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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Liver failure & cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is severe scarring of your liver. Over time the scarring can stop your liver from working properly. This is liver failure.

Cirrhosis also increases your risk of developing liver cancer. If you have cirrhosis, your doctor may arrange regular ultrasound scans to watch for this.

Drinking a lot of alcohol is a common cause of cirrhosis. But there are other causes, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD).

Symptoms of cirrhosis

You may not have any symptoms during the early stages of cirrhosis. But as your liver becomes more damaged, you may experience:

Diagnosing cirrhosis

If your doctor suspects you have cirrhosis, they will do a physical examination to look for signs of long-term liver disease.

You may have tests to confirm the diagnosis such as:

Treating cirrhosis

There is no cure for cirrhosis. But there are ways to manage your symptoms, and lifestyle changes that can help stop your cirrhosis getting worse.

You may be given medications to ease your symptoms, such as:

Lifestyle changes you should make include:

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2021.

See also:

Understanding your liver function results

Page reference: 253229

Review key: HILIV-52878