Liver is a vital organ in the human body that has several functions including digestion of food, production of proteins and hormones, breakdown of medications and toxins, storage of sugar in the form of glycogen, fighting off infection and many more. Any infection or medical condition can cause liver swelling known as liver enlargement or hepatomegaly. Liver enlargement is not a disease, but a symptom of several other conditions or diseases in the body affecting liver. Liver enlargement could be mild, moderate or severe depending on the disease.
What Are The Causes of Liver Enlargement?
Enlarged liver is a sign that the liver is not functioning properly and common causes or conditions that lead to liver enlargement include liver cirrhosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcoholic liver disease, metastatic cancer, liver cancer, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and congestive heart failure. Other less common causes include lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, Gaucher’s disease, toxic hepatitis and bile duct or gall bladder obstruction.
There are certain risk factors for liver enlargement and these include autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic liver disease, liver cancers, obesity, sickle cell disease, cysts and tumors of liver, excessive alcohol consumption, tattoos, blood transfusions, and certain prescription and non-prescription drugs.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Liver Enlargement
Liver enlargement is diagnosed on the basis of complete medical history, physical examination, complete blood count and liver function tests. Imaging includes abdominal X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound of the abdomen. A liver biopsy can also be ordered based on the results and seriousness of the condition.
The treatment of enlarged liver depends totally on the underlying cause. For example, infections like hepatitis C will be treated with medications, liver cancer will be treated with chemotherapy, surgery or radiation, and liver failure/damage will be treated with liver transplant and so on. A doctor will also recommend lifestyle changes along with the treatment options. These lifestyle changes include complete abstinence from alcohol, losing weight if one is overweight and engaging in a regular exercise regimen.
What Foods Are Good For An Enlarged Liver?
Along with the above mentioned changes, it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle by taking healthy foods and drinks. Liver is an organ that is capable enough to regenerate and heal it-self, if it is given the right nutrients and minerals through a healthy diet. The body requires flushing out toxins and the best way to do that is to drink enough water, around 4 liters of water per day. Eating a healthy diet is eating a lot of green vegetables and fruits that will restore a healthy liver. Raw vegetables will provide more minerals and also roughage for proper motility of the toxins to be flushed out of the body. A blend of lemon juice and olive oil in a glass of water is known to detox the liver by lowering bilirubin and flushing heavy metals out of the body and promoting increased bile production, stimulation of lymphatic flow and restoration of pH in the body.
Other food such as burdock root is great for liver and stimulation of bile production. Dandelion also stimulates the liver and helps alkalize blood. Cilantro is another herb that helps detoxify body of metals like mercury. Oregano is rich in antioxidant activity and full of vitamin B6, which also increases bile production and reduces the inflammatory effects of other foods. Beets, carrots and grapefruits are supposed to be rich in glutathione, which is great for liver detoxification. Kale, celery, spirulina, chard, ginger, orange, romaine, cranberry juice, milk thistle all are known to promote liver health. It is important to consume fresh and healthy foods and the rest liver will take care of in healing itself. Healthy diet requires avoiding alcohol that is toxic to liver. A person is what he eats and drinks, so it is best to eat healthy for healthy liver and body.
- Liver Damage or Liver Failure: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Prevention
- What is Enlarged liver or Hepatomegaly: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery, Complications
- 6 Home Remedies for Enlarged Liver or Hepatomegaly
- What is Liver Fibrosis: Stages, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis
- How Long Can You Live With Liver Cirrhosis?
- What Does Liver Pain Feel Like & What Can You Do About A Liver Pain?
- Why is Liver Function Test Done & What Does its Value (High, Low) Indicate?
- How Do You Know If Your Liver Is Failing?