What is liver pain?
Liver pain can take the form of dull pain, tenderness, or cramping on the right side of the body below the rib cage that can be brought on by a cough or by deep breaths. In some cases, severe pain in the liver can make patients feel like their livers are going to burst and the pain is bad enough to keep them from going on with their daily tasks.
Possible Causes of Liver Pain
Liver pain should not be ignored because it can be caused by a number of illnesses, some of which are very serious such as liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. Other possible causes include fatty liver, autoimmune diseases and other illnesses that cause liver impairment or inflammation. Aside from problems in the liver itself, pain in the liver can also be caused by disorders in other organs. The most common ones causing pain are problems in the biliary tract, the gallbladder and in the blood vessels.
Biliary colic is one of the most common biliary tract disorders that cause pain in the liver. This kind of liver pain tends to come suddenly and cause several hours of discomfort before it subsides. It is typically caused by eating a large fat-rich meal, which causes cholesterol-overload. In addition, pain in the liver can also be caused by a blockage or an inflammation in the bile duct or by an unhealthy gallbladder. Other causes include liver cysts and liver abscess.
To diagnose the cause of liver pain, other symptoms should be carefully noted. Some of these liver pain symptoms are fatigue, constipation, weight loss, breathing difficulty, nausea, vomiting, swollen testes, a swollen abdomen, diarrhea, jaundice, and radiating shoulder pain.
Available in prescription and over-the-counter formulations, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are very effective for treating liver pain. It is never a good idea to self-medicate though because treating the symptoms might disguise the progression of a serious disease that is causing the pain. The wisest step would be to see a doctor and get an accurate diagnosis of the underlying illness.
Any treatment for liver pain should also be accompanied by making healthy lifestyle choices that will help keep the pain from returning. These include avoiding alcohol, drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day, increasing fruit and vegetable intake and taking whole-food supplements such as vitamins A, B1 and K. These recommendations are also great for preventing the problem connected to liver pain so anybody who wants a healthy liver would do well to implement these changes.