Alcohol and Cirrhosis of the liver
Alcohol abuse is one of the most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver, a condition which can lead to liver failure.
What is cirrhosis of the liver?
Cirrhosis of the liver is when normally healthy tissues of the liver are gradually replaced by scarred tissues. Instead of your liver having smooth tissues, it becomes lumpy and hard. This damaged tissue can eventually prevent the liver from working properly.
What are the symptoms of alcohol induced cirrhosis?
Most people with the early stages of liver cirrhosis will probably be unaware of any symptoms and could spend up to 20 years not realising they have the condition.
However as the condition progresses, symptoms could include:
- Abdominal pains
- Nausea and Vomiting
More serious symptoms include:
- Internal bleeding of the gut
- Bruising easily
- Very itchy skin
- Liver cancer
- Swelling of the legs, ankles or abdomen
- Vomiting blood
- Loss of appetite
- Increased sensitivity to alcohol and drugs
How much alcohol causes cirrhosis?
Drinking heavily on a regular basis almost always causes some kind of liver damage. How much and how long you drink for will affect the extent of damage with your chances of developing cirrhosis increasing as your drinking is prolonged and increased.
Can cirrhosis be reversed if you stop drinking alcohol?
The sooner you reduce your alcohol intake the more chances you will have of reversing the damage caused by cirrhosis. Even if you have developed more severe symptoms, stopping drinking can still have a beneficial effect.
What is the treatment for alcohol related cirrhosis?
The best treatment for cirrhosis of the liver which has been caused by alcohol is to stop drinking. Making healthy lifestyle choices such as losing weight, a good diet and plenty of exercise can also help to relieve the symptoms. For really severe cases, you will not be considered for a liver transplant unless you have been alcohol free for at least 3 months.