Could I of damaged my liver??

Hi I'm 26 I've been drinking practically everyday since I was 17. My mum also died of cirrhosis of the liver five years ago. I had a liver test back January 2015 and everything was normal except I am vitamin b12 deficient. Lately I've been getting a dull ache under my right ribs and now it seems to be on the other side and on the back it doesn't hurt to touch sometime its a sharp pain I wner ro see the nurse she felt for my liver and said everything feels normal and its very unlikely anything is wrong. On average I would drink a bottle of lambrini a night and on some weekends a lot more the last few weeks I've cut right down but its still there anyone have any advice please.

32 Replies

  • Hello Leanne, it certainly sounds like your liver is letting you know that it isn't enjoying the punishment it has been getting. Doctors will tell you that the liver itself can not give off pain but what seems to happen is that the inflamed and thereby enlarged liver presses on its surrounding 'capsule' and neighbouring organs and this can indeed cause upper right quadrant aches and pains as you described.

    If all was well in liver function tests in January it is highly unlikely to be a leap to serious liver damage already, however, you well know that you have been giving your liver a bad battering with that amount of alcohol intake and having seen your mum die of cirrhosis I am sure it is not a path you would wish to follow.

    My suggestion would be to revisit your doctors and be honest about your regular alcohol intake and amounts and explain your fears. It might be just that your liver is inflamed just now, palpating the liver as your nurse probably did wouldn't really tell much unless the liver was showing levels of stiffness (i.e. signs of cirrhosis - when my hubby's tummy is palpated even student doctors have identified that his liver is small, hard and shrunken i.e. cirrhotic). What you need is to be referred for ( at the least) an ultrasound scan to see if it shows up anything and also a repeat of your liver function tests.

    Early stage liver damage can be reversed providing the cause is identified and removed. Your liver is giving you a warning just now, if you remove the booze (a phased reduction to zero intake would be advisable) and eat properly and look after yourself then you are still young enough to turn this around but only if it hasn't gone too far.

    Go to your doctors, request an ultrasound scan & repeat full liver panel blood tests. If you feel you need it seek help in reducing and/or stopping your alcohol intake.

    Wishing you all the very best Leanne,

    from Katie :)

  • Hi thank you for the advice, I know it sounds bad but I really don't want to give up alcohol all together as I do enjoy it i have been cutting down quite a lot, I have a doctors appointment Friday so hopefully they will give me blood tests again apparantly the nurse said where ineleas feeling pain wasn't even my liver but still.i worry and since I've been worrying that's when the pain spread so I don't know if its in my head now it does go away when I take paracetomals

  • Any abdominal pain below the ribs needs checked out, doctors will often say the liver doesn't hurt but currently caring for my hubby who is awaiting a transplant he certainly gets niggles in the upper right quadrant and used to have issues on the left too which is when the spleen enlarges.

    It's good that you are seeing doctor on Friday - request an abdominal ultrasound as well as blood tests and that will show whether the liver is 'grumbling' or getting inflamed/enlarged.

    Some doctors will say you can still drink within the national guide line limits but every drop of alcohol you give your liver to handle is more toxins and eventually if you are getting warnings already your liver could get really damaged. If you do develop cirrhosis and in the long run require a transplant you would not be listed or receive a transplant if you could not demonstrate the ability to stay sober.

    That is probably a long way off but if an ultrasound or blood results show that your liver is struggling it might be something you seriously need to consider. You are obviously worried about it. My hubby is t-total and still facing a potential transplant and there are others on here who have been through the whole deal of alcohol induced cirrhosis leading to transplant and others who have watched loved ones die through it.

    I am not going to lecture you - at the end of the day it is your life and its up to you where you go from here.

    Katie :)

  • are you male or female?

    In short, yes you could have done alot of damage in 9 years, especially drinking everyday.

    The fist thing you need to do is to get blood tests and ultrasound and tell the doctor about your alcohol problem. You may get away with some fatty liver that can be resolved with stopping drinking. If your not in too bad shape, you really need to ask yourself where you want to be when your 35,45,55? you cant carry on drinking everyday, it WILL destroy your health sooner or later.

    You need to eat a healthy diet, fresh veg an fruit, limit fat, get plenty of water down you and exercise. Some extra B vitamin tablets might be an idea. Your current b12 issues are likely because of the alcohol.

  • I'm female I had results in January that came back fine

  • Can you post them? also the bloods dont give the whole picture, I would get an ultrasound atleast too

  • No sorry i just asked for the results and they said normal so I left it at that. Yeah I'm not sure now if I'm getting the niggling feeling from worry if that makes sense

  • get an ultrasound may ease your worries

  • It is never a good thing to drink as much as you describe. Cutting back is good. Even if you find your liver is okay after all the tests and scans It might be a good idea to reassess your relationship with alcohol. Do you put it first? Sadly, your mother died of cirrhosis but you do not mention what was the cause of her disease? When someone like our parent dies we often imagine their suffering..and...the events that lead to their death. Perhaps thinking that if we acted differently, they may still be alive..or, if they behaved differently we could have done more to save them. Grief can torture us before we find the strength to move forward. sounds like you are doing that. Good luck.

  • Unfortunately this is a common and growing situation. I'll be blunt with you but you may not like it. You are on the route to alcoholism if you aren't already dependant. The red flag is the fact you said you drink everyday and enjoy it. I won't lecture you because I did exactly the same as you when I was younger, and for a whole lot longer, but my job was the major cause. Work hard, play hard.

    The liver will take a lot of abuse until one day it says enough is enough. If you require a transplant then the facts are you won't be given one as someone who is alcohol dependant which basically means you will die before your time. Can you reverse this? Yes of course you can but you need to talk to your gp NOW. Not next week. Not next month. ASAP. Using your parents death as an excuse is not good enough. We all lose parents, some of us before we should, yes me included, so I'm talking to you from very similar circumstances. From today, see if you can go a whole week without any alcohol whatsoever. If you can't you need more help than you think. I won't and can't lecture you. You're an adult. Do you have kids? Do you want them? If you do have kids then you're on the way to losing them through being an unfit parent. You can't look after children properly with a drink problem.

    Or, you can continue to drink, and down that road to an early death. Take a good read of some of the other people on this forum. See how their lives are affected by their liver breaking down. See how the people around them have the extra stress to deal with. Look at the big picture. Life is precious. Why waste it? Find other interests so that you don't sit in the house every night drinking. Look at the money you can save. How about a lifestyle change? You can do anything you want if you apply yourself.

    One last thing, liver test results can show no issues at all if a part of the liver is functioning fine. It may only be 25% functioning fine though.

    It's all down to you but you do have a drink problem which needs addressed.


  • Hi leanne, if i could go back 6 years from when i was diagnosed i would be your age, i would if what i knew now and what i have been through took a whole lot more notice of my body, but also the history of what your mother went through. I really wouldn't tell anyone what to do i cant, but if i can make you aware of how much mylife has changed and how i wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    I have lived day to day worrying if i going to throw up blood again, then end up in a coma again that in itself took a year to get over but the fear there long term. When toxins build up in me cause my liver not working i am like a 90 year old with dementia, i cant use my mobile, tv, i forgot how to use the toilet, and i have fell over on many occasions, splitting my head open and also losing control of my bladder cause i couldnt get up, i cant sleep for months, then i cant stop sleeping, i have no energy, i have gone out and fell asleep on buses and one time in a waiting room for five hours its so embarrassing, i have put my family and husband through so much i feel guilty most of time, my personality changed drastically from a happy go lucky young woman who was planning a family, to an angry, argumentative, miserable person that was the worst stage for me. I have accepted way my life is now and i got hope back, but that took years.

    I do suggest you read People's posts on here daily though to bear in mind you have a choice, do i keep drinking alcohol and take the risk of being in the same predicament as us, or do i make a change for the better and live a happy and healthy life........ believe me a few months of the booze you really wont miss it. Good luck and stay healthy :)

  • Hi all thanks for posting, I've already been taking days off the alcohol and I have no side effects, I sleep well have no shakes not itchy ect I didn't mention my mums death for sympathy or to use as an excuse as o why I drink, I drank this way before she died I brought it up as she died of cirrhosis of the liver through alcohol I do not have kids and I still work a full time job and keep my house up together ect so I'm not completely addicted to alcohol I've done a stupid thing drinking for so long when I don't need to and can give up easily but I do enjoy a drink is what I'm saying id like to keep having a drink on weekends ect not everyday

  • you are addicted to alcohol. if your not, starting right now take 6months off.

    I used to be an unrepentant drinker, i loved it, i used to get sloshed a couple of times a week until I was 38 years old, i even used to do the dry January every year, to prove I didnt have a problem. Then after a heavy a couple of days i got ill, it took 5months to feel better, 6 weeks off work and every shift was a marathon after that. slowly, 10 months on im getting back to my old self. Luckily my Liver appears to be fine, only a tiny amount of fat found. But the Doctor suspects I had Pancreatitis and most of the evidence was gone by the time I had my first blood tests. Yes, I could have died from this. If its not your liver it WILL be something else and WITHOUT warning.

    If you really want know the score go for a Fibroscan, its the best tool for checking the Liver. Even if your tests are fine, the idea is to stop while they are fine and not see it as a green light to drink.

    Your liver needs a good few years alcohol free to recover from the 9 years abuse I should think. don't fall into the "just at weekends" trap, i have read many that try this and fail.

  • sounds similar to my condition & not to alarm you as it might be nothing & i am no Dr but i was diagnosed with Hep E - i hardly drank & do not know. my advise is to try to stop drinking alcohol & ask for a blood test to test for hepatitis

    in the mean time try to be positive

    take care


  • Hi,

    I think it would be very useful for you to check out the site

    There are some forums on there that could give you some very good advice

    on how to be a moderate drinker, also how to help when giving up alcohol .

    Hope this helps.

  • Stop drinking for 6 months and if you want to resume after cut back drastically or you could follow in your mother's footsteps.a yellow flag has been attention !

  • Cutting out the booze is a great step, itz sad what happened to your mum, however that should help you to realize how important your liver is.

    Take note of your aches and pains, from what you have said you need to look after yourself better, our bodies were not designed to filter all that alcohol.

    Although you're not diagnosed with a serious liver complaint, the discomfort on you're right side at the front & back is where the liver is situated.

    Look up healthy liver food diets and treat your liver to some help with the lifestyle, you will feel the better for it.

    I went on a healthy liver food diet and it helped me to get back to normal quicker, I have auto immune hepatitis, I won't actually get better but I do feel much better for a liver healthy diet.

    Look after yourself, look after your liver.


  • Hi guys thanks for all your advice I've been to the doctors with my concerns and he's sent me fir another blood test and ab ultrasound to put my mind at rest ill keep you updated

  • Hi Leanne,

    I'm new to this site as of today and your post is the first that got me "hooked" as It made me realize how extensive alcohol can affect our every cell.

    I am going to make an appointment to get the above tests done asap.

    I'm 50 and have been drinking, well, forever!!

    I wish I had this information when I was your age.

    PLEASE let me/us know the results of your ultrasound and how you are doing

    Thanks so much!


  • Hi sadiegirl I had my bloods down back in May they came back fine again I'm getting my ultrasound this Thursday as I missed the last one as I was honeymoon. I'm hoping it all comes back ok I've been cutting down on the drink and having alcohol free days how much do you drink?

  • Hi Leanne! Sorry I couldn't figure out how to see my messages..... till now. OK, I have wine when I come home from work, bottom line, a Bottle a night. Way too much for standards. I've been drinking for Many Years... used to work in restaurant business since 16 and I"m now 50! I didn't drink this much but overall you get the picture! When I had my annual physical this year I asked for them to look at the liver. They left me a message saying that all liver enzymes were fine (since last week, I found out that this is not a good test; one could have liver disease and still get a good reading) so they did one more test and said I had Enlarged Red Blood Cells. I looked it up and Voila- Alcohol is one of the main reasons for this and just lately I have been reading about how alcohol affects all aspects of our body and WOW!! I have not gone 2 days in a row without a drink for over a year and kept saying that I wanted to just go ONE WEEK without, but had yet to follow through.

    For some WILD reason, after I read about the effects of Alcohol- it resinated with me and all I can say, since then- I have not had a Drop of alcohol! I made it through 12 days and I started taking Milk Thistle and B12. Dr's office had called me back saying no need to see me, that my "Blood would go back to normal". I went Ballistic as I had read up on this and marched right into my Dr's office today and they sent me for blood test of my B12 and Thiamine (Which I ASKED FOR!!) I am having an Ultra Sound next Thursday! I asked for a Fibroscan (that I heard on some site, perhaps this one as well!??) that this is the BEST test for testing your Livers' Health. BUT.... she never heard of the test!? I live in the US and didn't realize that this site was British until after I was hooked on it! :-)) So..... "One" has Never been in my vocabulary on anything.... unless it's to see a concert and I'm sitting in Row 1!!! OK, sorry but I have no one to talk to and well, let me know if you get any other tests besides the ultrasound, thanks so much!!! Colleen

  • It doesn't seem to bad that you've only been drinking everyday for a year I had a vitamin b12 deficiency and started a round of injections and that now has came back clear I read that it could be through alcohol but the doctors don't seem to take me seriously because of my age even though I've been drinking practically everyday since I was 17 so coming up to nearly ten years which is bad! I now have my alcohol free days I hope all is well with my liver as I do enjoy having a drink on a weekend now I'm sure your tests will be fine and well done for kicking in the drink I will give an update as soon as I get my results as far as I'm aware though even though I go for my scan tomorrow I won't find out the results for maybe another two or three weeks x

  • Hi Leanne~

    Thanks for responding :-) Just to clearify, I have been drinking Daily for Years... I have NO idea how many, but I'd say just the past year or so I drank moreso each day. I was just saying that I had not gone more than a day without in more than a year.... ONLY because I made a fool out of myself with the guy I was seeing and vowed to "get a better relationship with alcohol". Well, that was over a year ago and I only made it for 8 days (my goal was a month). Then I started back and vowed "only 2 drinks a night", etc etc I bargained every which way with myself, and it all comes back to at least a bottle a day.

    Yeah, now, for some reason, AFTER reading this site one night and doing a little bit more research on how alcohol affects our health, I said "shit, I'm stopping until I find out exactly what state my Liver, body is in!" The first 3 days I ALMOST Gave in just to have "one" glass of wine. Then I told myself, who are you kidding??! The word "one" doesn't enter my mind on Anything in life. It's true... aspirin to food. Never just "one".

    So, yeah, I have NO idea what my future relationship with alcohol will be. I do know it's much easier to have 0, than to try to keep it only 2 a day (which is STILL over the limit!).

    I Love it and I hope after all is said and done that I stop for months (OMG!! I can't even imagine!!) and get a Good Health Report, and then and only then, revisit my interaction with the drink. If I mess up, then I should quit forever.

    Now, the wild thing is, we are all talking about "Our Liver" but it is pretty darn interesting that the Liver is only ONE of the many parts of our body that is dented by alcohol. Just google How does alcohol affect my body/health. OMG Girl.... it affects our Brain, Sleep, kidneys, heart, nervous system, blood pressure, stomach, personality, etc.

    I have been drinking since 16--- I'm 54. So MANY years more than you and even if all my tests come back "ok" (well, I already know I have enlarged blood cells from alcohol) I Know, deep in my mind and heart, that my body is FAR From what it would be IF i had not abused alcohol. Heck, they aren't testing us for everything under the sun, we are mainly concerned and testing for results on our liver.

    We need to start thinking "Smarter, not harder". Ya know??!

    I know for a fact, that if down the road I am able to have a few drinks for the whole week, I will definitely appreciate it a heck of a lot more than I have my past 40 years of drinking... Shit, I don't even act or look 40!! OK, my ultrasound is in a week, and I sure hope my results come back quickly!

    FYI- My GF who I walk with said "you don't have a problem with alcohol if you can give it up cold turkey for 12 days now and have no side affects".

    Now, many agree but deep down, I know I have an issue with it. I think it's only FEAR that got me to just STOP (for right now anyway).

    PS- you most likely know this but, someone can be an "alcoholic" if they ONLY drink on the weekends. I heard this when I was in my 20's. It's true. It's not the "Cookie Cutter" image that most people have of an alcoholic, but for the one who are in the know, realize that the true test is "Can we just have one".

    One is too many and 100 is not enough- one of AA's slogans I've read.

    That's why it's Easier for me to have ZERO Right now, than try to have 1!

    Oh--- One last thing (sorry!) but I swear, you may love me for this. I HIGHLY Suggest reading the book "Drinking; A Love Affair" by Carolyn Knapp. It's her memoir- I think you may enjoy it and be able to relate to some of it. It's just a great read :-)

  • Hi Coleen oh right I see, I thought you'd only been drinking heavy the past year! It's worrying isn't it I think it's great that you managed not to have a drink and I am like you I can't just have the one! I love drink I'm not gonna lie I'm so scared about my scan today I just hate that I'm gonna have to wait about another two -three weeks for results and I'll order that book and give it a read! I wasn't aware that alcohol effects other parts of the body and your right everyone worries just about the liver for the time being I'm going to just stick to worry about that though lol thanks for replying x

  • Hi Girl~ You can get the book cheaper on amazon :-)

    When you have time, just google "how does alcohol affect my body". It's just knowledge and that can't hurt. It is what I believe will HELP me Not drink now (at least until all my tests results come back) and also Help me have a Much Healthier relationship with Alcohol in the future if I feel it's "safe" to try. That will be almost harder than none at all believe it or not. As there's nothing to think about when I have ZERO, but once I start with one, well, I guess time will tell but I do believe I have the WILL to do anything IF I really put my mind to it!!!

  • Hi just to update I've had my scan and they can tell you there and then of anythings wrong she said I was fine but to keep on track with my liver I asked if there was any fat or anything and she said a tiny bit but nothing worth mentioning I'm pleased that it's not worst and I do want to reverse the bit of fat that's on there I hope your scan goes well too x

  • GREAT NEWS!!!! I know you are relieved!!!! Most of what I have read is some damage is reversable if we stop or cut down on drink, but the worst is often times not detectable until the damage is done so I am SOOO Glad that we are checking it now. I think it's good to keep it in mind as once we stop being aware or learning how bad even One Day of binge drinking can be, it's eye opening!! I LOVE IT so much but haven't respected it, ya know?! I am psyched you found out right away!! Now how is your B12?! I had my blood tested for it yesterday so I'll find out results within week. My Scan is a week from Today!! I am taking high does of B12 (liquid form) and also Milk Thistle. (The later helps the liver function better, can't hurt!) Both are over the counter! OK, is there a way to private message on this site?! Or... you have facebook as I wanted to write tomorrow without the world seeing some stuff......?! thanks! SadieGirl xx

  • Yeah add me on fb Leanne bone was Lancashire haha and yeah I am relieved although I have still have the pains in my ribs but they seem to think it's because I do a desk job lol and my b12 deficiency has gone now I had 6 injections and it cleared itself up. I'm so glad I'm starting to finally realise the importance of looking after myself add me on fb xx

  • Awe, I looked for your reply but thought you deleted me or something, (thinking I said something wrong!)

    Guess I haven't figured this message thing out too well. OK, it's super duper late here so I'll check on FB for you right now! :-)

    But wont write as I'm BEAT!!! FYI- going on my 19th day! OMG I truly can't believe it.... Perhaps because I did NOT plan to take a break, it "just happened" once I stumbled upon this site! AT LEAST 3 times a week I'd say to myself while walking my dog in the morning, "Just Stop for a Week" to see how I feel!! And I never ever did... and now, I didn't say anything, I just "Did It" and haven't told anyone :-))

    In 2 days in my ultrasound! The Dr's Office left me a message saying that my B12 test came back "fine". I Wont take that answer, i will call them tomorrow and ask what # is it. I have read a little on it and one site said "some people say 200-350 is fine, but they treated anyone 450 and under. So I want my # to be Above 500. What WAS your # when you were defient and what did it come up to???!!!

    THANKS!! OK, now to FB..... xx

  • Hiya I never asked what te exact figures were lol and well done your doing really well! Do you feel better for it? And good luck for tomorrow!!! X

  • Hi Leanne, I think I found you on FB and sent a friend request but perhaps I asked the wrong person?! I am tired but wanted to say hi. My ultrasound showed that I have an enlarged liver but Not fatty...??! I couldn't find any topics on this issue here so I am trying to not drink but it's all new and I have cut down a TON but really should even moreso. I will repeat the test in 6mos.... I hope you are doing well on your goals! :-)

    Take care,


  • Hi SO sorry for the late reply this has only just shown up didn't get a request what dd they say about it being enlarged??? Have you found anything on the internet? Hope your ok x xx

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