Ever felt dull palpitations or a piercing-like feeling in your upper right abdomen? If it is a yes, it can be your liver that is causing these sensations. In case it makes you crawl in pain, be alert, as it’s time for you to seek medical help. What I am talking about now is liver pain. However, this term is not at all so new as many people struggle with it currently. But, if you have no idea how to deal with this condition, let’s have a complete picture of it.
What is liver pain?
Just like I have said, liver pain is a kind of discomfort or distress that you feel on your liver. You can feel it on your upper right abdomen, under the ribs. It can be both throbbing and stabbing-like sensations and sometimes accompanied by swelling. While it can be radiating you can feel it in your back or on the right shoulder blade. However, it often appears dull and vague. In that case, you might mistake it for right shoulder pain or back pain. So, next time you feel any such sensation in any of these areas, just keep in mind that your liver is situated directly below the diaphragm and top of your stomach. This idea will help you detect liver pain if it occurs anytime.
What causes liver pain?
To tell you about the causes of liver pain, there are many which can lead you to this condition which is becoming common day by day. Have a look at the possible causes of liver pain.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
The liver is responsible for processing food and drinks you take, including alcohol. But when you drink more than what your liver can effectively process, it can cause damage to your liver. Initially, it will bring increased fat to your liver, but eventually, it will lead to the accumulation of scar tissue, and inflammation to let you feel the pain. This condition is called alcoholic hepatitis.
- Viral Hepatitis
The most common types of hepatitis, i.e, hepatitis A, B, and C are brought by different viruses that infect your liver. This can be yet another cause that leads to liver pain. In case you feel liver pain due to this, you can identify it easily as it is always accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and fever.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver
Just like you read the name, it is a type of fatty liver disease that affects people who drink little to no alcohol. With this, there would be too much fat stored in the liver cells enough to cause pain and damage.
This is the condition where your lover would be permanently damaged as all the healthy liver tissues are replaced with scar tissues. It can be extremely painful as it gets worse. Most of the victims of this condition also say that the pain which comes out of it can be chronic or long-lasting.
- Reye’s syndrome
Reye’s syndrome is rare but a serious condition that causes swelling in the liver and brain. This can be often detected in children and teenagers who survived viral infections like flu or chickenpox.
Hemochromatosis is the deposition of iron in the liver that can bring elevation and enlargement in liver enzymes. This is how damage occurs in your liver leading to pain and other severe symptoms.
- Liver cancer
In most cases, liver cancer is diagnosed when it is in the latter stages as it causes no pain or symptoms at the earlier stage but extreme pain later on. This pain can be coming from tumors in the liver as well as surrounding areas in case it is spread.
How to identify liver pain?
There are many symptoms associated with liver pain as it is simply an indication of things that are wrong with your liver.
Here are the symptoms that are often accompanied by liver pain.
One of the most common symptoms associated with liver disease is fatigue. Even though the link between liver disease and fatigue is not well defined, it seems like the effect of the central neurotransmission which occurs between the liver and brain.
Skin yellowing and whites in the eyes
A poorly working liver fails to manage bilirubin, which is a substance behind jaundice or yellowing of the eyes and skin. As it is initiated with excess consumption of alcohol and certain medicine, you tend to feel milder or severe pain in association with it.
many liver conditions can bring brown or dark brown urine. It is because your liver loses its capacity and leaks substances like bilirubin into the blood and urine.
Swelling in legs and ankles
People with fatty liver and other liver conditions can develop swelling on both feet, and other body parts as well as several other symptoms. It is because cirrhosis and other serious troubles slow down the normal blood flow through the liver, increasing pressure in veins.
Itchiness on the skin
Liver disease and damage can also lead to the accumulation of higher levels of bile salt under the skin, causing itchiness.
Loss of appetite
In association with liver disease, you may feel nauseous, loss of appetite, have a disinterest in food as well as a significant weight loss. These are the early signals of liver issues, and you may feel lenient pain along with it.
Treating liver pain
Liver pain is actually a signal that indicates a serious problem in your body, so it’s not something that you can ignore or wait out. You can effectively manage liver pain and other related symptoms by following proper medical care and certain other natural ways. But still, you cannot ensure whether you can achieve a complete cure.
Your prior choice to tackle liver pain can be widely available painkillers. but, you should not take acetaminophen and any other painkillers as they can create byproducts that are toxic to the liver. But instead, you can follow drugs that are prescribed to manage the condition and hence relieve pain. So, it would be ideal to seek the advice of your doctor to get the right medication.
When you experience liver pain, you can drink lots of water and avoid fatty and heavy foods temporarily from your diet. At the same time sitting up straight can ease the pressure on the liver, reducing pain.
How can lifestyle changes help?
The initial step to address liver pain is watching your diet. Since the liver can regenerate and repair itself, keeping an eye on the foods and drinks you consume can help you relieve liver damage. To get the right idea about diet management, you can consult a dietician who can provide you with a list of foods that you can eat without any further worries.
Keeping a regular workout routine along with a healthy diet also can help your liver to retrieve things one by one and reduce pain naturally.
Also read Early Cancer Pain Management
Currently, liver pain is seen commonly in people around the globe, as an indication of liver damage or conditions like cirrhosis, liver disease, hepatitis, liver cancer, and fatty liver. It can be severe depending on how damaged or worse the conditions of your liver have become. When liver pain occurs continuously for hours, you should seek medical attention. It can be even worse when you feel hallucinations, nausea, or dizziness, and this is exactly when you need emergency care.
PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.
View All By PainPathways