Liver Pain in the abdomen can be frustratingly hard to pinpoint and describe, and can point to a number of conditions both frightening and mundane. For anyone trying to research potential causes of pain in the abdomen, these factors can combine to create an alarming experience. A better understanding of how pain affects abdominal organs, particularly the liver, can prevent pointless worry and help sufferers of liver pain seek treatment from medical professionals with greater accuracy and efficiency.
Recognizing Liver Pain
Anyone who remembers health and science classes from school dimly at best can easily confuse mild to severe abdominal discomfort as liver pain. To help narrow down the pertinent area, those trying to identify a liver problem will find it helpful to understand the liver’s location: this large detoxifier lies in the upper right portion of the abdomen, just beneath the diaphragm that serves to separate the chest and the abdomen. Some of the other sensations that can be frequently confused with liver pain are pain in the kidneys, back, or in the more generalized abdomen.
Knowing where the liver is situated is not enough for comfort of mind in determining the source of pain, especially when the organ in question is as vital as the liver. Recognizing the types of painful sensations and symptoms typically associated with liver problems is another step in ensuring accuracy. These tend to begin with a dull and sharp pain below the rib cage, on the right side, with a skin rash to accompany it. Itching is also common, and other symptoms include jaundice, blemishes and spots of a brownish shade over the skin, painful inhalations or coughs, breathing difficulties, vomiting, nausea, and a swollen abdomen even in the case of weight loss.
A more specific type of liver pain is that caused by swelling. The general cause is the accumulation of fat in too large of quantities, and the resulting swollen condition is called steatosis. When inflammation is seen in addition to a fatty liver, damage to the liver cells is the result and is referred to as steatohepatitis. The pain of a swollen liver lies in the discomfort of the organ’s membrane being stretched because of its expansion, along with the organ generally becoming heavier. Major causes of fatty or swollen liver pain include excessive consumption of alcohol, obesity, and diabetes.
When Liver Pain Calls for a Transplant
Among major organ transplants, the liver is the second most common. A thorough understanding of liver transplant criteria before undergoing the process, if necessary, can give a better sense of possibilities and guidelines. One of the most significant aspects of liver transplant criteria is the determination of who on the waiting list has the greatest need. A number of factors go into determining that extremely sensitive question such as probable life expectancy if the transplant does not occur and likelihood of a successful transplant. Another vital piece of liver transplant criteria that should be understood is that certain reasons for needing a transplant are considered disqualified, such as cancers and active abuse of alcohol or other substances.
Be careful with liver pain
Potential liver problems cannot safely be ignored, even apart from pain and symptoms that are inconvenient at best. In addition to serving as the detoxification unit of the human body, the liver is also the body’s largest gland. Numbering among its vital functions are the production of amino acids, maintenance of blood glucose levels, working to convert glucose into glycogen, purification of harmful substances from the blood, mineral and vitamin storage, as well as working in the process of breaking down food. To preserve healthy liver function, liver pain should be treated promptly by a medical professional.