How do you test for a liver problem?

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My husband is a heavy drinker of vodka and has been for 15 years. Other than his alcoholism he is in good health (he is 35). Lately he has not been able to drink vodka without feeling nauseous. He has had his liver tested before and was told it was performing fine (at 33). The past six months however he feels sick when he drinks it. He is drinking to self medicate psych issues as he does not like the side effects from them.

We are really scared now though because he has had an episode where he used the bathroom and his feces looked like ground coffee beans. It was not diarrhea and it was not painful. He also frequently throws up and has no appetite.

What tests are available to test his liver function, and is there possibly something else that we should be testing? Thanks for your help.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Get to the docs, be honest and open and get the lft (liver function test) blood tests done....fast! As long as you explain to the doctor he'll know what to order, but if you say he's an alcoholic then get there asap. I did and my doc sorted me. I had to have a liver transplant (unrelated to drink)
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    • Posted

      Thank you. He is hesitant to test again, because he has tested in the past and liver function comes back normal. It is hard for him to admit to the doctor that he is concerned, and the doctors always makde it seem like he is worrying about nothing. So getting him to bring it up a third time will be very hard. But the last time was so long ago, I figured things might have changed. I guess I was hoping there was a different test that I could talk him into trying that might make it easier for him to rationalize.
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  • Posted

    Unfortunately not, bloods is the main thing. I'm not preaching, but from your original post the first thing would be to stop drinking. Maybe see an addiction specialist. If you're anywhere near Newport Beach CA I can recommended an excellent doctor who works with this. Bottom line is the drinking is an invisible assasin, irreparable scarring even when he says "I feel fine". I quit heavy drinking & had cirrhosis but not bad enough for a transplant, then when I got an infection in hospital with a broken leg, it spread and killed my brain & liver leading to brain surgery, a transplant and my leg amputated. I would beg your hubby to quit, see a doc with the full history, be honest and they should check everything to make sure the alcohol recovery goes well & smoothly. There's no other way, no home test, no magic test, just bloods and they might ask for another CT scan / ultrasound.

    Please, seek help for his drinking. I've been to the point where I was addicted, drank even though it made me sick and it wont get better without help. Good luck.x

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    • Posted

      Ugh, I wish I could force him... it's so hard watching someone hurt themselves. I will talk him into testing again. Thanks for the encouragement.
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  • Posted

    Please keep trying my dear. I'm not being horrible but hes not gonna do himself any good whilst still in denial or just not caring about it. It can come on very fast. I was fine for 2.5yrs and something completely unrelated did enough damage to finish the liver off...then it was emergency stations, medically induced comas, amputation, dialysis and that went on for 4 weeks whilst searching for a suitable donor and I got lucky. Not everyone will get one in time.

    Long and the short, sweetie, is keep on at him, subtley or straight in ur face, whatever you think he listens to...if you love him you'll nag him to go and if he loves you he will go. Please keep trying, it's critical.

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  • Posted

    What type of results would a liver function test indicate? How does it differ from what an ultrasound would fine. My boyfriend had a metabolic panel completed and it indicated that he had liver enzymes. Is that the same thing?
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    • Posted

      Rosie, the ultrasound gives a view of the liver and it's tissues. As an example, cirrhosis is a heavily scarred liver and it gets bigger and fatty. That's the sort of thing a US shows. The metabolic blood tests check the (as you say) enzymes and function of other chemicals related to the liver.. can't be bothered to dig out my results as it's 3 30am,  but if you really want to know, reply and I'll do it tomorrow.

      in short, LFTs are the blood tests to see what's performing / not performing, are enzymes too high (meaning it's not filtering toxins out as well so your whole body can get poisonous...and when the toxins are so in control it's like being on a hard drug.....I've never taken them but when my divergent everything around me was like a fantasy world...convinced the nurses were Russian spies taking my obs, believe I'd gone in the wrong bed when I was actually bed ridden as I had 1 leg cut off and was strapped to the bed!) and the US can see the physical state it's in, like enlarged, a lot of fatty tissue and scarring. Scarring is the main thing you can get out of a US, that and size. Think of it as a potential date.....the US would be you meetingvyouvdate and checking their looks out and the metabolic panels as talking to them to discover what is going on inside them. Rubbish analogy but first thing I could think of this early am.

      HTH.Just ask if u have more concerns or want the full list of what they check on a LFT blood draw......God knows I've had sooooo many of them!!

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