Reasonably heavy drinking, damage? - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Reasonably heavy drinking, damage?


3 months ago I have a heavy couple of drinking nights watching the world cup.

1st night about 18-20units

1 night off

2nd night 18-20 units

After this I felt like crap for a couple of weeks, I went to the doctors fearing i was dying. I was examined which felt fine to the doctor i had a liver function test and full bloods, white blood slightly high(now 3weeks after binge) all came back perfect, i remember GGT was 23

So i went to work for about 1 month and still felt weak, pain in stomach and perhaps liver ache and bad tempered etc, by this time i had been reading forums about cirrhosis etc and was terrified and not sleeping and having massive anxiety and depression issues.

I went back to the doctors and again had LFT and full bloods(now 10 weeks after binge) all perfect

GGT=19 ALT=20 plateletts=270000 white blood normal etc. They also found I had Gastritis.

Doctors are starting to think its in my head, i pushed for a Ultra Sound and had to go private, this came back all normal, smooth, no hypertension signs etc.

My drinking besides this binge has been around 20-40 units a week for 10 years ish, sometimes none, months off etc, weeks off sometimes. I have always eaten pretty good, 3 meals a day, veg etc

it is nearly 3 months now and obviously I have had no alcohol since, im feeling better very slowly and had a bout of yellow stools that has now cleared and been fine for several weeks. But i just cant shake the fear that im about to die from liver damage in the middle of the street of something, im becoming reclusive and want to stay in my flat. Im aware that people can have serious issues with good LFTs and Ultra sound, how common is this? I have read some proper horror stories on the forums!

11 Replies

This could be for you :)

Yeah Mr Google can scare you silly. As your LFTs have come back normal you are not about to die in the street from liver damage. But you have had a shock and a wake-up call. Good luck in staying off the drink, thats the way to go.

in reply to Bolly

hi bolly, i have been following some of your posts, good advice.

I havent had a problem stopping at all, very easy to be honest. i just thought it normal to have some wine once/twice a week, you know the old i work all week and deserve to relax. Ive grown up with beer around me, I dont know anyone who has ever drunk the recommended limits! Also the binge when major sporting event were on. Im shocked how much damage alcohol can cause if your not careful, i really had no idea!

im going to get a fibroscan in January I think, im becoming very much anti-alcohol, which i never dreamed of! it needs to be classed as a drug, simple as that.

google scared the crap out me and some of the cirrhosis sites for sure, im still having difficulty dealing with it, i have beta blockers if it gets to much, but i need get off those and get back into normal life, this whole escapade has crushed me mentally. some horror stories of good LFTs and scans, but people still having major damage has made me doubt the 4 different doctors i have seen and the imaging and blood tests.

Also, can cirrhosis be halted? Are you familiar with Andy Fordham the darts player, i remember he collapsed in 2007 with ascites, he is still going now with 25% of his liver working, so im guessing it can controlled to a point?

Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to

As your US came back normal, smooth and your liver function is normal, then I would willingly place a £££$$$ bet you dont have cirrhosis. So stop angsting about maybes and start dealing with facts> Fact: you have realised you drink too much. Fact: you are doing something about it (Big gold star for that) Fact: you have decided to get a fibroscan (silver star for that, probably not necessary but the result will be low and put your mind at rest). Fact: you are going to educate your friends to the risks of alcohol. (another star for that). Alcohol is a toxin, same as drugs and medication. We only have one liver, it does far far more for us than most people comprehend, so give it lots of TLC, cos if you bugger it up you have to wait for someone to die to get a new one, and to me that is a horrible horrible thought and something to avoid.

Cirrhosis is difficult if not impossible to reverse (though some studies say it can be) but can be slowed. Fibrosis can be reversed.

in reply to Bolly

my liver certainly wasnt happy with me, dark urine for a couple of days, Gastritis was painful and still is there a little, i feel such a fool and had to tell the doctors my whole sorry story.

My drinking days are well and truly over! I have a friend that hardly eats and drinks atleast 4 cans of stella everyday and then 2 huge binges over the weekend, im very concerned and am trying to get him to go the doctors asap!

I find the education on this matter shocking, GPs dont have a clue what a fibroscan is! People go to them and have an LFT, if thats normal people think its ok to carry on because their Liver is obviously bullet proof, but and LFT wont tell you if you close to a problem as far as I understand it?

Dont get me wrong im please with all my test results, not even a sign of fatty liver, although a Ultra Sound can only pick moderate to major damage? im sure my liver was slightly swollen for a few days, that worries me.

Hi Ralph, Don't worry about cirrhosis worry more about bingeing. Alcohol doesn't just cause chronic damage to the liver and gastric tract it can be an acute toxin. It sounds like you've suffered this. There's no problem in light drinking e.g. a couple of glasses at social events, but when you pile the quantity in you can literally drink yourself to death in one session. As in all things, moderation is king. Turn off your laptop and turn on your life. Take the message your recent illness has sent and live within your limits. Good luck for the future, Phil

I am sorry about one of the comments. Alcohol does cause damage to the liver, I should know, I had cirrhosis and a liver transplant caused by excessive alcohol. From what you say, I agree that google is not the best place to go for advice,it is purely a search engine and individuals cannot appreciate this. I would suggest staying away from alcohol as this will do no harm ahd try to "cool down", just "hover" if you understand what I am trying to tell you. You cannot separate the body from the mind and you are doing no good to yourself by excessive worrying. Your blood tests etc are okay, why not accept this and get on with everyday life, enjoy yourself, get more involved perhaps sport or a new hobby. Something to occupy your mind. I wish you the very best of good fortune in your journey FORWARD!

Hi ralph2014, have to agree with the posts above. Please stay off google you will worry yourself for no reason. You are right LFTs don't tell the whole story and are used as an indicator. But you've had an ultra sound and if you had any damage that would normally pick it up, I was diagnosed with US so you can trust it. Also if you did have cirrhosis its not the end of the world, it is possible to live a normal healthy life as long as you can stop the cause i.e. if its caused through alcohol, stop drinking and you can stop it progressing. But your US results have showed you don't have any damage so stop worrying. Use this as a wake up and move on with your life and enjoy it. All the best.

Im now tee-toatal, now im aware of the risks, its a big no thank you to alcohol! my drinking hat has now been hung up forever.

Im feeling better everyday and glad i have seen the light. Also some of the people on this site have had much bigger issues than me through no fault of their own, i feel very foolish and humble.

It has been very hard not to worry, but I have 2 lfts and full bloods taken 10 weeks apart and an ultra sound, all perfect, there isnt much else I can do with regards to tests etc. I'll have to take the doctors word on this for now. I wont forget this escapade for a very long time!

thanks for your comments


ancientadolesent if you dont mind me asking how much were you drinking and for how long? were you a morning drinker?

ive been following alot of posts here and its commendable that your trying to warn people! im doing what I can too, i now realise my 3/4 or so bottles of wine a week was infact an addition and I was lying to myself when I thought because I worked I deserved it. Alcohol takes over your mind once it worms its way in. I realise im surrounded by undiagnosed alcoholics, differing degrees of addiction, but still a mighty scurge on most people I know, its frightening when I think about it.

Im now enjoying reading some great books and drinking coffee, i feel so much clearer and enjoy my time, rather than shuffling around with a slight dull hang over!

"GPs don't have a clue what a Fibroscan is!" - that's probably because they are not liver specialists. They are 'generalists', the clue is in the name. I remember one GP on a recent TV series saying she thought of herself as a 'gatekeeper', in that she had to decide who could be treated in the community by her, and who needed to be referred to a local hospital for further tests. It's over this decision that many GP's must angst and probably make some errors of judgement. Not all hospitals have a Fibroscan machine, and if there isn't one in your GP area why would they know about them?

One thing i wish would change is the habit of large supermarkets of piling up cheap multipack beer offers by their main entrance, particularly noticeable around major sporting events etc. Its depresses me to see people's trolleys full of these packs. Also around music festival time it depresses me to see young festival goers pulling suitcase trolleys stacked high with crates of beer - do you really need to be drunk to enjoy listening to your favourite band?

Bolly, GPs know about LFT, Ultrasound, MRI, Biopsys etc, considering a Fibroscan has been around a few years now and is pretty main stream especially regarding Hep patients, then im sorry but yes I do expect a GP to have atleast a concept of what it is!

I was also sent a list from BLT and yes there is a Fibroscan in the main hospital just 2 miles from the GP surgery, also there are ALOT of NHS hospitals now now have them, there were more than 100 on this list, most people should be pretty close to one now.

I can agree with you with the cheap beer thrown at us all the time, its needs to stop and people need to be educated more about the dangers!

One thing that needs considering is the LFT, people get a good result and then may not have another LFT for a year, by that time they could well go into the danger zone, an LFT is only a snap shot of the current function. Through my stupid escapade i havent been told once to not drink, its all self imposed. the other week I was asked how much I had drunk since my huge hanger over, i was speechless, none of course! then i was told im handling the alcohol well and can still drink, but slow down! no doctor out of 4 has encouraged me to consider drinking none!

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