Did you know that the liver is capable of repairing its own damaged tissues? This means that, in some cases, liver damage is reversible. However, liver conditions exist that can cause permanent damage, so it is critical that liver damage symptoms are identified and treated as quickly as possible. At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, we understand the value of early diagnosis when it comes to the liver and other digestive health issues. The following list provides you with common liver damage symptoms to watch out for.
Decreased Appetite – Early-stage liver damage often causes nausea, weight loss, disinterest in food or a combination of the three. Furthermore, the first stage of hepatitis can bring on flu-like symptoms such as an upset stomach.
Be proactive and visit a doctor if you notice significant changes in your appetite or digestive health in general.
Abdominal Pain – Cirrhosis-induced pain usually presents itself in the upper right abdomen, just below the right ribs. The pain may be throbbing or stabbing, and it can come and go. If you experience this type of pain regularly, or if the intensity of it prevents you from functioning normally, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Abdominal Swelling – This can sometimes point to a liver condition called ascites, in which a protein imbalance leads to fluid buildup. Swelling due to ascites is termed “potbelly” and commonly signals cirrhosis. In some cases, gravity pulls this fluid into other parts of the body, so swelling in the hands and feet may also occur.
Persistent Vomiting– As your liver becomes less and less capable of filtering toxins out of your body, your digestive issues will likely become more intense. This means that the nausea or loss of appetite you experience in early stages of liver distress can escalate to repeated unexplained vomiting. If you experience this symptom, it may be a sign that your liver damage is progressing, so seek medical care as soon as you can.
When your liver is damaged, it does not produce an adequate amount of clotting proteins, so you may bruise and bleed more easily than usual. A number of conditions can lead to excess bruising, so be sure to check with your doctor if you notice this symptom.
Lethargy – Sometimes, the stress of life can cause you to feel weak or tired, but it is important to pay attention to severe or prolonged exhaustion, as this could be a sign of low blood oxygen levels or waste accumulation due to reduced liver functions.
Jaundice – This is perhaps one of the most well-known and equally startling symptoms of liver damage. If you notice a yellowing of your skin or eyes, or changes in the color of your urine or stool, visit your GI doctor or another medical professional as soon as possible.
Mood or Personality Changes – The accumulation of toxins in your body due to ineffective liver function can infiltrate your blood and travel to your brain. At first, you may experience confusion or concentration issues, but these can progress to changes in sleeping patterns, forgetfulness and even unresponsiveness. Promptly consult with a doctor if you begin to notice these issues.