Does fatty liver cause pain?
Fatty liver is a common chronic liver disease, especially in people with diabetes and those who are overweight. Even though the liver is the largest internal organ, it can be challenging to identify pain in your liver. Therefore, the fatty liver does not have significant symptoms.
However, it can cause pain in the upper right area of the abdomen. Most of the time, you may not know that you have a fatty liver until a routine checkup shows signs of an abnormality. As a result, it’s easy to confuse fatty liver pain with your stomach ache.
Fatty Liver – An Overview
- The liver is an important organ.n The liver makes protein for the body and converts nutrients into energy.
- Fatty liver disease is a common health problem caused by excessive fat accumulation in the liver. But when fat makes up 5% to 10% of the liver’s weight, it becomes a significant problem.
Fatty Liver: The Stages
- According to a study, the fatty liver disease progresses through three stages. The first stage, called steatohepatitis, is when the liver becomes inflamed and starts to feel damaged.
- The second stage, fibrosis, is when scar tissue starts to form around the areas of damage. The third and most advanced stage, cirrhosis, is when extensive scar tissue replaces all healthy tissue, causing severe liver damage.
- This hardened scar tissue can slow the function of the organ, leading to liver failure or liver cancer.
- The intensity of the pain varies step by step, the last stage being extreme pain. In such cases, when the fatty liver turns into cirrhosis or cancer, strong painkillers may be needed to relieve the pain.
Fatty Liver: Risk Factors
Among these are:
Overweight or obesity
Type 2 Diabetes or Insulin Resistance
Having some metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides
Taking certain drugs or steroids
Symptoms: Fatty liver is painful.
- Fatty liver disease often has no recognizable symptoms or noticeable pain until it progresses to the end stage, cirrhosis. However, upper right abdominal pain, even mild, is a warning sign.
- Children with fatty liver often experience pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, which is just below the rib cage. Adults experience pain when the fatty liver disease progresses to an inflammatory stage, which leads to enlargement of the liver.
Some more symptoms to look out for:
Extreme fatigue and exhaustion. While unexplained fatigue can be a symptom of many conditions, fatty liver disease is at the forefront.
Nausea and appetite loss
Swollen abdomen and extremities, also known as edema
Rapid weight loss
Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, also known as jaundice
Although fatty liver usually causes no symptoms, it can cause a constant dull ache in the upper right part of your abdomen or throughout the entire abdomen. You usually won’t have severe pain until your fatty liver is advanced. However, once abdominal pain begins, the pain may spread from your abdominal area and cause chronic weakness.
Does fatty liver cause pain? Treatment and Prevention
Currently, no specific medication or treatment cures the fatty liver disease. However, depending on what stage of the disease a person is in, they can try to reverse it as much as possible.
Losing weight is the best option to slow the progression of this disease. However, losing weight too quickly can make the condition worse.
Abstaining from alcohol may help people who are in the early stages of alcoholic fatty liver disease, such as inflammation or fibrosis. They may be able to reverse the damage done to their liver or prevent it from getting worse. However, in no case is there complete reversible cirrhosis of the liver.
Some prescription drugs can help with cirrhosis, as well as surgical options. For example, if the liver goes into failure mode, a liver transplant is best.
Additionally, making important lifestyle changes is crucial to treating fatty liver. These include:
Eat a balanced diet
Eating small portions of food
regular physical activity