An inflamed liver is enlarged beyond the size of a normal organ. It is often a symptom of a more serious medical condition. Diseases and illnesses that lead to inflammation of the liver can cause other symptoms.
Symptoms of hepatitis include:
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
Feeling full quickly after eating
Liver inflammation can occur due to excessive alcohol consumption. The liver can become swollen from processing too many toxins, such as too much acetaminophen or other supplements or medications.
Below are some diseases and conditions that can cause inflammation of the liver.
Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver caused by alcohol poisoning or hepatitis. Hepatitis is one of the side effects of cirrhosis. Scar tissue makes it difficult for the liver to function normally. This disease can be life-threatening if it reaches an advanced stage. The damage caused by cirrhosis can be difficult to reverse, but seeking help from a doctor may limit further damage to the liver.
Amyloidosis is a rare liver disorder caused by the accumulation of abnormal proteins called amyloid. It interferes with the normal functioning of the liver. These are not normally found in the body, but are formed from a combination of other types of proteins. Symptoms of this disease include inflammation of the liver.
About five percent of the population has liver cysts, and only five percent of people in this group have symptoms such as hepatitis. These cysts are fluid-filled structures with thin walls. Possible symptoms of a liver cyst include abdominal pain, discomfort, and a feeling of fullness. The cysts begin to bleed, causing severe pain in the shoulders and upper body. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove them.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Fatty liver disease causes the organ to accumulate excess fat. While most people have no symptoms, some people experience inflammation of the liver. You may also develop fibrosis, where scar tissue forms around damaged areas of the liver and interferes with its function. Fatty liver disease can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, while people who do not drink alcohol can develop fatty liver disease.
Methods and treatment of inflammation of the liver
Treatment for hepatitis depends on the underlying cause of the problem. The doctor decides on the appropriate treatment for liver inflammation, taking into account the final diagnosis. They usually perform a physical exam by feeling your abdomen to feel the size, texture, and shape of your liver. Other tests and procedures your doctor may perform to determine what is causing your liver inflammation include:
Blood tests – Your doctor may order blood tests to determine your current enzyme levels. They can also check for viruses that can cause hepatitis.
Imaging – Tests such as CT, MRI or ultrasound allow doctors to get a better look at the liver.
Magnetic resonance elastography – This is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create a visual image of the liver’s current stiffness. This is usually done instead of a liver biopsy.
Liver biopsy – Your doctor may perform a liver biopsy to send a sample of liver tissue for laboratory testing. The procedure involves inserting a long, thin needle through the skin into the liver.
Once your doctor understands what’s causing your liver inflammation, he can figure out how to treat it and the condition that’s causing the problem. For example, amyloidosis is often treated with chemotherapy, heart drugs, or targeted therapies such as patisiran (Onpattro) and inotersone (Tegsedi).
Fatty liver disease can be treated with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, reducing alcohol consumption, and taking vitamin E. Surgery is recommended to remove benign liver cysts. There are many different ways to treat hepatitis, so if you have symptoms of hepatitis, you should see a doctor.
When to see a doctor?
When you start experiencing any of the above symptoms related to hepatitis, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A specialist can help determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend the right treatment for you.