Cirrhosis questions for my MIL

Hi everyone, this is my 1st post here.... My Mum in law was diagnosed with cirrhosis a few months ago. She wasn't a drinker, and the cause "could be" fatty liver. She is taking spironolactone 50mg & frusomide 20mg (to help with the ascites). She has type 2 diabetes. She is quite upset about this, and I really hope you can help me answer a few questions for her:

- she gets pain from the scar caused by the drains. Is there anything she can do to relieve this pain?

- for those who believe in milk thistle, is there a brand you can recommend?

- any tips on how to handle the internal itching?

- anyone been successful in preventing / slowing down the fluid build up?

21 Replies

  • Hello,

    Its really good that you are looking for information and help in order to give support for your mother in law.

    Her GP, practice nurse or consultant should be able to advise on specific symptoms.

    The one thing I can help you with, is your reference to milk thistle.

    The British Liver Trust website has the following:

    I hope this and other information on the site is of use.


  • I have cirrhosis due to alcohol and I visited the website and it is the very best website for liver information I have Ever visited and have had 5 years of liver websites under my belt. Thank you so much for sharing it

  • Hello again,

    As you can see in the advice regarding milk-thistle, extreme caution has to be taken with diabetes.


  • Are u seeing a hepatologist?.

    You need to find the cause of the cirrhosis.

    It's ok treating the ascites but you need to find out why this has developed in the first instant.

    Good luck

  • Good morning all.. Writing to you from the hospital waiting room as MIL has her drain...

    Appreciate all your speedy replies :-)

    LAJ123 & freddie76 Mum is seeing a heaptologist. He's a blessing! Reason for posting my questions here is to get an insight from others in the same boat... The specialists have lots of advsie, and are full of knowledge. I'm just keen to get tips from others who are going through similar things as MIL.

    Re. Milk thistle: There seems to be mixed opinion on this. Hubby & I have read a lot about it- including multiple posts on healthUnlocked and there are many who recommend it. Hepatologist has given his go ahead for us to try it. Thanks for the heads up re diabetes. Seems MT can help that too Will monitor MIL closely..

    Look fowrard to hearing from others going through similar expereince as my MIL. :-)

  • Has she been told to eat a low salt and high protein diet? This was the advice we were given and I understand that it does control the ascites... the lower salt helps with the backing up in the liver and the protein helps with repair to the liver and muscles and to the blood vessels which stops the fluid leaking out. that is my understanding. please check with the consultant, though.

  • From the personal experience point of view this has helped reduce if not eliminate the ascites. No fluid weight gain without using duiretics for three weeks.

  • Hi this could be a start to a long journey ,ive had ulcerative colis since 21 year old ,which after40 years knocked out my liver , just had transplant after4 year wait im doing ok but early days ,asities is apain use to go every 10days draining 10/12 ltrs i then had a tips liver op which took a year to kick in no more drains . but everbody different there are so many varibles diet helps low salt intake sml &often eating i used to snack at night regards Dez

  • Hi,

    Welcome to the forum.

    The British Liver Trust has a publication on Cirrhosis that you may find useful, here is the link;

    With regards to milk thistle, The British Liver Trust does not recommend the use of any homeopathic or herbal remedies for those with any liver problems as these have to be processed by the liver and can actually damage the liver and lead to severe illness.

    More research needs to be done on the use and safety of such remedies and therapies.

    Homeopathic remedies are unregulated in the UK and concentrations of active ingredients vary by brand purchased. If you are considering using complementary or alternative remedies &/or therapies please always discuss this with your liver doctor first.

    As Jim has already kindly posted, here is the link again to 'Complimentary and Alternative medicines' which does highlight Milk-thistle may lower blood sugar levels and people with diabetes or hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) should use caution. If you are thinking of using milk-thistle, it is a good idea to discuss this with your doctor.

    We hope that is helpful,

    Warm wishes


  • Hi Rebecca,

    I have to take issue with the BLT stance on non-pharmaceutical therapy. Virtually all drugs are processed by the liver and most of them can adversely affect liver function, even if they are supposedly necessary for the health condition that they are meant to be covering up (sorry - treating). I don't need to reference this, just read virtually any PIL at random.

  • Interesting reply. Can I ask do you take any other supplements/vitamins, i.e. Probiotics, Taurine, N-ac, D3, B12; and what's your view on diet. I also was written off nearly 4 years ago, but I am still here with no symptoms and on no prescribed Meds. Regards, A

  • Just want to say "well done" for your persistence and staying power! Totally agree that vitamin level testing should be done for EVERYONE as a priority. And that Dr who saved your life deserves a medal! All the best to you.

  • Oh brilliant!! You've succeeded in making me laugh - a rare achievement let me tell you! 😁

  • You've gotta keep smiling - or they win!

    Whenever I see a supposed specialist I always imagine them sat on a toilet with their pants down like the rest of us. If they can manage a number 2 without pulling their pants down then I'll start believing they really ARE God - lol.

  • As I'm seeing one tomorrow - weather permitting - I will bear that in mind! Tho' actually she's one of the good ones, excellent and very caring too. Not to mention long-suffering, having me to cope with!! 😵

  • Good luck tomorrow - I've dropped on a good one and simply refuse to see anyone else now, including the Professor who heads the Department. He stated that there were no cliinical signs of illness requiring treatment when I had ballooned up with a temp of 40C. Pratt!

  • Hi I too had chirrosis - non drinker- had a liver transplant 18 months ago doing well. No repeat of as cities since only taking immune suppressants prescribed by hepatologists don't know about natural remedies I'm afraid. Was also type 2 diabetic now don't do anything just watch what I eat. Good luck x

  • Hello all you wonderfully helpful group! My husband and I are over-whelmed with your support! We are processing all this info and will be in touch tomorrow x

  • Hi all,

    The British Liver Trust have deleted some of the comments in this thread.

    This forum is here to share experiences and provide support to each other and we would advise against any followers posting specific medical advice or advising certain medications.

    This is not a medical forum and should not be used to try and make diagnoses or replace advice from your own medical practitioners who have a much wider view of your health and test results.

    Thank you for your support and understanding.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    British Liver Trust team

  • Cirrho_free,

    I hope that all the advice you've now been given on here have been helpful.

    How is she getting on ?

    I do have one further piece of advice.

    As well as the ascites there may be general fluid retention in the lower limbs and feet. Sometimes in the morning my feet were so swollen it was hard work getting my shoes on.

    What helped me when not mobile, was to raise my legs. When sitting, a foot stool and at night, either the end of the bed raised on blocks of wood or pillows under the feet and calves. Be careful to have the calve supported from knee to ankle as circulation is important. Wriggling the toes and flexing all the leg and foot muscles also helps.

    Whenever possible, despite the fatigue that comes with liver disease, she must be as active as much as she can, walking is perfect.

    Sometimes the simple things can help to make things easier.

    Take care,

    Jim and Lucy

  • Have just seen your post and lots of helpful replies . The best thing I found to reduce ascites was thed diuretics your mum in law is already taking, eventually spirolnolactone was the main cause of my kidney injury and I came of all medication . I was draining 12 /13 litres a week I had a lot of scar tissue at drain sites but no residual pain other the various organs dropping back into place. Itching is a big problem for many the only thing I ever found to mildly help was calamine lotion. The liver is such an egocentric organ you never know what it will take exception to. I never used any homeopathic remedies my liver had enough work to do just to cope with food.I did have a low salt diet and limited my fluid intake. We each have a different selection of known symptoms I did what my liver told me to they kept me alive . My whole family is type diabetic for some reason I have escaped this. From others I travelled this path with I know it is substantial problem. I also know many who have been able to manage this . The greatest advice I would give is to say stay positive and to take the support offered this is not a lone journey.i was told in 1978 things were very bad for me and not to make long term plans. Here I am at 66 with a new liver and a new life. I gave up trying to work out how I got the Hep b that caused my cirrhosis and concentrated on coping with and overcoming the symptoms. In the end when nothing else could be done the love and support of those around me made anything bearable . Show your mother in law all the love can be positive and support you can you are one of the most important medications. Good luck to you all .

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