. Following is a list of some causes of liver disease:
Viral infections: Hepatitis, A, B, and C affect your body due to viruses.
Immunity problems: Your immune system may attack your liver unknowingly. This can lead to what is known as autoimmune diseases. Primary biliary cholangitis and autoimmune hepatitis are some conditions that may affect you.
Inherited diseases: Some liver issues occur due to inheritance from your parents. They are genetic. Common issues inherited by children are Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis.
Cancer: When the cells in your liver multiply at an abnormally fast pace, tumors may develop. These tumors can be harmful or non-threatening. In any case, they require medical attention.
- Consuming toxins: Alcohol use results in a condition called Alcohol-related fatty liver disease. Consuming too much fat over a prolonged period may result in non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease. With the rise in obesity and diabetes, there is a consequent rise in NAFLD.
How is Liver Disease Diagnosed?
There are certain common techniques to diagnose liver disease. Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these tests:
Blood tests: A test can be administered to measure the level of liver enzymes. International normalized ratio is a test to check blood clotting. Abnormal levels in either test may be indicators of problems.
Imaging tests: You may have to get an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan. These may help identify signs of damage, scarring, or the presence of tumors. A Fibroscan is a type of ultrasound that helps identify if your liver has undergone scarring or if there is fat deposition in the liver.
- Liver biopsy: A tiny part of your liver may be removed and sent for examination to understand if you have liver disease.
It is crucial to note that your healthcare provider may diagnose using other techniques. Follow carefully the advice of your doctor.
How to Reduce The Risk of Developing Liver Disease?
Liver disease may occur due to lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption and eating processed foods.
Following are steps you can take to avoid liver issues:
- Avoid consuming too many medications.
- Avoid drinking heavy doses of alcohol.
- Do not share needles with anyone.
- Be cautious when using chemicals and pesticides.
- Exercise regularly.
- Consume a healthy and nutritious diet.
- When you get tattoos and piercings, ensure that the place is clean and that clean tools are used.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis.
When Should You Visit a Doctor?
If you are experiencing symptoms like diarrhea, uncontrollable bleeding, coughing up blood, experiencing discomfort in the right side of the abdomen, a swollen belly, or experience confusion; you should get immediate help.
These may be symptoms of acute liver failure and therefore require immediate treatment.
Are There Specific Questions That You Can Ask Your Doctor?
Following are some sample questions that can help you prepare before a doctor’s visit:
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to improve my liver health?
- Are there any early signs of liver damage that I should be on the lookout for?
- Which medications should I avoid to prevent damage to the liver?
- Should my family undertake genetic testing if I am facing an inherited liver issue?
- In the future, will I need a liver transplant?
If liver disease is diagnosed early, it is manageable. When left untreated, liver problems will only get irreversibly worse. The best you can do is get regular checkups.
Liver pain can be difficult to identify and liver problems may cause pain in areas other than the liver. If caused by small, temporary factors, liver pain can be managed at home.