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by Wood D


Causes of cirrhosis include:

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of having cirrhosis include:


Cirrhosis often does not cause symptoms early in the disease process. Symptoms start when the liver begins to fail, as scar tissue replaces healthy cells. Symptom severity depends on the extent of liver damage.
Cirrhosis may cause:
As cirrhosis progresses, it may cause:
  • Jaundice —yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Water retention and swelling in the legs and abdomen
  • Enlarged liver or spleen
  • Loss of body hair
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Vomiting blood
  • Neurological problems, such as forgetfulness, confusion, agitation, or tremors
  • Inability to process medications
Complications of cirrhosis may include:


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Other tests may include:
  • Inserting a catheter into the liver vein and measuring the pressure within that vein; rarely necessary
  • Removing fluid from the abdomen and examining it
  • Other tests to determine what caused the cirrhosis and what complications may occur


There is no cure for cirrhosis. The goals of treatment are to keep the condition from getting worse, including:
  • Control the cause
  • Treat underlying medical conditions
  • Prevent additional damage
  • Treat symptoms and complications
  • Liver cancer screenings
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:


Doctors prescribe drugs to:
  • Treat hepatitis and complications that arise
  • Reduce the absorption of waste products and toxins in the digestive system
  • Reduce the risk of a blood vessel-breaking
  • Fight infections
  • Shed excess fluids


Liver transplant —may be done if:
  • Complications can no longer be controlled using medical therapy
  • The liver stops functioning
Endoscopy —This is used to tie off bleeding blood vessels (varices) or to inject drugs to cause clotting. A thin tool with a lighted tip is inserted down the throat to help the doctor see and access the varices, which are located in the esophagus.


  • Stop drinking alcohol completely.
  • Do not take any medications without your doctor's approval, including over-the-counter drugs.
  • Eat a balanced diet . Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, like beans and poultry.
  • If your liver disease is more advanced, you may need to limit protein intake, because your weakened liver will not be able to process it properly.
  • You may need to limit salt in your diet, because it increases water retention.
  • Take any vitamin supplements your doctor recommends.
  • Put your feet and legs up to decrease swelling.
  • Due to increased risk of infections, take these steps:
    • Getting vaccines for flu , pneumonia , and hepatitis
    • Avoiding raw seafood
    • Avoiding people who are sick with communicable diseases, like the flu or common cold
    • Washing your hands often
If you are diagnosed with cirrhosis, follow your doctor's instructions .


To help reduce your chance of developing cirrhosis, take these steps:


American Gastroenterological Association

American Liver Foundation



Canadian Liver Foundation

Health Canada



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