British Liver Trust

Cirrhosis and diarrhoea

My husband has just spent a week in hospital with confusion and diarrhoea. They discharged him on boxing day, but later on in the day and though the night he had really bad diarrhoea, so bad that he soiled the bed in the night. The hospital just told me to give him plenty of fluids and keep an eye on him. He seems to be a bit better, but he's not eaten very much. Is this usual with cirrhosis?

6 Replies

Hello Bonair,

I'm really sorry you're having a difficult time. I can assure you that you are far from alone in dealing with this particular aspect of liver disease. ( just ask my partner Lucy )

There is a practical solution to your husbands present problem. He may well reject the idea outright, but I was so ill before my transplant I didnt' really have much choice.

I'm talking about incontinence pads. Its a difficult subject but it has to be faced honestly. Yes, he may say its undignified, but it can help enormously. You might also get a protective mattress cover as well.

Unfortunately the lactulose often prescribed will result in loose stools. Perhaps your GP can help with a prescription for the diarrhoea. The adult pads are available at any chemist.

Take care and have a good new year.



Thanks Jim. I have bought a protective mattress cover after having to get up at 3 am to change the bedding and trying to clean the stains on the mattress.

My husband Jeff had an appointment for his first assessment for a liver transplant at Leeds, but because he was in hospital yet again, we had to cancel that appointment and I've now arranged another one for 20 January.

I see from your message that you have had a liver transplant. As this is Jeff's first assessment, could you advise me on what happens please?

I have jokingly suggested the incontinence pads, because my elder father had to have them when he was poorly, but it is a good idea if the diarrhoea continues. I presume it's a common problem then?


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hello there - my husband has had diarrhoea virtually constantly for 9 or 10 weeks now. the GP eventually did something, we saw a consultant and he is going to have a colonoscopy next month. he had one less than 2 years ago so they were reluctant but he was at his wits' end and just wants something done. they also said he has markers for cancer because of weight loss and anaemia. nobody so far has said that diarrhoea is a part of liver disease (he has non alcoholic cirrhosis). he is so worn out and demoralised that it is really affecting him on top of everything else, the pain etc. Pads are a good idea specially for nights. He still eats the same foods, I have tried to change his diet to things which will go easier with his stomach such as fish and veg but he loves meat. Maybe if your husband is more open to change that might be something to try? there are lots of good ideas and recipes online for liver patients. In a way I am relieved that he is not the only one and maybe it is a common element of this horrible disease. All the best to both of you x


Hi, thank you for your reply. It's, as you say, demoralising for your husband and mine. I've mentioned wearing the pads, but obviously, he's not keen. That annoys me because I'm the one who has to clean it up! It's hard for my husband and yours to live with this disease, but it's also hard for us as partners.

My husband's liver cirrhosis is due to alcohol and I was at the stage of leaving him when he decided to stop drinking totally on my birthday nearly 4 years ago, We had 3 good years, but the last 12 months have been very difficult for both of us. I'm sure you're the same as I am that you can't plan anything. I've already cancelled theatre trips and holidays and although I keep saying we won't book anything in advance, it sometimes is like giving up altogether and we both need something to look forward to.

I hope your husband's health improves and pray that there is no cancer present.

Best wishes to you too.


Thanks for replying. Yes it is hard for us wives/carers, too - like you, I can't arrange any trips or events yet it also feels so important as you say not to stop entirely as that is an admission of so much! Hard to keep optimistic when the future looms...also I find it a challenge as my husband grows more self-absorbed inside his illness - that's something I can relate to re your husband's not wanting to wear pads - understandable and still, as you say, it adds extra work and stress for you. It's very lonely sometimes!

I'm glad you had those good years together. Sending you my very best wishes and am glad we can connect here.


Hi, yes it is very lonely. Its nice to correspond with people in the same position because it makes it a little easier. I feel resentful at times, although I know you shouldn't, but in my case, my husband did it to himself. It was awful watching him drinking for years and he's spoilt so many occasions for us both when he was drunk. Lets hope we both have a happier, healthier 2017.

Please feel free tom message me anytime, when you feel fed up.


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