Liver pain

Edited , 9 users are following.

Hi,

I've just joined hoping to get some advice about liver pain I've been having recently.

32 year old Male, have been drinking regularly since college. For the past say 5 years anyway I would drink typically 5 days a week, sometimes more. I would drink heavily pretty much every friday & Saturday, and also drink 3/4 nights during the week (three double measures of rum on a weekday).

I'm sure there are people out there who drink more than that but I'm conscious I have been a chronic drinker for the guts of a decade, and have rarely ever gave my liver more than a couple of days to rest.

I have known that I drink too often but up until recently it hasn't caused me any outward problems (that were obvious to me). For the past few months however I have been conscious of a 'stiff' feeling in my upper right abdomen. I had a binge period recently where I drank moderately heavy for 10 days straight (at least a few measures of rum or a bottle of wine e.g.) and I woke up with mild pain in my liver.

This has worries the hell out of obviously. I stayed off drink for a few days and felt it progressively better. On the fourth day I ventured a drink again and had a bottle of wine - again waking up with liver pain.

So now i know I have a bit of a problem on my hands, but I just want to know if you guys have any advice from your experiences. I'm panicking I have gave myself cirrhosis over the years without realising. I have read that you can develop it without showing symptoms and only realise too late?

I have no other symptoms apart from the mild liver pain lately (always noticed most when laying flat in bed). No jaundice, nausea, itching, unusual poo etc. Although I have noticed a pretty loud gurgling/percolating type noise from my gut and bubbling sensation in the liver area too.

I figure i need to abstain for a while at least anyway.. aiming to go alcohol free for a month and see how I feel. I should also book a doc appointment and explain the situation I know. I did have bloods taken for an unrelated matter three years ago and do recall the doc noting that the blood sample indicated normal liver function at that point anyway.. I am reasonably healthy otherwise. Okay diet, exercise regularly, good BMI.

Hope someone can shed some light at what I might be looking at here.

Thank you

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10 Replies

  • Edited

    Hi,

    With your age and drinking history it's highly unlikely you have cirrhosis so don't worry.

    I've had liver pain in the past too and high blood scores etc (yes from drinking) and it's because your liver is swollen which..ok isn't ideal but it can and very likely will totally recover at this stage. Giving up for a month is a good idea and your pain will almost certainly be gone by then though it can take a while. I haven't had a drink for over two months now and mine's totally gone. You may also notice that sugary and high fat foods trigger the pain (i.e. they're bad for your liver) You may also want to take a supplement. I took something called 'LivPlus' from Amazon which definitely helped with the pain.

    You'll be fine but good luck.

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    • Edited

      two months not drinking is totally amazing Sean and well done. great reply to Patrick and i never had liver problems or pains when i drank. stopped 7 years 3 months ago and never looked back. Patrick should abstain at least on month but also see your gp and nurse for full check up and scan. google the c3 foundation since they are amazing. The Sinclair Method. check them out and watch the videos. 70 percent plus success rate. keep well and best of luck to all of you. regards Robin

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  • Edited

    Hi there.

    So i have similar from time to time and ive had it fully investigated with blood test, ultrasound and then a ct scan. I'm due to have an upper GI scan to investigate further.

    The ultrasound actually didnt show issues with the liver. The CT scan showed cysts and a fatty liver but my GP said that the level i have wouldnt cause liver pain. I have no gall stones but there is something where your gall bladder can spasm causing gurgling/wind type pain and a dull ache in the upoer right abdomen. Do you get pain in your back too? When mine is sore when i bend it hurts.

    i had my cholesterol tested showing that is high which i believe is caused by my alcohol intake over the years. I didnt realise booze contributed to this but its does, which can then cause gall bladder issues and fatty liver.

    Im sure you dont have scarring but maybe asked for a scan. Hard atm with the coronovirus outbreak but maybe get on a waiting list.

    Also if you can just cut down the booze a bit more to as sounds like that is hellping you. I have big time and my pain is very rare now.

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  • Edited

    Hi Patrick.

    I've just registered on this site because I'm in a very similar situation to you and I'm also looking for help. I've been a pretty heavy drinker for 10+ years. From the sounds of it I might be a bit further along though, by which I mean I think I've done more damage and am having more symptoms. For example it sounds like I drink more than you and I've been getting these twinges in my liver, plus itching around my liver, for maybe 5 years. They've significantly worsened recently (and quite quickly) after a bout of increased drinking and now I'm pretty much feeling them constantly even when going for days without a drink. I'm also feeling generally more tired, bloated quite easily, I feel there is a little swelling around my liver and I had quite bad heartburn the morning after my last drink.

    I've had a doctor's appointment too recently and his advice was first to have a blood test and then to look at other tests, such as ultrasounds and fibrascans on my liver.

    The reason I'm telling you this is I think you're right to be worried but I also think you're in a good position to stop and even reverse any damage done. As I understand it there is a stage before cirrhosis called fatty liver disease which may be reversible, whereas cirrhosis isn't. I believe that your symptoms are associated with fatty liver disease. But just don't be complacent about it like I was because it can easily sneak up on you and before you know it you're at the next stage.

    There will be services in your area that can give advice, plus Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline: 0300123110.

    Good luck!

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    • Posted

      hello im bery similar to both patrick and bluem

      im a drinker for 10+ years with all the right side pain , some itching, strange stools and insomnia. im worried sick i gave myself cirrhosis and im scheduled to have a fibrscan thursday after any ultrasound picked up mild fatty liver then ct picked up enlarged liver. did you guys investigate further on your symptoms and how did it all go? i know for me since my blood levels are always good its been 6 months of constant pushing to get this fibroscan since drs dont think i have anything to worry about but they dont live in my body and feel what i feel.

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  • Posted

    Hello BlueM and welcome. Have you had results of your bloodtests?? Check out The C3Foundation on google. Amazing and high success rate of helping alchohols.

    best of luck from Robin

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  • Posted

    Hello, my user name is kferrara12 I am a registered nurse and a baccalaureate nursing student. I am interested in learning more about your experiences with drinking and the reasons that have made you drink more than usual. This will help me understand the real life challenges of patients with this issue and I will use this information to better care for my future patients. thank you!

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  • Posted

    Hi all,

    Really interesting reading your replies and some of you seem to be having similar experiences.

    Update from me - after the initial worry over my liver discomfort back in April i pretty much normalised it and went back to my usual drinking habits (maybe a day or two off it a week), all the while thinking "i really should cut down" but not actually doing it consistently.

    For the past couple of months i've developed a really strong pulse / throb that I can feel throughout my body, it's very noticeable to touch and if i place my hand on my abdomen right below my ribcage you can feel the strong throbbing. A couple of week's ago, after having a few drinks (not a lot, 3 or 4 beers) i woke up at 3am with my heart absolutely racing, sweating, fingertips tingling... This has gave me a real shock

    Happy to report that I haven't had a drink since (two weeks today). This is the longest period without a drink for me for years so i'm fairly pleased & determined to let my liver heal from whatever damage i've built up over the years.

    Anyway, i still don't feel myself. The discomfort in my upper right abdomen remains, and I have bad fatigue & dizziness. The throbbing pulse sensation has gradually eased since my last drink two weeks back which is positive i guess. However, my circulation seems bad (it's never been great, i always would get numb fingers & toes from the cold when my friends are perfectly warm) but i really struggle to keep my hands warm now. I don't know if these circulation & fatigue issues are alcohol/liver related but it seems to be linked as it got worse following the development of throbbing in my abdomen etc.

    I spoke to my doctor and explained i had been feeling unwell & admitted that i had been drinking too much. I got my blood taken for tests last week and very nearly passed out when the blood was taken (four vials). This has worried me in itself as I have no issues getting bloods in the past, and just confirms how i have been feeling lately - weak, lightheaded and spells where i feel like i could faint.

    I called for the results this morning and was told that they returned normal. The lady on the phone told me that the liver test was labelled as "Gilbert's syndrome". This is a fairly benign liver condition that is hereditary and the doctor told me I have when i spoke to him before anyway. So the bloods haven't really really enlightened me about why i have been feeling so run down. I am a little concerned that the doctor has perhaps been dismissive of abnormal results in my liver function because he was expecting this due to Gilberts syndrome.. I hope this hasn't masked a more serious issue. Or am i just being paranoid?

    I'm not sure what to do next. It seems that doctor is content to leave it at that. But i still have liver discomfort, and major fatigue, dizziness, circulation worries etc. Should i push to get scans done?

    Is it possible to have bad liver damage that would not show up in blood tests? Or should i take this a positive development and just move forward?

    Note: i tested positive for Covid-19 a month ago. I had flu like symtoms & loss of smell for a few days but these passed. I guess the residual fatigue etc. could be down to covid.

    I am resolved not to touch a drink for the remainder of the year in any case. Pleased with myself for reaching the two week mark - but a little disappointed that i don't have boost in general feeling of wellbeing that I was looking forward too! Will continue to abstain, follow a healthy diet & get back to exercising when i feel i have my energy back.

    Hope everyone is doing well - and would be interested to hear from you guys.

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  • Posted

    Hi all,

    (Hopefully) a final update from me.

    Doctor gave me a referral for an abdominal ulstrasound scan which has returned as all normal thankfully. Together with the good blood scores I am counting myself as having been very lucky. I might look into getting a private fibroscan just for final peace of mind and make sure some liver damage hasn't been missed, but delighted to have got good results so far.

    I'm now six weeks alcohol free (a personal best!), feeling good & no plans to have another drink.

    Thanks for the help & good luck!

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