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British Liver Trust
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Liver pain

I was hospitalised for 3wks in July with "acute viral Hepatitis" And as my ALT came down to almost normal from 2100 inside a month, they reckoned it was a one off flu virus that attacked my liver but I have to have blood tests regularly for the next two years in case it's autoimmune. My liver is quite sore again the last two days and I'm home from hospital a month now... How long does the pain and swelling last? Eating more than a few mouthfuls makes it worse as does using a mop, lifting and bending down. When will this be over? consultants don't seem to know. They said my liver function was almost back to normal when I left hospital but that they couldn't say how much damage has been done till all the inflamation is gone. That doesn't make sense to me either. Believe the best place to learn about illness's is from others who have or are suffering from it and so far that's certainly been true here. Thanks so much in advance.

3 Replies

I dont think we can add anything in the way of advice apart from what was recommended on your previous post, which was it doesnt sound completely normal and to go to your GP, get more bloods done, and take results to your appt on the 16th. All I know is that with an acute infection its normally the symptoms that ease first, the blood results second, and the liver histology last. We dont know how enlarged your liver and or/spleen and other organs were during the acute phase. Did you have a scan and did it show enlarged organs (which may be pressing on other things like soft tissue or nerves when you bend and lift). It sounds like your body is still suffering the after effects of the virus, but as most of us on here have a definite hepatitis diagnosis its difficult to advise when we and the docs dont really know what the 'virus' was. Maybe its still lingering somewhere causing inflammation.

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Unless you have a history of blood tests preceding the hepatitis so that you can pinpoint when and how long the virus was attacking your liver cells, I assume that the virus came to notice when you experienced symptoms - or by chance during a blood or other test.. so it may have been going on for a while and damaging a lot of liver tissue...

That being the case your liver has probably taken an almighty battering. The great thing about the liver though is that if you can stop the cause of the hepatitis or the cause disappears, it can regenerate new liver tissue and repair damage. It has to do this cell by cell though and it can take a while - and it should - you don't want runaway processes going on when your liver is damaged.

Hepatitis viruses damage your liver by causing inflammation (hepatitis) which then turns into scar tissue (fibrosis). It takes quite a while for that scar tissue to break down and be replaced with normal tissue - imagine a burn on your skin for example. The good news is is that the liver is very good at repairing and regenerating.

It must be frustrating but it looks like the docs are doing the right thing. First you normalise liver function and reduce or eliminate the cause of the hepatitis. Second you allow a period for recovery of liver tissue. At some point in this process you assess liver damage but there aren't any medical interventions to reduce the damage - they usually monitor and rely on the liver's ability to self-repair - which at this time beats the pants off anything medical science has to offer.

It's also sensible for them to keep an eye out for autoimmune hepatitis - it's possible the immune response to a hepatitis virus can generate antibodies which go on to mistake liver tissue for viral tissue and attack it.

So I would suggest - and it looks like Bolly beat me to it - definitely talk to your medical team about the pain and what you should be expecting and when, but I think it will take some time for things to settle down and for the damage to reverse itself - you just have to provide the best conditions for this to happen.

Very best regards.

PS - I know it goes without saying but obviously you want to avoid doing anything to aggravate the liver in the meantime, smoking and alcohol especially.


Sorry I hadn't read your previous post before my reply and hadn't realised about the itching.

As per other advice bearing in mind that what you had was acute hepatitis, I'd get the GP to check on everything just in case anything untoward is happening that needs to be dealt with in advance of the appointment - otherwise the rest of my reply above still stands.


Thank you so much Mr X, that was really helpful. I will definitely take yours and Bolly's advise and get a blood test before my hospital appointment as the headache which accompanied the first symptoms is back. 😪 thanks to you both for your help.


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