The liver, located in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen and enclosed partially by the ribs, is the largest organ in the human body. It is very important for a number of bodily functions. For this reason, you should know the early signs of liver damage and take care of your liver as much as you possibly can.
12 Early Signs of Liver Damage
There are more than a hundred different kinds of diseases of the liver. Each has its own set of symptoms. Some of these diseases include alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. Sometimes, people tend to mistake these signals for something else, as they aren’t very specific. Take a look at some of the most usual early symptoms:
1. Upset Stomach
When the liver cannot eliminate toxins then you may start vomiting and having nausea because there are changes in the metabolism and digestion. These symptoms are similar with conditions like motion sickness, early pregnancy, depression, vertigo, migraines, kidney issues, and food poisoning.
2. Fatigue and Overall Weakness
Feeling tired and weak are common symptoms of a damaged liver. This happens as the liver is damaged and the body must work harder which requires more rest. Additionally, this is a result of the toxins that cannot be eliminated by the liver. If you experience frequent fatigue, always consult your physician.
3. Lack of Appetite
This happens due to a lack of production of bile that helps digest fat in the diet. When food isn’t properly digested, it can lead to a lack of appetite and a severe loss of weight. See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for a long period of time.
4. Digestion Problems
When the liver is overwhelmed the bile secretion is reduced and this may lead to diarrhea and indigestion. This can also cause alcohol and fatty foods intolerance, abdominal bloating, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation.
5. Alterations in the Color of Urine
If you think you are drinking enough but still have a dark color of your urine, this may be one of the early signs of liver damage. The urine may look brown, amber, or orange in color because of elevated levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream. The bilirubin is elevated because the liver cannot get rid of the bilirubin and it is excreted through the kidneys. Dark urine may also be due to dehydration, side effects of taking antibiotics, taking B vitamin supplements, urinary tract infections, enzyme deficiencies or kidney abnormalities. The doctor can help sort out the cause of dark urine.
6. Changes in Stool Coloration
When there is lack of bile, the color of the stool can change and instead of the normal brown color, it can be yellow, gray, or clay colored. If this condition is temporary, it isn’t dangerous. However, if it occurs all the time, you need medical attention.
Jaundice is a yellow coloration to the skin, tongue, fingertips, and eyes. Jaundice is from an increase in bilirubin in the bloodstream and in the bodily tissue that would normally be excreted in the bile. Bilirubin builds up when old red blood cells are broken down inside the liver. It causes the skin to become yellow. Jaundice can also mean you have a problem with the pancreas or gallbladder, so you should seek medical attention as soon as you can if you develop this symptom.
8. Abdominal Changes
If you experience pain or cramping in the lower part of the abdomen or feel especially bloated, this can mean that you have ascites and a malfunctioning liver. Ascites is one of the early signs of liver damage and basically means that fluid has built up inside the abdominal cavity. It can happen whenever there is damage to the liver or liver cirrhosis.
You often get portal hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the arteries and veins of the abdomen from liver disease. You can also get ascites from disorders unrelated to the liver, so you should seek medical attention if you develop this symptom.
9. Fluid Retention
Usually, this symptom manifests through bloating of the ankles and feet. It can also be a symptom of a lymphatic disease, heart failure, hormonal imbalance, and kidney problems.
10. Increase in Skin Itching
The skin becomes more sensitive in liver deficiency and often itches and flakes, being hypersensitive to touch. You may experience an increase in bruising and an increase in the visibility of the veins in the body. You can try to keep the skin moisturized with lotion, but the itching and skin sensitivity probably won’t get better until the actual liver problem is properly identified and taken care of.
11. Abdominal Pain
This is usually pain in the right upper quadrant of the rib cage where the liver is located. When it is malfunctioning, there can be pain or tenderness in the affected area.
12. Intestinal Bleeding, Diarrhea or Constipation
Without the clotting factors which the liver makes, bleeding in the intestines can occur, along with diarrhea and constipation. This is not the complete list of liver damage symptoms. What’s more, liver deficiency can manifest through problems in the balance of sex hormones and, for example, men can develop breasts. Likewise, both men and women can experience a loss of libido. It’s important to consult your doctor if you have problems that won’t go away and make you feel unwell.