HIGH GGT A D NORMAL ULTRASOUND - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust
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HIGH GGT A D NORMAL ULTRASOUND

Benjo
Benjo

I have been drinking every night for years now due mainly to Chronic pain alcohol is the only thing that actually numbs the pain for a few hours.) Anyway i had symptoms of liver under pressure in April, fever, itching, pale stools, dark urine, vomiting and nausea so had bloods done and GGT was 400..other liver results were ok.. so i cut down massively on alcohol until i broke up with my partner so back on the wine again every night to numb that emotional pain. Anyway finally got my act together @ end of July and went for bloods again and GGT was down to 125. Went off alcohol for 4 weeks. Then went to ultrasound last week which was normal. So i was very happy...everything heading in the right direction. The doc doing the ultrasound reckoned I had had Hep A Virus back in April because he said i wouldn't have had a fever from alcohol damage.

So i had 2 gin and tonics 3 nights ago and 1 glass of wine 2 nights later. Now I am itching all over & couldn't sleep last night with the itch..... So confused.

Anyone have any suggestions or something similar happen to them?

27 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi Benjo. Your body is reacting to your alcohol intake and telling you it doesnt like it. Drinking alcohol to numb physical and mental pain is NOT the answer. All you are doing is pouring poison into your system and your liver will not tolerate it. If you quit drinking now and for good, your liver stands a decent chance of recovering. But if you continue you will badly damage your liver, other vital organs and have a life time of other serious illnesses to contend with which will shorten your life considerably.

You need to see your GP about proper pain relief and any mental health issues such as depression need to be addressed. Alcohol will solve nothing, only cause you more problems. Take it from me, l know. Alcohol killed my husband 9 years ago at just 54 years old. Nip it in the bud now before it gets out of control and you become another sad statistic of this poison.

I wish you every success.

Best wishes. Laura

txguy07
txguy07 in reply to Laura009

Couldn't agree more. I recently quit because I was having liver symptoms. I was on my wits end trying to figure out if I was doomed or not. After i stopped drinking I would have these thoughts that maybe i just need a break and if the doc tells me im good then i can go back to drinking in moderation. But when I wrote it down on paper it dawned on me how insanse that sounds. At one moment to be worried that alcohol might kill me and the next to think ill be okay to drink if i moderate. Ask yourself what VALUE alcohol has in your life and you'll realize its very little. Some people can moderate their drinking. I call them "sexy drinkers" cause they can have a few and keep their mind about them and not build their life around it. If your thinking alcohol is causing a problem then you must stop all together. There's support groups out there and loads of people on this forum to offer encouragement. Good luck!

Benjo
Benjo in reply to txguy07

I really don't think I am addicted to Alcohol because it being off it hasn't really bothered me (apart from the pain which I just have to endure) and I haven't had any withdrawal symptoms nor have I thought about it a lot. However , I would like to be able to have 2-3 drinks a week say on a Sat night if and when i get to the bottom of this liver problem which I was told at my scan was more than likely not caused by alcohol and he also says my liver is perfectly healthy. And my readings were down from 400 to 125 which happened BEFORE I went off alcohol for the past month. Hence my reason for having 2 drinks the other night. I've also been seeing a psychotherapist about my emotional issues. Im on meds for Chronic pain (which don't take the pain away completely and I'm tryingn to reduce these down. Ive also attended a 3 week pain management programme. So i am dealing with my issues.

I guess I was hoping that someone else would have had the same experience as me eg Hep A (which I may or may not have had) how long symptoms last etc. Because I'm baffled as to how the itch has started again when i was told that my original symptoms were not alcohol related (due to the high fever I had which is apparentlynot a symptom of Alcohol related liver damage ). So I'm confused.

txguy07
txguy07 in reply to Benjo

I see... Well I'm very new to sobriety so I'm not the best person to give you answers. What I can tell you is I have tried the 2-3 drinks on the weekend thing multiple times over the past 12 years and it has never worked for me. My philosophy now is that if I was ever concerned that alcohol might be putting my health in jeopardy then why would I ever consider going back to it? It is no easy road to quit drinking. Your social life will seem to fall off, your focus will be all over the place, your anxiety will be high, and the list goes on. But, I do believe there is light at the end of the tunnel if you stay the course. If you're telling yourself that you can drink now because the alcohol has not done the damage then ask yourself what will happen if you continue to drink.

Some people can truly moderate their alcohol but if I'm being totally honest you seem to be conflicted about your use. You're considering that alcohol may have caused this issue which, to me, is all the more reason to just part ways with drinking. I also believe that trying to find someone with a very similar story to your's where the alcohol was NOT the cause, is seeking a rationalization.

I'm not judging you in anyway. None of us can give you solid answers as to your health or what's causing your symptoms. But I challenge you to take a very honest look at your reasoning because from the outside looking in the answer seems crystal clear.

I do wish you the best of luck, and please don't take offense to my response.

Benjo
Benjo in reply to txguy07

Hmmmm yes you're probably right in that I'm clutching at straws in the hope it might not be the alcohol that caused the 400 GGT reading. Can i ask why the 2-3 drinks at the weekend thing not work for you? (Probably clutching at straws again here!!)

txguy07
txguy07 in reply to Benjo

Basically every time I try to do the 2-3 on the weekend it creeps it's way back up until I'm overdoing it. Everyone should limit their alcohol intake to a "healthy level" but for those who can't moderate and for those with co-morbid risk factors i.e. liver related problems it is probably best to abstain altogether. Just my opinion.

ThreeSmiles
ThreeSmiles in reply to txguy07

Your opinion and lots of others on here would agree with you as I see Coco has just! And needless to say so do I 👍.

Angus

CocoChannel
CocoChannel in reply to Benjo

The 2-3 drinks at weekend isn’t working for txguy07 as he’s been/was drinking for many years and has probably become alcohol dependent, which I am too. Once someone reaches that point, moderation isn’t possible as they’ll always end up drinking more. It is way easier, surprisingly so, to just stop altogether. That’s your only option I’m afraid.

So true!

Benjo
Benjo in reply to Laura009

Hi Laura. I realise that alcohol is not the answer to anything but in the past it has been the only thing that actually kills the pain for a few hours . As i say i realise that it's not the answer but no one understands, until they have pain 24/7 for 28 years like me, how a few hours relief is so welcome. I'm by no means a stupid person but i hoped I'd "get away with it" so to speak. I've had the wake up call and haven't had a drink for a month now. The consultant doing my ultrasound told me that Alcohol Damage to the liver would not cause a fever which was one of my symptoms back in April. He reckoned that I had had Hep A and that's why my readings were at 400. I've had bloods done since and they were 125 despite the fact that I was still drinking every night. I've been doing a liver detox diet for the past 5 weeks, recommended by Patrick Holford it's plenty of fruit veg seeds nuts fish....all healthy food and I've been taking supplements that he recommends L-Glutamine, Milk Thistle, Multi Vitamin etc. I've cut out toxins eg self tan, cleaning products etc. So u thought that this would significantly reduce my reading from 125. It was only because the consultant doing the Ulltra Sound said id a perfectly healthy liver and my readings were way down that I decided to have 2 drinks. I've no intention of ever going back to drinking every night but i thought on a night out I could have 2 drinks. BTW I've been on Pain Management Programmes, I'm on Pain meds (the main one is not metabolized by the liver) . So I'm seeing my GP tomorrow to discuss the whole thing. If my high reading was not caused by alcohol but by Hep A then i don't understand why I have this crazy itch again.

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to Benjo

Im a bit confused actually. Your 1st post said you had 2 gin and tonics 3 nights ago followed by wine the following 2 nights. You say in your following message that you havent had a drink in a month. You also say you are itching again .... any alcohol you consume again is going to continue to give you symtoms such as these as your liver deteriorates. Having the "odd drink on occasions" is going to further damage your liver. Not preaching the choice is yours whether you want to continue poisoning yourself in this way, just be aware of the consequences, how it affects your loved ones and if you want help from your GP you are going to have to be honest about exactly how much you actually drink.

Laura

Benjo
Benjo in reply to Laura009

I had 2 gins 3 nights ago. I Had 1 glass of wine the night before last. Prior to that my last drink was 24th July. So far the drinking hasn't affected my loved ones thank God, and i am trying to deal with the issues so that it never will affect them.

I think you're missing my whole point here. I'm willing to accept if i cannot have a drink ever again if alcohol is whats causing the problem (which is what I assumed at the outset). However I am confused by being told that

HEP A was more than likely the reason i had symptoms back in April, because I had a fever which you dont get with Alcohol related damage. Also my GGT came down from 400 to 125 without me changing my drinking. So why did the GGT come down??? Also my US scan shows a healthy liver.

I'm simply asking if anyone else has a similar story or can throw any light on the issue. That's all.

PS not sure why you say I need to be honest eith my GP about how much i drink? I've been completely honest with my GP and told her exactly what I was drinking...... you can lie to everyone but yourself and im certainly not lying to myself. What would be the point in lying to my GP when I'm seeking her help??????

Hidden
Hidden

Benjo- remember this, pain is a warning that damage has occurred in us. NEVER risk numbing the pain until you stop what is causing it. That applies to physical and emotional pain.

Trust1
Trust1Administrator

Hi Benjo

Chronic pain can be very difficult to manage, however, using alcohol as a coping mechanism will only cause problems.

Can you maybe return to your GP and have an open discussion about your physical and emotional pain?

Maybe you can be referred to the chronic pain team in the hospital who are experienced in managing this? The GP may also be able to refer you for some emotional counselling or CBT?

We would also suggest that you consider discussing your alcohol intake with the GP who may be able to offer support and a referral to the alcohol team either in the community or at hospital, and also a referral to a liver specialist who can assess your symptoms and order some more detailed testing if needed.

Here are links to our publications on Alcohol and liver disease and also Hepatitis A for general information;

britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

We wish you well, you will find a lot of additional support here from the forum members.

Take care

Trust1

Benjo
Benjo in reply to Trust1

Hi there. I realise that alcohol is not the answer to anything but in the past it has been the only thing that actually kills the pain for a few hours . As i say i realise that it's not the answer but no one understands, until they have pain 24/7 for 28 years like me, how a few hours relief is so welcome. I'm by no means a stupid person but i hoped I'd "get away with it" so to speak. I've had the wake up call and haven't had a drink for a month now. The consultant doing my ultrasound told me that Alcohol Damage to the liver would not cause a fever which was one of my symptoms back in April. He reckoned that I had had Hep A and that's why my readings were at 400. I've had bloods done since and they were 125 despite the fact that I was still drinking every night. I've been doing a liver detox diet for the past 5 weeks, recommended by Patrick Holford it's plenty of fruit veg seeds nuts fish....all healthy food and I've been taking supplements that he recommends L-Glutamine, Milk Thistle, Multi Vitamin etc. I've cut out toxins eg self tan, cleaning products etc. So u thought that this would significantly reduce my reading from 125. It was only because the consultant doing the Ulltra Sound said id a perfectly healthy liver and my readings were way down that I decided to have 2 drinks. I've no intention of ever going back to drinking every night but i thought on a night out I could have 2 drinks. BTW I've been on Pain Management Programmes, I'm on Pain meds (the main one is not metabolized by the liver) . So I'm seeing my GP tomorrow to discuss the whole thing. If my high reading was not caused by alcohol but by Hep A then i don't understand why I have this crazy itch again.

ThreeSmiles
ThreeSmiles in reply to Benjo

Benjo ☹️. ☹️. You have so many warning signs just please do take note of what others say. All of us only want the best for you. You are very lucky 🍀 to have found this site and been offered “advice” (none of us can give advice per se - or tell you what you have to do - but we can recount experiences we have had - in the case of Admin this could be a lifetime of experience of others) that is basically saying that alcohol can and does cause problems to some, not necessarily all, people. It nearly killed me and would have done so but for a Transplant. I really wish I had given up alcohol when I was told it might be a good thing to do.

Btw I STILL have pain 24/7 even after TP due to on knock on effects of the operation. So life isn’t necessarily plain sailing even after a transplant.....

Hopefully after talking with your GP things will be put into perspective. Good luck.

Angus

Trust1
Trust1Administrator in reply to Benjo

Hi Benjo

It is really positive you are mindful of what you are eating etc, however, with regards to the 'Liver detox' you are on, we would just suggest that you fully discuss this with your own doctors to make them aware.

You may also want to read our information on Complementary & Alternative Medicines as it does detail Milk Thistle.

britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

Best wishes

Trust1

Benjo
Benjo in reply to Trust1

And thank you for your help.

Hidden
Hidden

I hope you don't mind me asking this, but which country have you been to in order to contract Hep A?

Benjo
Benjo in reply to Hidden

I was on holiday in Spain in the few days before I experienced symptoms but i live in Ireland. They say the incubation period can be several weeks before u experience symptoms so if that's the case then I contracted it in Ireland

Hidden
Hidden in reply to Benjo

I would have thought this to be most unlikely as both these country's have good sanitation. It's therefore unlikely you would have come into contact or digested any raw sewage.

alfredthegreat
alfredthegreat in reply to Hidden

Hi Richard. A friend of ours contracted it in England. The place where she worked had raw sewage seeping into the 'fresh' water system. Most of the workers were ok because they drank tea and coffee made with boiled water but my friend and two others drank the tap water and they were the three that were ill. Regards Alf.

Hidden
Hidden

There are a few things about the liver that you need to try and understand. Your doctor, (if they had any concerns) should have at least had the decency to explain a few things to you. Firstly, I've never known a consultant to carryout an ultrasound. This is normally carried out by a technician. Although these technicians are highly qualified, they're not medically qualified to offer an opinion. Their job is merely to create the images, these are then interpreted and analyses by a hepatologist or gastroenterologist consultant.

The liver is responsible for carrying out over 500 different functions. One of these is to detoxify the blood. The liver passes around 2000 litres of blood and filters it 350 times per day. It also makes safe some of the more toxic substances in the body such as ammonia which is converts into urea.

Hepatitis A as you will know, is most commonly passed on (transmitted) through ‘faecal-oral’ routes. This means that the virus is passed out in bowel motions (faeces) and finds its way into the mouth (orally); usually through close contact with someone who has the virus or through food and water contaminated by sewage or the hepatitis A virus. It's is rare to find this in the western world. Your GP would have run some blood tests in order to confirm their suspicions: britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

It should also be pointed out that the liver doesn't have any pain receptors, so it can't tell you when it's getting poorly. This is why liver disease is often referred to as being the "silent killer". However, the liver is surrounded by a thin membrane, this does contain pain receptors, so if the liver becomes enlarged or swollen, this membrane can then stretch and cause pain and discomfort. Once again an ultrasound scan or a CT scan should pick this up. A further test that can be taken is a ELF blood test. This can show up if the liver is at either at the fatty liver stage or maybe the fibrosis stage of liver disease.

Finally, as I've mentioned before, one of the livers main functions is to detoxify the blood. There have been livers in human beings for over 200,000 years, and over that time they have been work just fine. The liver doesn't need any help, or magic potions. In fact the only thing it does need is just time. Time to repair its self. It's very common for people when they've been told that their liver might be damaged, to go in search of answers in order to assist in repairing the damage. Dr Google can be very dangerous in these cases. Firstly I'd advice forgetting anything and everything by Patrick Holford. Some of this advice can be particularly dangerous if a person has a damaged liver. It could tip it over the edge and end up doing a lot more harm. There can be for example more Vitamin D in a damaged liver than a healthy one, and on the other side there can be a lack of Vitamin D too. Taking Multi Vitamins can be dangerous. Milk Thistle can also be dangerous and of course any alcohol. If the liver has become damaged alcohol will just undo any repair work the liver is trying to do: britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

I have just looked into l-glutamine, and there are warnings that read...

"Those with advanced liver cirrhosis or a history of a risk of liver failure must not take large amounts of glutamine, unless under the supervision of a medical doctor. This is because glutamine is the only amino acid that contains an additional nitrogen molecule, which the liver has to process. Taking large amounts of amino acids, especially glutamine, can further tax the liver in advanced cases of liver cirrhosis".

So, I would ask for an ELF blood test and make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor. Is your liver enlarged? A lot of doctors sadly today use words like, "I think it might be" or "it could be". Tell your doctor that you need to know, and not just have to second guess. Be polite, but tell them that you and your family need to know where you stand.

I wish you well.

Benjo
Benjo in reply to Hidden

Thank you so much Patrick. I'll ask for this test tomorrow. And I'll stop taking the supplements, and just keep eating healthily until I get the results.

Thanks once again for all your help.

Richard has given you a very thorough answer that seems to be what you wanted all along.

I would just like to add that Hep A can be passed in unclean public establishments where the employees don't wash their hands after using the toilet, or in daycare or hospital settings where employees are changing diapers and not washing their hands, so sometimes exposure is traced to these circumstances and is why health inspections are carried out and enforced.

Ok thanks Bootsandall. But from everyone is sayjng here I'm clutching at straws hoping that that's the answer.😫

Hidden
Hidden

We're all saying what you don't want to hear, but you did very well posting today and please keep talking to us. We are equals here, all of us, and we all help each other. Stay strong.

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