British Liver Trust
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Anxious about symptoms

I'm a 41 year old man. I'm worried about my liver health.

On three occasions over the past year I have experienced very strange and unpleasant symptoms after a bout of weekend drinking. These include mental fatigue, thirst, dry eyes, upset stomach, discomfort in my abdomen under my RHS ribs and pain in my right shoulder and arm. They last for about 8-9 days, far longer than any typical hangover I have previously experienced. They resolve so far.

I visited the doctor on the second occasion and all my blood test results were normal.

I'm completely aware that this is rather trivial compared to other people's problems on this site, but I am very anxious, as it makes me think perhaps I should give up drinking. (I do not drink more than three days a week, but I really enjoy binge drinking with my friends still. I drank more during my twenties and early thirties, above recommended limits. My friends who had a similar lifestyle do not experience my symptoms.)

I would like to find out via a fibroscan, but I don't know whether this is something he would do. His last advice was to say I was getting older and not to worry, drink less, but I feel my symptoms may indicate something more sinister.

I realise the advice might be 'stop drinking' and i have now madethe decision to stop binge drinking. However I don't want to stop having a glass of wine over dinner or a couple of pints from time to time.

Anyway, if anyone had any similar experience and thoughts I would be interested in your opinion.

12 Replies
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Stop drinking for a few months than pay for a fibroscan. Doctor won’t refer you for one if your labs are normal so pay for one and you can go from there. I think they should be as common as blood pressure and cholesterol testing. Hope you feel better.

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Drinking will only get worse. You can't go back to stage 1 or 2 when you hit stage 3. Stage 4 drinking is the last stage. Death or prison. I hit stage 4 and checked into the hospital. It's a terrible way to live. Drinking day and night. Anxiously awaiting the clock to strike 7 am so I could hit the gas station and get my Bud Ice. Later off to the package store for 1.75 liter of Vodka.

Seek medical help. You could have a seizure if you stop abruptly. I was fortunate to only have fatty liver. I'm 12 days sober and starting to feel much better.

Good luck. You can do it. But don't let that alcoholic in your head tell you lies.

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If you are getting these kind of problems and you are linking them to alcohol I think you have a good idea what is causing the trouble.

Safely giving up alcohol for good sounds like the best answer.

But I think it is important to look at why you binge drink. I'm not being all preppy about it, but I don't understand what is fun about spending a lot of money on drinking so much alcohol that I get a hangover and make myself ill.

When I was younger I did drink, but I quickly realised I liked to stay in control of me. When I lost that feeling of wanting to stay in control, I realised I had to keep control because I was drinking to try and escape from problems and to try and be like others.

Alcohol didn't help me forget my problems it just added to them as it made me sluggish the next day and more financially strapped. It didn't help me be like others because I still had problems I couldn't share that affected the way I was with people. It really hit me when I got a lift home from a night out one time, I realised the person giving me a lift had been drinking heavily and was feeling very depressed. They asked how I felt about just letting go of life. Having to tell them that giving up on life wasn't the answer helped me to sharpen up my thinking very quickly. I was depressed, but not suicidal at that time. Trying to help them to want to live, made me realise I could never allow myself to drink more than one drink if I was feeling down, as I didn't want to go down that road where drinking made me feel it was o.k. to harm myself or others, or to take stupid risks.

Believe me, this was brought home to me 3 1/2 years ago when I ended up in a spinal cord injury unit. Seeing people who were paralyzed or worse either because of their own behaviour and loss of inhibitions because of drinking or others drinking and causing the injury was no fun. My injury wasn't drink related but many (particularly within the male patients) were.

This is why I really ask you to think about what is so good about binge drinking? What makes you want to do it? Facing these issues could be crucial if you decide to cut out alcohol.

All the best,

Gx

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Your symptoms aren’t that abnormal. By all means go for a fibroscan if you’re concerned. Meanwhile stick to the guidelines on alcohol and don’t binge-better still have a break for 6 weeks and see how you feel then. It’s probably fatty liver which can be reversed if you look after yourself. Take care

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"A glass of wine over dinner" & "a pint from time to time". No use trying to dress your drinking up as 'sophisticated' behaviour - there is nothing sophisticated about ingesting a poison (alcohol).

Oh trust me, I was the very same - making all sorts of fanciful excuses for my drinking behaviour and I would dress it up in what i thought were sophisticated terminology.

Your body is telling you something. Listen to it and stop drinking. trust me, you will never regret the decision.

Best Wishes

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First of all many thanks for your generous advice, all good I think. I agree stopping entirely is the obviously most healthy option.

It is fun to drink to excess though with a group of friends, I don't think that can be easily denied. I just think that my body is telling me it is no longer possible.

As far as I can tell, I don't think I have any problem with drinking for negative reasons, it is just that when you are with your friends, it can be difficult to opt out (especially if you're doing rounds!). I know that sounds trivial but it has been a problem.

I'm far from sophisticated, believe me, but I do love a pint of real ale, I'd be very sorry if I could never enjoy one again!

Anyway, thanks for your advice I'm going to stop until Christmas, and pay for a fibroscan in the new year.

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Good luck with it

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Perhaps you can also talk to your friends and tell them you are trying to stop because of the symptoms experienced and perhaps you can try to do some different form of fun activity together.

Friends who make me more unhealthy mentally or physically sound to me more like enemies. 🤔

I have very little tolerance for alcohol even after trying to increase the amount. I'd feel like you even though I never binged drunk or got drunk on purpose (once only by accident).

Listen to your poor body who tries everything to accomodate your habit and lifestyle.

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Hi

If you are not going to give up drinking, especially at Christmas, why don't you and your friends put the same amount of money in a pot at the beginning of an evening before your group buys the first round. Then count it up as a collective amount.

You could then play a tell game. Each of you thinking how you could spend that collective amount. I would be surprised if it wasn't a couple of hundred pounds, if you are all honest at the beginning and put the right amount in for a drinking session.

Me if I had a couple of hundred for a luxury item, (rare as i always have a lot of essential items to buy) I would use it to pay for a weekend away with my husband. Just having time away from everything and each being able to relax together would be bliss. Might sound sloppy, but after 38 years of marriage I still love it when we have our time, rather than the hassle of work and all the family problems.

Yeah my limited mobility creates restrictions, but we find ways to deal with that.

We have been saving and are doing a few days away in December at a low cost time. But it is a luxury we will both enjoy and hopefully prepare us for the Christmas stress.

Gx

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Hi

I had my fibroscan through a referral to turning point ( drug- alcohol misuse centre). Referral was via my GP.

Good luck

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Hiya like you i had pain -right side under ribs, almost like small electric shocks. Please go back to docs and ask for fibroscan. I dont need to tell you how bad booze is for your liver but try hard to cut down and lots water. Wish you well 🌞

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You sound exactly like me a few years ago, I used to get hangovers that would last a week, nightmares then after a few days, sometimes it felt like a vice had been released from around my brain after the nightmares came, and they would make even the worst horror film you ever saw seem like a cartoon, I can go without drink for months on end no problem, but when I try drinking now I just can't tolerate it anymore, the low is always lower than the high as the man said,

I used to get pains in the liver area like you, now I haven't really drank in years, might have had 12 pints since last Christmas, I would have drank that on an average Sat night years ago along with maybe half a dozen vodka and red bull,

now I think the chickens are coming home to roost though, I'll know more when ultrasound results come back, must look into the fibroscan thing, hope you get sorted and forget about the drink, life is better without the poison.

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