Enlarged Liver Symptoms and Causes
Although there are oftentimes no enlarged liver symptoms or signs present, there are still possible symptoms that you should be on the lookout for when it comes to your liver.
Normally, the liver is fairly large anyway. It weighs almost 3.5 pounds and is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is very important to the body and is responsible for metabolizing carbs, fats, and cholesterol that we derive from food. It also produces bile which helps absorbs fat in the intestines and removes toxins that get into the body. However, when the liver is unable to work properly, it can cease to carry out its vital functions.
An enlarged liver is sometimes called hepatomegaly. It is not actually a disease itself but is a symptom of another condition such as hepatitis. Since the liver doesn't have any nerves, however, you might not notice any enlarged liver symptoms. Still, the following are signs that there might be something going on with your liver and if you experience nay of these, then you should report them to your doctor immediately.
One of the most important enlarged liver symptoms is pain. A liver that is very enlarged often causes pain in the abdomen or even a feeling a fullness that can be uncomfortable. If a liver grows large enough, it can affect other organs in the area and it is those organs that are probably causing you the pain, and not actually the liver itself.
If the liver enlarges quickly, then you might notice tenderness when you press lightly around the area that the liver is located. It might not feel necessarily like pain, but it could be very uncomfortable to the touch.
Sometimes, one of the most significant enlarged liver symptoms is jaundice. If the liver enlarges and the liver function is affected then you might notice a yellowing of the skin which is also referred to as jaundice.
Accumulation of fat in the liver is the most common cause of an enlarged liver. When a liver collects fat, it is often due to diabetes and diabetes. Sometimes it is referred to as "nonalcoholic steatohepatitis" since it is comparable to alcoholic hepatitis, only without the alcohol present.
Other causes of an enlarged liver include iron deposits in the liver, heavy alcohol consumption, and viral infections such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Serious medical conditions such as tuberculosis, diabetes, leukemia, and liver cancer can also cause a liver to become enlarged as well. There are also some drugs and medications that can be responsible for a liver growing beyond its normal size.
A doctor should be able to estimate the liver's size simply by touching the area around it. If lumps have formed inside of it, then a CT scan or X-Ray might be performed in order to get confirmation. Doctors can also conduct biopsies and have blood work done as well.
Treatment of an enlarged liver is only available once the underlying condition and cause are determined. Regular exercise might be prescribed for people who have an enlarged liver due to a nonalcoholic fatty liver problem. On the other hand, if it is an infection such as hepatitis then medication can be given to help reduce the inflammation that could be causing the enlarged liver symptoms.
For diabetics, blood sugar and cholesterol need to be monitored and treated using a combination of natural methods and medications. If the enlarged liver is due to heavy consumption of alcohol, then alcohol needs to be avoided at all costs or else the results could be serious and even fatal in some cases.