- What is an Enlarged liver?
- Enlarged Liver Symptoms
- Enlarged Liver Causes
- Diseases of the Liver:
- Blood vessel and heart problems
- Large doses of over the counter drugs
- Excessive alcohol use
- Certain herbal supplements
- Hepatitis viruses
- Certain infections
- Enlarged Liver Diagnosis
- A physical to distinguish liver enlargement
- Additional procedures
- Enlarged Liver Treatment
- Enlarged Liver Diet
What is an Enlarged liver?
This is a description of a liver which is bigger in size than normal. The liver is a football shaped, large organ, located in the right portion of the upper abdominal region. An enlarged liver is in medical terms referred to as hepatomegaly.
A liver that is enlarged is not a disease rather it is an indication of an underlying problem for instance liver disease, cancer or congestive heart failure.
The treatment for an enlarged liver consists of identifying and then managing the underlying reason for this condition.
Enlarged Liver Symptoms
Livers that are enlarged can cause no further symptoms or signs but when it is occurring because of liver disease, it can go together with:
- Abdominal pain
- Yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes known as jaundice
Individuals who have these symptoms should see their physician especially if these signs are worrying them.
Enlarged Liver Causes
Many conditions and diseases can cause the liver to enlarge and some of these include:
Diseases of the Liver:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Hepatitis triggered by a virus – comprising hepatitis A, B, as well as C – or caused by infectious mononucleosis
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Disorder causes copper to collect in the liver known as Wilson’s disease
- Disorder that causes abnormal protein to collect in the liver known as amyloidosis
- Disorder that causes fatty materials to collect in the liver known as Gaucher’s disease
- Non-cancerous liver tumors, such as adenoma as well as hemangioma
- Toxic hepatitis
- Blockade of the gallbladder or bile ducts
- Liver cancer
- Cancer that began in other areas of the body and then spread to the liver
Blood vessel and heart problems
- Heart failure
- Obstacle of the veins draining the liver known as Budd-Chiari syndrome
- Difficulties with the heart’s tricuspid valve known as tricuspid regurgitation
- Inflammation of the tissue that surround the heart known as pericarditis
Individuals can be much more likely to develop an enlarged liver if they have a disease of the liver. The factors that could increase an individual’s risk of problems with the liver include:
Large doses of over the counter drugs
Taking larger than recommended doses of certain drugs such as acetaminophen or Tylenol, can increase the risk of liver damage
Excessive alcohol use
Certain herbal supplements
Some herbal supplements can increase the risk of liver damage, including mistletoe as well as black cohosh
Hepatitis, C, A, as well as B can cause damage to the liver
Infectious diseases that can increase the risk of damage to the liver include Q fever as well as malaria
Enlarged Liver Diagnosis
A physical to distinguish liver enlargement
Your physician can determine the size of the liver by feeling the area of the abdomen while performing a physical examination. The physician may evaluate the size by sensing how distant the liver extends below the rib cage. The doctor can also notice the liver texture. Dependent on the causal reason, a liver that is enlarged may feel firm, soft or irregular. Often bulges/lumps are present also.
As soon as your primary care physician decides you have a liver that is enlarged, other procedures as well as other tests can be suggested to learn the reason why. Additional procedures and test can consist of:
- Tests of the Blood – A blood sample can be verified to find the enzyme liver levels. This may give evidence about the health of the liver. Test of the blood also can reveal any viruses that may cause the liver to enlarge, such as hepatitis viruses.
- Imaging exams – Imaging exams allow the physician to examine the liver with computerized tomography or CT as well as ultrasound.
- Taking out a liver tissue sample for testing or liver biopsy – The physician may endorse biopsy of the liver to gather a tissue of the liver for lab testing. A liver biopsy is sometimes preformed using a thin, long needle that is inserted thru the skin and then into the liver. This needle pulls out a core of liver tissue that is then sent to a lab. Lab tests can reveal what is the reason for an enlarged liver.
Enlarged Liver Treatment
The treatment managing for a liver that is enlarged involves first diagnosing and then treating the underlying condition that is causing the enlargement.
There are some supplements of herbs that are used in alternative medical treatments which can be very harmful to the liver. In order to protect the liver, it is important to discuss any potential risks before the consumption of the following:
- Certain Chinese herbs, including ma-huang
- Black cohosh
Enlarged Liver Diet
It is recommended that dietary changes should be made in order to protect your liver from any further damage. Below are some recommendations that are commonly made:
- Change simple carbohydrates and sugars to more nutritional fruits as well as vegetables
- Decrease the amounts of refined carbohydrates
- Eliminate pastries, cakes, bread, cookies, pasta, bagels, and other noodles
- Eliminate most prepared desserts and table sugar
- Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks such as many juices as well as soda
- Substitute processed carbohydrates with large amounts of raw vegetables and fruits
- Also drink raw fruit and vegetable juices
- Limit dairy food except for yogurt and organic cheeses
There are no drugs that can treat fatty liver diseases so diet is the only option for treatment. Just losing a few pounds in some cases can often help individuals bring an enlarged liver back to normal.