Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us
Search Results
Click below to share this web page.
Translate

Understanding Cirrhosis

Liver with cirrhosis
A liver with cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a chronic (lifelong) liver problem. It results from damaged and scarred liver tissue. Cirrhosis can’t be cured. But it can be treated. Your doctor can tell you more.

The Liver

The liver is a large organ in the upper right part of the abdomen. A healthy liver metabolizes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It makes a digestive fluid called bile and removes toxins from the blood. The liver is also involved in the blood-clotting process.

View of lungs and liver

When You Have Cirrhosis

When you have cirrhosis, your liver becomes damaged and scarred. The liver doesn’t function as it should. In some cases, cirrhosis can lead to liver failure. If it does, your doctor will tell you whether you may need a liver transplant.

Causes of Cirrhosis

  • Alcohol use

  • Viral liver infections, such as hepatitis

  • Chronic bile duct blockage

  • Certain inherited diseases that can result in too much copper or iron being stored in the liver

  • Certain medications

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

  • Autoimmune disease

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue, weakness, and lack of appetite

  • Vomiting with or without blood

  • Weight loss or weight gain

  • Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)

  • Itching

  • Swollen abdomen and legs

  • Intestinal bleeding

  • Easy bruising of the skin

  • Dilated veins in the esophagus and stomach

  • Poor mental function

Online Medical Reviewer: Goldblum, Lester F, MD,DO, PC
Online Medical Reviewer: Ulitsky, Alex, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/8/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.