British Liver Trust

Normal lfts

Hi I'm a 35 year old female and I'm really concerned about my liver. I was a very heavy drinker through my late teens right up to when I met my husband aged 26. When I settled down i quit drinking so heavily but would have a drink maybe once a month but it would be a really heavy binge as all my social group did the same. This continued on til Dec 16 when my husband and I broke up for 4 months after a difficult year. When this happened I went straight back to the party girl I had been going out drinking nearly every night for 4 months solid. I was lonely I suppose. We got back together early April 17 and I didn' drink for 8 months, I wasn' trying to stop really, I just was happy to switch nights outs for nights in. I'e always felt a niggle under my ribs were my liver is since my mid twenties but I barely noticed it anymore as it felt like it had always been there and felt it was no huge cause for concern. When my hubby and I got back together I fell and hurt my back, I was in agony and to get rid of the pain I didn' really heed the warnings on painkillers and would take 4 paracetamol and 8 brufen at a time. This went on for around 7 days after which my doctor put me on opiates for a few weeks and it got better eventually. Basically the day I stopped taking too many painkillers killers I started to get a pulsating pain in my back where my liver would be, I knew instantly what it was and suddenly was terrified knowing it had something to do with the tablets, it was so foolish of me to take so many, especially after i was already worried about my liver from the 4 month drinking spree I'd been on. It ached for a few days and then it settled down to a niggle just like I felt under my ribs. I soon forgot about it and wasn't overly alarmed. Which takes me to Nov 17, I went out for a friend's birthday and had my first drink in 8 months. I drank a fair bit and a few days later I started having orange oily stools, I also began to get hot flushes the day after drinking which baffled me at first until I saw the oily stool and knew immediately I was in trouble. I knew the hot flushes weren't caused by something hormonal as I'd recently had all my hormones checked as we had been going through fertility treatment prior to our break up. My liver area also felt hot just under my ribs I had to put ice on it and it was heating up my whole body. You couldn't feel it on the outside by touching the skin but it felt so hot on the inside you would have imagined the skin would have been hot and inflamed. I had also been tasting a bile taste in my mouth periodically since my binging episode and it got much worse after my night out drinking. I had also been having gastro problems since I took the tablets, sulphur smelling burps and a lot of gas when I eat too much. I originally thought that was because of the brufen but now it seems as though it is my liver when I connect the dots. My sleep which has always been bad has got so much worse that 4 nights out of the week easily I will not have slept at all, not even 5 mins, ive had to leave work early because im unable to even function. This is not caused my anxiety either because I'm very good at burying my head in the sand and telling myself I'm fine. I had liver function rests done and they came back normal. My gp said it couldn't be cirrosis as something would have flagged up. My hot flushes and sweating lasted for 3 weeks after my night out drinking and after taking milk thistle daily and eating fairly well they stopped as did the oily stools for the most part. With the doctors words ringing in my ears I then had a night away for another friends birthday last week. I drank and fair bit and the next day the bile taste, hot around my liver area (not heartburn or anything like that, it felt like I'd rubbed deep heat in the area under my ribs). The hot flushes have also come back on and off. Could my doctor be right and I couldn't have cirrosis with normal liver function tests? The other thing is that just before my husband and I separated we'd done ivf and had good embryos which resulted a pregnancy that I later miscarried. We did a second round after my drinking and tablets incident and despite me responding well to the drugs there were no eggs on collection. This is extremely rare with someone who responds well to the drugs so doctors were baffled at what could have happened, they put it down to me being extremely unlucky and a freak incident really, but could it very to do with my liver? It's only now when I connect all the dots to I see that that is what it points towards. Certainly because my periods which have always been regular to the day have suddenly become irregular. Well it was my last one that was late (after my first drink in 8 months when all the symptoms started). My last period was almost a month late. This has never happened to me before. Sorry for the really long and probably confusing post. I would just like some advice. I'm due to do another round of ivf in March but I'm worried I'm seriously ill and it wont work. Thanks

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It is reassuring that your lfts are normal but i would go back to dr and explain your concerns again and ask for an ultrasound of your liver to start with to put your mind at ease, if thats is clear besides clear bloods it should reassure you more. Im 33, my hormones are fine supposedly but i get hot flushes and night sweats. I have a fatty liver, diagnosed by ultrasound, i think its down to that with me.

Good luck. X

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Thanks so much for your reply. It's so reassuring to hear someone else has similar symptoms to me. Especially the sweats and flushes because there is very little online about it. I will see the doctor again and ask for an ultrasound. Do you mind me asking what caused your fatty liver? I honestly think my issue started with too much alcohol but taking too many painkillers, especially paracetamol has tipped me over the edge. To what I don't know, I just pray it's reversible. Thank you

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Hi, no problem. Yes dr said was caused by my diet and not looking after myself very well as just alt raised, that coupled with drinking too much on occasion probably didnt help matters. Now im trying to watch what i eat, lose a few pounds and stick to recommended units if i do drink as per doctors advice. The night sweats have a lot and the hot flushes are few and far between, dr tested for menopause at first. Im due my next bloods in feb,(every 6 months) i hope to see improvement from these changes and i think as i generally feel a bit better i might. If not the weekly couple of glasses of wine will have to go. See where you are after your ultrasound, keep me posted, good luck. X

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*Night sweats have lessened a lot 😊 x

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If your worried about cirrhosis stop, this particular diseases mimics so many other possible problems like gallbladder, kidney, heart,lungs, basically everything. So if those things are ruled out keep looking. I know when they told me hey you got cirrhosis it was easy to tell by the blood work, then all the other test to find out the severity. Prior to that day for years I thought I was just out shape falling apart and getting old and tired. Trust your Doctors but keep reading and asking questions a good diet can’t hurt along with getting control of alcohol , I would be interested in finding out your diagnosis, the gallbladder/ gallstones can cause just about the same problems (it is also hereditary).

DLD 🤠

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Hello rcjh82.

Many thanks for sharing your story with us here. Sometimes it's not easy for us to admit to our mistakes in life. I personally believe that anyone who develops a drinking problem at any time in their lives, needs to look back and find out why they turned to alcohol in the first place. Unbeknown to a lot people, if they were to psychoanalyse themselves. They may find the reason behind it. But they must be brutally honest with themselves. For some, it maybe to block out a bad experience, or for others it maybe to try and lift the gloom of depression. After the split with your husband, you once again returned to your wild ways. This could be, because you both wanted to, and needed to feel liked by others. It may have even helped block out the pain the separation. Here other emotions could have been adding to the mix, like rejection, and a feeling of failure and being unloved. So, this would be understandable as you seek to try and change things with the use of alcohol.

Now please allow me to talk a little about the medical situation, I should point out first, that I'm not medically qualified. I have however completed 2 x 3-weeks courses online run by the University of Birmingham. As you may know the is a most wondrous organ, responsible for carrying out over 500 different functions. The liver passes around 2000 litres of blood and filters it 350 times per day. The liver has a unique capability to restore itself after an inflammation, trauma, poisoning or other stress. I could go on talking about this all day. I would like to point out that the liver does not have any pain receptors. However there is a thin membrane surrounding the liver that does have receptors and these may well cause a person to feel pain if the liver swells or becomes enlarged. Large amounts of Paracetamol will cause damage to the liver, and ibuprofen should never be taken if you already have liver damage. There are three stages of liver damage, these are: Fatty Liver, Liver Fibrosis, and Cirrhosis.

I have put together a website mainly covering Alcohol-related Liver Disease, but there's plenty of information there: taep.eu

Your also find a lot of useful information here on the BLT's website. I really do feel that more medical follow up appointments should take place, if not to just rule out any underlying causes to your problems. Try to have faith in yourself rcjh82, your liver is a fantastic bit of kit which can repair it's self, (given half the chance).

Good luck, and I hope some of this is helpful to you.

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I glanced through, so forgive me if I missed anything. I think you're in something we call the doom loop. You haven't had the most healthy lifestyle, as we get older, we start to assume it's catching up with us. It normally does once you hit your 30s. The time to stop is now, which it seems like you already know. My undergraduate degree is in psychology, with that said. I feel compelled to say , don't fall into the depressive trap, where something goes wrong and it drives you to drink or take an excessive amount of drugs/medications. We go through hard times, but when your body starts to fail because the liver is stressed out it makes things worse. The pain medication is no biggy. I took opiates with Tylenol for over a year. A decent amount every single day for a spinal tumor. My family history for the liver is absolutely horrible. That's what made me sick, but a few weeks to a month won't do much. Unless, you take an excessive amount to cause acute liver failure. I think your doctor is spot on, LFTs being normal is good, as it signifies no active inflammation. Many hear horror stories about cirrhosis and normal LFTs, but normally the symptoms are much worse. Even with my acute drug induced liver injury, my abdomen tore, stool was floating and all colors of the rainbow, labs were off the charts. You do need to find out why you have that feeling under your ribs, with your drinking history it could be fatty liver. Ultrasound wouldn't be a bad place to start now that you know you have normal LFTs. When all else fails, a private fibroscan, 96% accurate for diagnosing cirrhosis, paves the way to feeling better about the situation. When my liver healed, not even Jesus himself could come down and convince me. When I got that 170 CAP and 4.8 KPA fibroscan it was a major relief. That's when I started getting better because my mind no longer was in the, "what if" situation. As others have said, diet, exercise all play a factor. I drank a few energy drinks a few months ago and had a pop on my liver ALT. Freaked me out, but I realized it was the energy drinks.

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Thanks for your replies. Everyone has been so helpful. I think I'll go back to my gp and see about some further tests for some answers. I will update here. Thanks again

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