2016-06-16 14:29:08 UTC

Cirrhosis 102: Symptoms

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Patients with cirrhosis often have few symptoms at first. The two major problems that end up causing symptoms are loss of working liver cells and distortion of the liver caused by scarring. Patients may have:


  • Extreme tiredness.
  • Weakness.
  • Loss pf appetite, often with upset belly and weight loss.
  • Water building up in the legs (edema) or belly (ascites).
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • For females, absent or rare periods not related to menopause.
  • For men, loss of sex drive or tender, enlarged breasts.


Late-Stage or Advanced Cirrhosis


Symptoms include:

  • Yellow skin, called jaundice.
  • Intense itching.
  • Trouble digesting certain proteins, resulting in unsafe levels of ammonia in the blood (hepatic encephalopathy), which can cause:
    • Mild sleep disturbances.
    • Trouble focusing.
    • Unresponsiveness. 
    • Coma. 
  • Vomiting blood due to bleeding from the stomach or esophagus.


© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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