Discomfort and pain in the liver: symptoms and causes

Discomfort in the liver

He liver is probably one of the most important organs of our body, probably because of the large number of functions carried out each day, which allows us -in general- to enjoy good health if we do not suffer any kind of illness or disorder, and if we follow a lifestyle as healthy as possible.

Among these most important basic functions we can mention the storage of fats and the production of cholesterol, bile secretion, synthesis of fatty acids and glycogen, production of blood plasma proteins or the processing of alcoholic beverages and some drugs for their subsequent elimination through urine. That is to say, is responsible for certain essential functions of our metabolism .

As you probably know, it has a reddish brown color, a more or less triangular shape, can weigh up to half a kilo and stands out as the largest glandular organ. We found it located on the right side of the abdominal cavity, specifically just below the diaphragm, near the stomach.

Can the liver hurt?

When we have the sick liver , either by certain disorders that directly affect this body or by the abusive use of substances that are toxic to it (such as, for example, alcohol and medications) it is very common to feel discomfort in the abdomen area where the liver is precisely located.

Unlike what is mistakenly thought, the truth is that the liver can hurt , especially if there are certain diseases or disorders that are affecting it. For example, the liver can be found inflamed and enlarged in size, either by excessive storage of fat (a medical condition known by the name of fatty liver ) or by following certain habits (such as excessive drinking, overweight or daily use of medications).

Liver pain

symptom

Although it is not usual to talk about discomfort in the liver , the truth is that it is not appropriate or prudent to ignore all those discomforts and signs related to this organ, since in short they can be an indication of the possible existence of liver damage (actually by a wide variety of causes).

In many cases it tends to be confused with other types of discomfort in the abdomen, leading to confusion. However, when it appears there is often a tendency to experience as a dull discomfort that is located in the area located in the upper right abdomen , specifically under the ribs. Usually, this discomfort is usually constant.

We must bear in mind that sometimes may be accompanied by abdominal discomfort or back pain . Therefore, it is usually very common for liver pain to be confused with the Kidneys pain , with back or abdominal pain, since the liver is located in that area. Hence, we should always look at its location: the pain in the liver tends to start in the right part of the abdomen or the back, under the ribs .

Other related symptoms

When the liver is ill, it is often common that other related symptoms also occur or appear. For example, skin and eyes may turn yellow, urine may be dark and pale stools, skin rashes and itching may appear, and flu-like discomfort may also be felt.

It is also common that there is a loss of appetite and weight, as well as being accompanied by fatigue.

liver

What are the causes of liver pain?

There are different reasons that may cause its appearance. In fact, the reasons are actually very diverse. Here we summarize the most common:

  • Inflammation and enlargement of the liver : medically known by the name of hepatomegaly , consists of the enlargement of the liver beyond its normal size, so that its edges tend to exceed its limits and cause pain. It can be caused in turn by alcohol consumption, excessive presence of fat in the liver, hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, leukemia, sarcoidosis or Reye's syndrome.
  • Hepatitis : either hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, consists of an inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection. This infection may remit spontaneously or progress to fibrosis, cirrhosis or cancer. For example, in the case of hepatitis A and E are usually caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water, while hepatitis B, C and D are produced by their transmission with contaminated blood products or blood transfusions.
  • Cirrhosis : consists of scarring and poor functioning of the liver, characterized by being the last phase of chronic liver disease.
  • Cancer: Liver cancer tends to be a common cause, although usually these discomforts are felt when the cancer is very advanced. For this reason, it tends to be a type of cancer that is difficult to diagnose in the early stages. However, other symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), dizziness and loss of appetite may arise.
  • Hemochromatosis : It is a genetic disease that causes the accumulation of toxic substances in certain organs of the body. In the case of hemochromatosis causes the accumulation of iron in the liver.
  • Consumption of alcohol: There is no greater enemy for our liver (and for health in general) than alcohol consumption, even if it is punctual in time. It is a toxic shown for this organ, which may cause the appearance of alcoholic hepatitis , caused by the ingestion of large amounts of alcoholic beverages.

What can we do to alleviate it?

If pain appears in the liver, the cause that is causing these discomforts should be investigated. If the cause has been identified, therefore, the treatment will depend on it.

For example, in alcoholic hepatitis the key is to completely eliminate the consumption of alcohol, waiting for the liver cells to start regenerating little by little. If the cause is viral hepatitis, you should follow medical treatment based on drugs such as Adefovir, Interferon or Lamivudine for 6 to 11 months.

If the cause is due to hereditary hemochromatosis, the medical treatment of choice is to remove excess iron from the blood, and avoid certain foods with large amounts of iron, such as red meat, green beans and spinach.

An effective natural remedy when caring for and protecting the liver cells is the infusion of milk thistle . It has been shown to be a very useful medicinal plant when it comes to protecting and regenerating liver cells. One way to enjoy its benefits is to make an infusion by putting a cup of water to boil and adding a spoonful of milk thistle. When it begins to boil, turn off the heat, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Finally sneak and drink.

How can we prevent it?

By adopting a series of basic care it is possible to prevent and avoid liver pain. Take note:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol, or take it in moderation . As many nutritionists have already stated, such as, for example, the case of Julio Basulto , there is no amount of alcohol suitable for health, being always harmful. Therefore, the key is to reduce it to the maximum or avoid it.
  • Get vaccinated . There are useful vaccines for the prevention of the most common hepatitis viruses, such as the hepatitis A and B vaccine.
  • Avoid risky behavior . Hepatitis C - and other sexually transmitted diseases - are easily spread. Therefore, avoid practicing unprotected sex, sharing syringes and other utensils in contact with blood.
  • Beware of medication use . Some can be quite toxic to the liver. Therefore, consume them with caution and always under the supervision of your doctor.

Images | ISTOCKPHOTO / THINKSTOCK

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