What is cirrhosis: causes, symptoms, treatment

Some diseases of the liver, most commonly complications caused by hepatitis and alcoholism. When the liver is damaged, the liver begins to repair spontaneously. Cirrhosis is diagnosed when tissue scarring occurs repeatedly.

What Causes Cirrhosis?

There are several causes of cirrhosis.It is caused by various types of liver-related diseases, such as alcohol-related liver diseases and viruses. hepatitis B and C.

Here are some common causes:

  • Liver disease due to overdose of alcohol
  • NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
  • Chronic viral hepatitis (A, B, and C)
  • Hemochromatosis (iron overload or accumulation in the body)
  • Cystic fibrosis (leading to obstruction)
  • Wilson’s disease (copper accumulation in the liver)
  • Biliary atresia (scarring and obstruction of the bile duct)
  • Galactosemia (storage of galactose or sugar in the blood)
  • Alagille syndrome (abnormal bile duct)
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis (autoimmune liver disease)
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis (inflammation of the bile duct)
  • Liver and body infections

In rare cases cirrhosis may be the cause

  • Allergic reaction to some drugs
  • Long-term toxin exposure
  • Chronic heart failure

Over time, scarring leads to improper functioning of the liver, which has been proven to be a malignant disease. Cirrhosis is an irreversible condition that cannot be cured. However, the effects can be reduced by identifying the cause, collecting an early prognosis, and receiving effective treatment.

What are the symptoms of cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a serious condition and it is important to identify its potential symptoms in order to receive treatment. Symptoms and signs of cirrhosis are:

  • Anorexia
  • Bruise
  • Weaknesses
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
  • itch
  • Malaise
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles, feet
  • Weight loss
  • Memory confusion
  • Loss of libido, enlargement of the breast, or contraction of the testicles (for men)
  • No menstruation (for women)

It is important to note that not all of these symptoms refer to cirrhosis. They may be due to other underlying medical problems. If you have any of the above symptoms, it is advisable to consult your doctor, but you can get proper diagnosis and treatment at an early stage.

What are the complications associated with cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis can be life-threatening if its complications are not recognized and treated on time. Some complications are:

Portal hypertension: It is caused by high blood pressure in the veins that supply blood to the liver. Cirrhosis increases the pressure in the veins, causing portal hypertension and thus reducing blood flow to the liver.

Swelling of the legs and abdomen: Portal hypertension is a stiff area of ​​water in the abdomen (ascites) and legs (edema) that looks like swelling. Edema and ascites make it impossible for the liver to produce the blood proteins it needs.

Splenomegaly: Portal hypertension also causes dilation of the spleen and stops the formation of white blood cells and platelets in the liver. Since a decrease in platelets and WBC is the first sign, practitioners look for white blood cells and platelets while examining cirrhosis.

bleeding: Portal hypertension directs blood flow to smaller veins and causes severe bleeding, which can cause veins to rupture due to increased pressure. Also, veins near the stomach and esophagus can become enlarged, causing fatal bleeding. If blood flow is not fixed, bleeding can continue and cause other life-threatening problems.

infection: Cirrhosis hijacks the immune system and makes it difficult for the body to fight infections. Ascites can cause idiopathic bacterial peritonitis, which causes a serious infection in your body.

malnutrition: When cirrhosis affects your body, it becomes difficult for your liver to produce the essential blood nutrients that your blood secretes through your body. If your body is unable to process essential nutrients, it can make you malnourished.

Hepatic encephalopathy: This leads to the accumulation of toxins in the brain, which not only leads to mental states, but can also make it difficult for individuals to concentrate. Over time, it can become fatal, causing the patient to fall into a coma or become unresponsive to any situation.

jaundice: If the liver is unable to remove bilirubin, a waste product of the blood that forms in the blood, it leads to jaundice.

Bone disease: People diagnosed with cirrhosis may not be able to regain bone strength and are at increased risk of fractures.

Liver cancer: Cirrhosis has led to the development of liver cancer in several patients.

Acute-Chronic Liver Failure: With cirrhosis, people experience multiple organ failure. The cause behind this is still under investigation.


Reduce the risk of cirrhosis by performing the following steps in liver care:

  • Do not drink alcohol if you have cirrhosis. If you have liver disease, you should avoid alcohol.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose a plant-based diet full of fruits and vegetables. Choose whole grain and lean sauce proteins. Reduce the amount of fat and fried food you eat.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Too much body fat can damage your liver. If you are obese or overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan.
  • Reduces the risk of hepatitis. Sharing needles and having unprotected sex can increase the risk of hepatitis B and C. Talk to your doctor about hepatitis vaccination.

What is the stage of liver disease?

Cirrhosis is a late-stage medical condition. Once developed, it is not cured. However, early detection of possible symptoms of cirrhosis can provide appropriate treatment for the development of cirrhosis.

If advanced, it can have dramatic effects on the liver, and the only treatment left for this is liver transplantation.

Liver damage can lead to several stages that can significantly impair liver function.


This is the early stage when the liver becomes inflamed and enlarged.People who suffer from liver inflammation do not experience the symptoms of cirrhosis, but if the inflammation does not go away in the liver, there is a risk of permanent damage.


When inflammation of the liver causes scarring, it causes fibrosis. This process prevents the liver from performing its function and can cause serious damage. It is difficult to detect the symptoms of fibrosis.


Severe fibrosis develops at this stage. The small amount of healthy tissue left in the liver makes it nearly impossible for the liver to function properly. At this stage, some symptoms can occur.

End-stage liver disease (ESLD)

All possible symptoms include bleeding, nausea, severe itching, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, swelling due to water accumulation, and memory retention problems. People with ESLD need to have a liver transplant because this is an incurable disease.

Liver cancer

Liver cancer is one of the major problems caused by cirrhosis and is caused by the formation of many unhealthy cells and tissues in the liver. Mets formation is found in the liver, which can develop due to cirrhosis.

What are some important things to consider about cirrhosis?

Unfortunately, cirrhosis is a fatal disease and there is no cure for scar tissue in the final stages. Life expectancy for ESLD is 6 months to 2 years, based entirely on the level of complications the patient is facing. If you are diagnosed with cirrhosis but have no major complications, life expectancy is considered to be 12 years or more.

What is the diagnosis of cirrhosis in an individual?

Doctors can detect it with a physical examination using a CT or MRI scan.

Lab test

Signs of liver dysfunction can be confirmed by a blood test. This test may also show the formation of certain enzymes that indicate liver damage. It is checked for hepatitis virus, and based on blood reports, doctors check how far the damage has spread and make an appropriate treatment plan.

Image inspection

CT and MRI scans, as well as ultrasonography of the abdomen, reveal possible liver disease. These scans are basically part of a physical examination to identify enlarged liver showing cirrhosis, inflamed spleen, abnormal nodular liver, and fluid buildup in the abdomen.


Tissue samples are taken for pathology to determine why the scar tissue is behind and to get a proper diagnosis. It also helps determine the severity of the tissue formed in the liver.

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What precautions can be used for cirrhosis?

If you are diagnosed early, you can take the following precautions:

  • Avoid alcohol and drug intake.
  • Eat a balanced diet to maintain proper weight
  • Avoid NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
  • Avoid unprotected sex
  • Reduce the risk of hepatitis virus
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis

What are the available treatments for cirrhosis?

In early cirrhosis, treatment of the underlying cause may help minimize damage to the liver. The options are:

  • Treatment of alcoholism. People who suffer from cirrhosis due to heavy drinking should stop drinking. If it is difficult to stop using alcohol, your doctor may recommend a treatment program for alcohol dependence. If you have cirrhosis, it is important to stop drinking, as any amount of alcohol is toxic to the liver.
  • Weight loss. People with cirrhosis caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can become healthy by losing weight and controlling blood sugar levels.
  • A drug to control hepatitis. The drug may limit further damage to hepatocytes caused by hepatitis B or C through specific treatments for these viruses.
  • Drugs to control other causes and symptoms of cirrhosis. The drug can slow the progression of certain types of cirrhosis. For example, in people with early-diagnosed primary biliary cirrhosis, medication can significantly delay the progression to cirrhosis.

Other medications can relieve certain symptoms such as itching, malaise, and pain. Dietary supplements may be prescribed to combat malnutrition associated with cirrhosis and prevent bone weakness (osteoporosis).

Treatment of complications of cirrhosis

If your doctor feels you have a complication of cirrhosis, he / she will suggest to you with the following treatment options

  • Accumulation of excess water. You will be prescribed a diet low in sodium. Take the drug as suggested to prevent the accumulation of water in the liver.
  • Portal hypertension. Because the drug is given in response to damage to the liver, it consumes the drug on a prescription basis and controls the increase in pressure in the blood flow in the veins.
  • Infection. Cirrhosis causes infections, so antibiotics are given to treat the infections. If you are in the first stages, you may be given the vaccine you need to keep you away from the possibility of cirrhosis.
  • Risk of liver cancer. If you are diagnosed with cirrhosis, regular blood and imaging tests are needed to monitor for signs of liver cancer.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy. Appropriate medications and regular imaging tests are done to reduce the toxins that accumulate in the brain.
  • Liver transplant: In advanced cases where the liver fails, liver transplant surgery is ready.

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Cirrhosis results from long-term, consistent damage to the liver, essentially with the consumption of alcohol, inflammatory toxins, or chronic viral hepatitis B or C. Early diagnosis of the disease greatly reduces the likelihood of cirrhosis. However, if left undetected, it can have serious consequences.

Therefore, depending on the inflammation of the liver and other mentioned symptoms, you should consult your doctor about a physical examination or biopsy before the liver problems get out of hand.

Read more: Cirrhosis

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