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British Liver Trust
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How damaged could my liver be?

Aged 25, I started drinking in 2014, I used to drink very little, maybe once a month or so and eventually started drinking 2-3 times a week. I used to drink around 180ml of vodka or whiskey. In 2015, the frequency was more - I would drink 4 times a week (same 180ml a night). This continued for a little more than a year till 2016. I used to drink once or twice a week in 2017. I had a Liver function Test and my enzymes were slightly higher. Then I stopped for a few months, I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms. End of December, I drank everyday for a month. However, in 2018, I have only drank 1-3 bottles of wine or 180-250 ml of whiskey a month.

In short:

2014 : Once a month

2015 : 180ml whiskey or vodka 1 or 4 times a week for a year

2016 : 180ml whiskey or vodka 1 or 4 times a week till the end of the year

2017 : 180-250ml vodka 1-2 times a week for half a year. In December, I drank everyday

2018 : A bottle of wine or 180ml vodka 1-3 times a month

I have developed constant abdonominal discomfort, sometimes it is painful and sometimes it is tolerable. I don’t have any other symptoms. The pain used to disappear when I stopped drinking but from the past 2 months, the pain has been constant. When I go for a run, I can my liver going up and down. I got an ultrasound done and it shows there is a diffuse increase in echotexture - Fatty liver. However, the liver is normal in size. Pancreas and everything else is normal. My doctor has suggested a fibroscan to check if the pain can be from stiff liver and I am waiting for my LFT tests.

Was my drinking too much to cause scarring, fibrosis or cirrhosis? I am really scared.

PS, I am not a smoker nor am I obese.

12 Replies
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Some people can 'get away' with drinking lots and showing little sign of liver damage whereas others medics believe have some sort of predisposition to liver damage. Alcohol in no matter what quantity is a toxin that can damage the liver - not everyone who drinks will suffer damage but sometimes just casual, binge drinking or ordinary social drinking can be enough if you are one of those with this predisposition. ALSO, alcohol isn't the only means of sustaining liver damage - my hubby is life long t-total yet an auto-immune liver disease has led him to full on cirrhosis.

You need to know the booze on the head, if you've 'only' reached the stage of fatty liver a complete cessation of alcohol will be your best plan to reduce the fatty build up and heal any potential damage. A liver goes through various stages before it reaches cirrhosis and each stage has potential for healing providing it really hasn't gone too far.

You also don't need to be obese to get Non-Alcohol Related Fatty Liver Disease.

Have a read up on the British Liver Trust page on alcohol and the liver and also the page on NAFLD which will give appropriate guidance to perhaps reverse this fat build up in your liver and prevent further progression.

britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

Best wishes,

Katie

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Same old story.... if you drink regularly for a number of years, alcohol will cause liver problems. However if you stop completely your liver has chance to recover. If you start drinking again, next time you stop you may not be so lucky. You may easily become addicted then its a slippery slope towards a lifetime of serious, debilitating diseases. My advice.... give it up now before this poison gets hold of you and destroys not only your life but of those loved ones around you.

All the best

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I was pretty addicted before. I liked the feeling of it and I drank but I don't feel the need to drink again, I like to wake up fresh and early. I have almost stopped drinking, the last time I drank was a few beers 2 weeks ago at a wedding party. Did you also experience any pain in the abdomen?

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You can get pain in the abdomen if your liver is inflamed it can stretch the Glisson's Capsule which surrounds the liver and this can be painful - the liver itself has no pain receptors. Alcohol not only affect the liver but also your pancreas and other abdominal organs so pain is not unusual.

Laura watched her loved one die of alcohol related liver disease so knows first hand what that looks like and speaks from the heart.

Take care of yourself and take the warning, you've got your whole life ahead of you if you reverse this damage now.

Katie

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You're absolutely right. It is definitely inflamed as I can feel it when I eat lots or when I run but the ultrasound did not indicate any changes in the liver size. This is what is confusing me. I will be getting my LFT test results tomorrow, hopefully, that can provide more details.

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Ive never been a drinker, I'm merely the widow of an alcoholic so i have witnessed all the horrors of the addiction.

Well done for cutting right down and i urge you to kick it completely and for good x

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I am very sorry to hear that, I hope I am not making you remember your past. At what stage of liver disease did he experience regular abdomen pain?

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The abdominal pain he first experienced was pancreatitis, he got it twice, was hospitalised twice but continued to drink.

Dont worry youre not opening old wounds, I use his addiction and illnesses to warn others who could be heading in the same direction. But not everyone wants to listen and prefer to bury their heads in the sand believing it wont happen to them. Sadly it so easily could.

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Ps that was in 2002 he died 2010 of liver and kidney failure and broncho pneumonia.

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Got my LFT results. Everything is normal.

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Really pleased for you, keep up the good work and healthy lifestyle, live well and be happy xx

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My brother used to drink a couple of beers a day, no shorts, and now he is at the end of his life at 64 years of age. He started getting abdomen pain about a year ago but the doctor put this down as indigestion. His stomach is that of someone who is 9 months pregnant and he hardly touches any food, which he brings up a lot of the time. You and other drinkers should realise how your family feels. The distress, inconvenience and totally taking over their lives. Seeing a once healthy and well dressed man look like a vagrant who has lost control of his bowels is distressing to all and at this moment in time we know he has perhaps less than a month to live. IS IT WORTH IT?

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