Cirrhosis questions..: Hi all, My... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

26,958 members13,554 posts

Cirrhosis questions..

Madison21 profile image

Hi all,

My mother has been a heavy drinker for nearly 8 years now. When I say heavy, I mean she can finish a 5th of whiskey in a day mixing it with sprite.

I am worried that she may be developing cirrhosis of the liver.. it has been a concern of mine for the past couple years but she has had other health issues including a neck surgery 4 years ago. Since the surgery she has still had constant pain causing her to drink more and more.

Within the past couple of weeks her memory has been bad and she has had spouts of confusion. She also developed skin sores about a month ago that bleed and itch. The sores have not went away at all. I have not noticed yellowing of any kind. But, she does have occasional swelling in her legs.

She has a dr appointment tomorrow for something else but I am going to go with her and talk with them about getting blood work done.

Anyone else had or know someone with these symptoms?


11 Replies

I'm relatively new to all this and have cirrhosis although I don't drink at all. My daughter went with me to see the consultant although I am perfectly compos mentis. It helps to have someone with you both for moral support and she asked questions I hadn't thought of. I think it will be good for both of you to go to tomorrow's appointment. You will be better able to explain her drinking and symptoms than she probably would on her own. Good luck and let us know how it goes.


Thanks for replying, Deb. I am going to with her for sure. I think it will definitely help. Good luck to you as well.

Your mother should stop drinking alcohol for good. The swelling in her legs is an ominous sign that her liver is struggling and it should not be ignored. The bouts of confusion are likely to be encephalopathy which is always a sign of significant liver function impairment (but not necessarily cirrhosis). The skin sores are a sign of a weakened immune system which is another sign of liver function impairment. Your mother should have a blood test, ultrasound scan and FibroScan to assess the health of her liver. Hopefully her liver hasn’t yet become cirrhotic and if she stops drinking it will repair itself. If she doesn't want to stop drinking show your mother some of the stories on this forum of what happens when you have end stage liver disease.


Take a written list of questions and go with an open mind.

The symptoms could be indicative of liver problems but there are other possibilities such as diabetes or even an untreated kidney infection

I would wait before demanding a particular set of tests yet. The doctor should order a wide range of tests to eliminate possibilities.

Quitting drinking is always a goid thing, but she will probably need a lot of support to be successful unless she is faced with serious health problems not directly linked to the liver. Alcoholism is an illness to be treated - my cirrhosis was not caused by lifestyle choices but i have watched people battle the demon drink, as they say.

My most important piece of advice is write own what is said - use your phone or something. It can be a bit daunting. Try not to worry yourself too much - easier said than done I know but you have to remember to look after yourself.

Good luck

Rita xx


Good for you going with her to get her seen about her liver. The first thing they will probably do is some bloods to check liver function. Whatever the outcome it’s not a good idea to self medicate with alcohol. It’s worth mentioning this. Good luck!

Isabelle xx

Hi Madison. It is essential that your Mother stops drinking immediately, she is definitely showing signs of liver damage. I can't understand why she thought alcohol was going to do anything to help with the pain in her neck. Surely the sensible thing would have been to see her GP for pain relief or a referal to a physiotherapist ?

Alcohol is nothing more than an addictive toxin causing immense damage to major organs.

I hope you got some answers at the docs and made sure the doc is aware of her drink problem and hopefully she got advice to help her quit?

It could be a tough road for you too so be sure to look after yourself too and be strong.

All the best to you both


Hi madison21,

Hope all goes well for your Mum.

If it does, and it's not liver related, then she should be thankful that she's dodged a bullet, and give serious thought to stopping drinking anyway.

BUT she should get proper advice from her medical team on how to do it.

After many years of drinking your body begins to function around the alcohol, and just suddenly stopping can be very dangerous and can cause seizures (I had one, not nice at all!) Or even coma!

BTW what is a 5th of Whiskey? In the UK we use litres and centi-litres for measuring hard drinks.

Wishing you both all the best

Hi all, thanks for the concern.

She has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. However, it is in the moderate stage.

Anyone know anything about memory loss/confusion related to cirrhosis?

She is still experiencing that after being on meds for 4 days.

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Madison21

It's possible that memory loss and confusion can be due to Hepatic Encephalopathy which is due to blood not being filtered and treated properly by the cirrhotic liver leading to a build up of toxins within the blood stream which can then affect the brain leading to all sorts of additional (and some very serious) symptoms. It's effects can lessened by treatment such as lactulose which leads to toxins being removed from the body by frequent bowel movements & usually now this is used in combination with Rifaximin which is an antibiotic which treats the specific toxins which lead to HE. You need to make sure Mum is moving her bowels frequently. Have a read at the BLT page about HE and if you feel Mum is displaying these sorts of symptoms make sure her medical team know about it and she gets treatment.

Excess alcohol use can also lead to memory and confusion issues and there is a specific conditions related to alcohol and the brain - wet brain a.k.a. Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). Again your mum's medical team need to know if she is showing serious signs of memory loss or confusion.

I am not a doctor and only a doctor with full access to mum and her medical records can diagnose such things but there certainly are liver & alcohol related issues which cause cognitive difficulties.


Madison21 profile image
Madison21 in reply to AyrshireK

Hi, thanks for the response! She is still in the hospital and they have her lactalose. I really hope her memory clears up soon.

Gordon99 profile image
Gordon99 in reply to AyrshireK

Rifaximin helped me a great deal when I had HE.

You may also like...