Alcohol related liver damage - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Alcohol related liver damage

Bessika profile image

My daughter is in hospital with Ascites, her liver is damaged and she is very swollen in her abdomin and feet she is in severe pain and on morphine, she had a drain in her stomach but they took it out before it was cleared and sent her home for a rest but she got an ambulance back in as her stomach became that swollen again and she is itching all over. She is very yellow too and the Ascites was infected. I have my grandchildren and am not getting any real diagnosis about how bad she is from anyone. She gave up drinking on her own but became ill about a month after. Can anyone tell me how bad it is or if she will be ok please as I'm going crazy here.

22 Replies

Hey there Bessika. I know its very easy for me to say, but dont panic. There are folks on here that have come back from a problem like this and now lead a healthy and happy life.

I have cirrhosis caused by alcohol too, but I havent yet had ascites develop. It is a very serious condition but it can be controlled / reduced with medications.

If your daughter is jaundiced and with ascites, her liver is in a very poor condition. But thats not to say she cant come back out of this ok. The most important thing for her now is to never drink again. And try to live as healthy lifestyle as possible. Im sure there will be others comment to offer advice and support.

All the best


Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to matt137

Hi Matt, daughter told me today that the doctor told her that her liver is ok and that the medication is working even though they are taking her down to insert another drain in her stomach, but I spoke to her nurse last week who told me her liver was severely damaged! I am really confused.

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Bessika

Your daughter is very severely poorly, the fact she is jaundiced, has ascites and more demonstrates that her liver is both cirrhotic and currently decompensated (seriously struggling). This can be turned around, however, at the moment she is in a bad way (sorry to say). She herself may be confused - there is a high possibility she has symptoms of another late stage liver side effect called hepatic encephalopathy (which is toxins affecting the brain function) and with alcohol withdrawal added to the mix she has either misheard or misinterpreted what doctors have said or is denying the true extent of her condition. If you daughter will allow you to or you can collar her doctor yourself you need to find out the facts.

If you wish to educate yourself about cirrhosis and it's many symptoms have a look at the British Liver Trust page :- (whilst some of it might appear real doom and gloom stuff you've already had responses from members who have been as severely poorly as your daughter and have come out of it the other side but sadly she is very poorly and that may not be the eventuality).

Wishing you & your daughter all the very best, Katie

Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to AyrshireK

Thanks Katie, I had a feeling she misunderstood or is in denial as only a day ago she was leaking water from her feet, itching all over as well as her blood wasn't clotting although she has scanned up now where she had her tube in. She has knocked the scab or itches it off and now fluid is pouring out of the little hole. I didn't think she was better by any means, she is so thin too and still jaundiced ( she has been like this for weeks but wouldn't go to the doctors because she was embarrassed.) She was in morphine when I spoke to her so maybe that's why she is confused.

Hi Jessica, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter and I can imagine how you are trying to cope..first off I was in exactly the same position. Myself 9yrs ago. I had bad ascites, I was suffering malnutrition, coughing up blood , and I was slightly yellow. I had a drain done then was sent home but I was never given any after care advice and I was admitted back in 4 weeks later where I remained for 6 weeks with two more drains. I think the way your daughter was just let out without any care and the fact she had got an infection due to the ascites drain shows they did not do the procedure with due care and attention. Try not to worry , as Matt said there's lots of us on this forum who have or are going through many things. I suggest you talk to her liver consultant and make sure she's getting the right care .. my best wishes to you both..linda

Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to Millie09

Thank you so much, at least now I know I is recoverable.

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to Bessika

Your welcome . She will need lots of tests first to assess her liver, help to remain completely from all alcohol, diet information .make sure you get all the correct support even after leaving hospital . It's a long road ahead but your in the right place for support on this forum.

Hey i know what thats like. I called it my fear of unknown

I was Simpson/minion yellow and such a swollen tummy, people kept asking me when's the baby due!!

Right take bull by horns and constantly ask dr's nurses and anyone in uniform what's going on tell them you demand answers. That's just my approach and it works honest.

All the best


Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to

Thanks Jane I will.

And if they throw big long medical terminology at you ask them firmly write it down. Then come back here and we can explain. X

Trust1 profile image


Welcome to the forum.

Thank you for posting about your daughter, we hope you will find the forum a supportive place to visit.

The British Liver Trust have lots of information and publications that you will find useful to read online.

You can also contact our helpline services Monday to Friday 10am -3pm either by email or telephone, see here for the link;

It is very important to get the specific and accurate medical information that you need from your daughters own doctors and medical team that know her best.

Warm wishes,


Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to Trust1

The hospital will not give me any infomation without her permission which she won't give in case I find out the truth. She now has an infection and is extremely tierd. So that's me left looking after my grandchildren with my world turned upside down and wondering what's going on.

Trust1 profile image
Trust1Administrator in reply to Bessika

It must be very difficult for you when your daughter is refusing to consent to you speaking with the medical team.

You may find the organisation Al-Anon useful to talk to. Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking. Here is the link to their website;

Warm wishes,


Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to Trust1

Thanks Rebecca

The thing is that I have been on the nhs liver web site and she has All the symptoms of severe liver damage, Ascites with an very enlarged stomach, ankles and feet so swollen they leak fluid, she is very jaundiced and itchy as well as not sleeping and sounds lethargic. She is a drinker (and has been a heavy drinker for around 12 years and was drinking over a £100 worth of vodka a week she told me before she gave up a few weeks ago when her problems started. I just don't see how she thinks her liver is ok or could it be?? Or is she in denial. She is very difficult to get along with and won't listen to anyone, I know from talking to friends that this is a trait of an alcoholic. She is angry all the time.

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Bessika

Her liver is not ok, she is suffering from late stage symptoms. As we previously said she is suffering both from alcohol withdrawal plus probable denial of just how serious she is. An infection on top of her existing ascites, oedema, itching, jaundice and everything else is not good news unfortunately.

As AyrshireK said above, no she is definately not ok. Drinking that much even beats my standards by a very long way. Unfortunately I found that while you continue to drink, the symptoms arent so noticeable, they seem to be masked somehow. Its when you stop that you notice they are more prevalent than you first thought.

Her personality sounds as if it is one of an alcoholic, but the changes in her body caused by her liver malfunctioning can also cause personality changes for the worse.

I do hope she sees sense and gives you access to discussions with the doctors. Try and remain positive and keep your chin up. This is not your fault in anyway shape or form.


Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to matt137

Thanks Matt, I just don't understand why she thinks she and her liver are fine and also why she doesn't want me to get any information about her condition! I have her two small children one of which is disabled to look after and have had to stop working which puts me in a financial bind and not sleeping myself through worry of the unknown. She is lying to herself and wants me to believe her so that's why no talking to the doctors to get the truth....but why....i can't get my head around it. She asked me to take her home for a few hrs Thurs day so she could wait in for the shopping she ordered!! My son told me that he asked the nurse today when he went if she could and was told effinately not as she also has an infection....why doesn't she get how poorly she is????

A lot of it is just denial. Typical alcoholic behaviour. I ignored the problem for as long as i possibly could before I decided I had to go to the GP. There are carers on here that look after their partners who still drink and deny there is a problem despite seeing liver specialists. Its all part of the addiction im afraid. It really is the hardest thing to cope with.

It would be a very very dangerous move for her to leave hospital with an infection caused by ascites. From what Ive read, it could end in complete disaster for her, you and the kids.

I guess all you can do is offer support to her and the Gkids, and insist she stays in the care of the NHS. Very difficult situation though, I do sympathise with you.

Hi there,

I am sorry to read your posts as to how poorly your daughter is, I was in hospital with Hepatitis from trying to drink myself to death (at least a litre of vodka a day for a few weeks) and had swollen feet and jaundice but only a small amount of ascites. I had no appetite and lost a stone. Steroids eventually worked and I got out 3 weeks later but I will never forget the daily consultants coming round telling me all negative things, in the end I told the nurses to tell them not to bother with me on their rounds. I haven't drunk a thing since and my liver blood tests done 2 days ago are now all in normal range. That is no reason to drink for me though, it simply means that at least I hadn't reached the end stage. The liver is an amazing organ and it can cope with a lot. I have never been a daily drinker per se but when things got too much, especially after a trauma or very high stress levels I self medicated with alcohol.. the rest of the time, including a good few years, I drank barely if at all...

I would have thought that if things were really really serious they would pull you to the side and give you warning, it's worth asking the consultant or a sister on the ward how that is dealt with in this situation.

The strange thing for me seeing the gastro consultant this week was to be told my blood test in March showed up Hepatitis E!!! Even my GP yesterday said that was rare and he was going to go off and 'read up on it'.....

I keep everything crossed that your daughter will pull through this, it must be heart breaking to see her like this and very stressful for you.

Take good care of yourself and keep us posted,

Michelle xx

Bessika profile image
Bessika in reply to Miche49uk

Thanks Michelle, they are discharging her today saying she will get more rest at home. Her stomach is going down and although still jaundiced that will go too. She still has to go back for blood tests and is having a scan later (She will come home unless something untoward shows up.) She also has been referred to Phoenix future who I am told are very good with alcoholics as a lot of the councillors are ex addicts themselves. Her mood must have change again as she asked the doctor to phone me!!. Or she thought I wouldn't believe he as she does lie a lot and even believes her own lies and she knows I know that, but I'm glad I've spoken to someone and that she is allowed home as she hates the hospital. I hope you are able to carry on successfully even with your new problem. The hardest thing I've learnt is for an alcoholic to admit they have a problem and can't really move on without that acknowledgement to themselves. She has been told that if she drinks any alcohol it will most effinately kill her so I hope she will take this on board and take the help offered but she is very stubborn and thinks she can do it all herself and that help is just someone interfering or being nosy and that they are telling her what to do. I hope this changes and that she embraces the help. Take care


Miche49uk profile image
Miche49uk in reply to Bessika

I hope so too Bessika, I don't like labels, I do work with a person now who got me into hospital in the first place and he is adamant I am not alcoholic, I don't mind if I am or I am not, I simply do not want to drink..period. That doesn't scare me at all.

Hopefully Phoenix will give her the support she needs now, to move forward. I personally much prefer life without alcohol than with it and avoid it like the plague. A bit of healthy fear wont do any harm eh.

I don't think the hepatitis E is clearly any concern to my consultant or GP it just threw me a bit.

Good to hear that your daughter is coming home, I personally could not sleep at all in hospital. Is she on steroids or anything? I expect some Vit B Compound and Thiamin are probably on the books too maybe. It is really important she eats and drinks plenty of fluids... (non alcoholic ones obviously)...that can be hard when your appetite is on the floor but really really important. I drank a lot of protein shakes I remember that.

I hope she continues to improve.

Best wishes,

M xx

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