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Cirrhosis : Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Cirrhosis is a condition of the formation of scar tissue in the liver due to long-term (chronic) liver damage. This disease develops slowly and results in healthy tissue being replaced by scar tissue. Scarring will inhibit the flow of blood that passes through the liver so that the liver's performance becomes disturbed or even stops.

Damage to the liver caused by cirrhosis cannot be repaired and can even spread wider and cause the liver to not function properly. This condition is often referred to as liver failure. Before cirrhosis causes liver failure, its development lasts for years. Generally, treatment is carried out only to slow down the progress of the disease.

The liver is the largest solid organ in the human body. The liver has many important functions for the body, here are some liver functions in the body.

  • Store excess nutrients and return some nutrients to the bloodstream.
  • Producing proteins in the blood to help with clotting, oxygen delivery, and immune function.
  • Helps store sugar in the form of glycogen.
  • Get rid of harmful elements in the bloodstream, including liquor and drugs.
  • Destroys saturated fat and produces cholesterol.
  • Producing bile, which is the element needed to digest food.

Basically, the heart is a very powerful organ because it can continue to work even if it is damaged. The liver will try to repair itself until this organ is completely damaged and can no longer function.

Symptoms of cirrhosis

Cirrhosis in the early stages produces only a few symptoms, but when liver function has significantly reduced symptoms will appear such as:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fatigue, lack of energy, and easy drowsiness.
  • Swelling of the ankles and abdomen or edema.
  • Sudden decrease or weight gain.
  • Fever and chills
  • Hard to breathe.
  • The skin and white eyes are yellow or jaundice.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Vomiting blood.
  • Discoloration in urine and feces (sometimes accompanied by blood).
  • Skin itching.

Causes of cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is caused by several factors, including the result of the hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, consuming excessive liquor, and several other conditions that can damage liver tissue.

Diagnosis of Cirrhosis

There are several ways that can be used to diagnose cirrhosis, namely:

  • Physical examination. The doctor will observe the physical changes that occur in the patient.
  • Blood test. Blood samples are taken to determine the level of liver function and damage if present.
  • CT scans, MRI, ultrasound, and several other imaging procedures may be needed to see the condition of the liver.
  • Taking tissue samples from the liver.

Treatment of Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis cannot be cured. Treatment is done to inhibit the development of basic causes that result in the emergence of cirrhosis from the beginning In addition, treatment is done to slow down damage to liver tissue, as well as deal with symptoms and also complications that arise from cirrhosis.

For example, taking antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis C will help prevent cirrhosis from getting worse. Then you will be asked to reduce or stop consuming liquor, as well as lose weight if you are obese.

Damaged tissue due to cirrhosis can cause liver function to stop if it has entered the advanced stages. In this condition, the only option that can be done is to do a liver transplant.

Prevention of Cirrhosis

Prevention of cirrhosis caused by excessive consumption of liquor can be done by limiting yourself to consuming alcoholic beverages.

In addition, cirrhosis can be caused by hepatitis. Hepatitis A is transmitted through food and drink, so ensuring food and beverage hygiene is the most appropriate preventative step. Hepatitis B and C are infectious diseases that can be suffered through unprotected sex or sharing needles among fellow injecting drug users. To avoid contracting hepatitis B and C, you should use a condom during free sex or not sharing needles. Vaccination is also available to prevent hepatitis B, but there is no vaccine available for hepatitis C.



  1. Sanchez, et al. American College of Gastroenterology(2012). Liver Cirrhosis.
  2. Wiegand, J. Berg, T. (2013). The Etiology, Diagnosis and Prevention of Liver Cirrhosis: Part 1 of a Series on Liver Cirrhosis.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.