Cirrhosis: 8 Natural Tips for Prevention & Management
Did you know that your liver is your largest internal organ (roughly the size of a football!)? Your hard-working liver, weighing roughly three to four pounds in total, sits just under your rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. It’s responsible for crucial functions like digesting your food, storing energy, and removing toxins from your body.
Few of us live in unpolluted environments and eat completely “clean” diets. As a result, many people experience a constant influx of toxins coming from the air, soil, water and food supply. These toxins can all cause your liver to become overworked and in need of a serious liver detox. In fact, a poorly working liver causes a whole range of symptoms that can affect nearly every system in the body. These include many symptoms that people don’t usually associate with a failing liver.
Some minor-to-moderate liver problems can be effectively managed or treated with lifestyle modifications alone. Losing weight, cleaning up your diet and stopping alcohol use can all help. But this isn’t always the case with cirrhosis of the liver. In fact, cirrhosis is a much more serious and advanced form of liver damage. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cirrhosis of the liver. However, there are treatments available that can limit risk for liver failure and other complications. (1)
What are some ways you can help prevent liver cirrhosis and other forms of liver disease from developing? When it comes to liver health, first and foremost eating a healthy diet is key. Your liver is one of the hardest-working organs. This is due to the enormous energy it takes to digest foods daily — especially when you’re eating a toxin-heavy, low-nutrient diet. Exercising regularly and reducing toxin exposure by limiting the amount of alcohol, medications, pesticides, herbicides and hormone-disruptors you consume are also beneficial for keeping your liver healthy.
What Is Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Cirrhosis of the liver is a serious progressive disease in which scar tissue develops in the liver. As a result, it causes dysfunction that impacts essential processes like: blood flow, elimination of toxins and waste from the body, hormone levels, and digestion of certain essential nutrients.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the most common reasons why dangerous scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue include alcohol abuse, a history of fatty liver disease and viruses such as hepatitis. Other factors like consuming a poor diet, genetics or a family history of liver disease, and having high cholesterol levels may also contribute to liver dysfunction and risk for cirrhosis. (2)
Cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates. Unfortunately, if liver disease worsens enough to be considered “advanced stage cirrhosis,” liver failure, then liver cancer, might develop. At this point the condition, might be fatal and transplantation is usually considered the only curative option for most patients. But, luckily, lifestyle changes and some pharmacological therapies can help halt progression and even reverse cirrhosis to some extent. (3)
Common Symptoms of Cirrhosis & Complications
Many don’t notice any symptoms of liver damage or cirrhosis at first. Some of the common signs and symptoms of cirrhosis and other forms of liver disease include: (4)
- Lack of energy, or fatigue.
- Loss of appetite.
- Jaundice symptoms including skin and eyes that appear yellow.
- Digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping.
- Cognitive issues like confusion, disorientation, and mood or personality changes.
- Swelling in the legs and ankles.
- Skin problems like feeling itchy.
- Urine that’s dark in color (brown or yellow).
- Pale or dark tar-colored stool.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Changes in weight, usually loss due to less appetite.
- Tendency to bruise the skin easily.