Abdominal pain and digestive problems.... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Abdominal pain and digestive problems. Awaiting ultrasound - terrified


Hi, I've just joined. The background is that I'm in my early 40s and for various reasons (none of which seem important any more) have been drinking 6 - 8 cans almost every night for about 12-15 years. I've got 2 kids and share equal custody (I should say I don't drink a lot around them - I'd never put them at risk). I knew I was drinking too much, but always felt in control. I stopped 2 weeks ago with no difficulties and don't plan to restart any time soon!

I've experienced digestive type problems over the years, and have had various tests carried out with no resolution. This time I feel really bloated (not visibly), have a general sicky feeling in the middle of my stomach, wind and mild abdominal pain in various places including guts, left upper and right upper. I also feel like I'm 'aware' of something where the liver should be. I had intensely itchy skin last year for a month or so which I put down to side effect of blood pressure medication.

I had various blood tests last week and the only one that came back negative was increased liver function. The doc is concerned it's liver damage and has ordered an ultrasound, but not sure how long this will take.

I'm separated, so live on my own, and to make it worse I've been shielding since April. I don't want to burden my family with my worries, but need to speak to someone as I'm terrified that I've really damaged my body. I've been crying for about 2 days solid. Can't stop thinking about the worst case scenario i.e. 2 kids who might grow up without a dad. I know that's not helping matters, but difficult not to when you're cooped up on your own.

Not sure what I really want to ask. Sorry for the long post. I just needed to tell someone.


10 Replies

Welcome aboard. You have taken the most important steps - acknowledging there was a problem, ceasing the alcohol and crucially getting the ball rolling with your doctor and upcoming tests. The liver is a really resilient organ and hopefully by stopping the booze you give it some chance of recovery. Hopefully you get your ultrasound soon and you can get some idea of where your liver is at, it there is anything untoward then make sure you are referred on to preferably a hepatologist (liver specialist) or a gastroenterologist who can keep an eye on you and do necessary follow up.

Until you know what is going on, maintain your healthy lifestyle changes and fingers crossed you can stop any further damage and even potentially reverse any that has happened so far.

You might find the BLT page on alcohol and the liver a useful read and follow some of the other love your liver advice on the BLT website.


Let us know how you get on or if you have specific questions at any point then fire away - always someone about who can offer support - many of whom have been where you are.


Polmanb in reply to AyrshireK

Thanks so much Katie

Hi Pol

The first thing to say is that you are doing the right thing.

An ultrasound is an easy, non invasive way to check the state of your liver. It will take 15 mins or so and then you should know what you are looking at - whether there is any damage. Also what is the state of the damage- mild or not.

The liver is pretty forgiving so in a lot of cases giving up the booze, exercising a bit more and avoiding too much fat should mean that you can sort things out. If not then all is not lost but long term you may need medication, Careful observation and to keep a very good diet etc.

Please don’t despair. Have the ultrasound and then you will know more about what you are facing.

Please let us know how you get on

A Covid compliant Big Hug coming your way

Isabelle xx

Polmanb in reply to Isabelle2

Thank you Isabelle x

Hi Polmanb, I was in a very similar situation to you a couple of years ago. It is very scary not having a diagnosis but you have done the right thing giving up the booze. I did the same, I gave up drinking completely and I’m so glad that I did. I had the scan and tests and was told I had fatty liver disease. I’m much healthier now and don’t miss alcohol at all. The liver can recover if you look after it. I wish you well. Look after yourself.

Hi polman welcome to the club. You're relatively young so a good time to get your health back on track. It's early days so it may take a few weeks, months even before you start to feel better. 6 weeks is often a good indicator after stopping drinking. You've almost certainly got some fat on the liver which can cause the symptoms you describe. You can reverse this with reducing,preferably ceasing alcohol intake. In this case abstinence sounds the right course. Keep us posted.

Thank you Briccolone and Edwen. I appreciate it.


Hi Polmanb,

Well done for taking the brave step to admit you are drinking too much and discussing this with the doctors.

The hardest part is waiting for the tests and results, hopefully our forum will support you.

Katie has already signposted you to our website, if you are in the UK you can also call our nurse led helpline for a chat Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm on 0800 652 7330

Best wishes.

Wait and see. I drank way too much for 15 to 20 years and am a few years older than you. I was in a bit of a state health wise, but I quit and turned things around within a matter of months. It’s vital to stay off the booze for life, though. Those 6 to 8 cans a night mean you crossed the line into alcohol dependence as I had/have. Moderation won’t work for the likes of us, but you’ve done well to quit and see the doc. Hopefully all’s well and you’ve been given a huge let off.

Thanks for the advice Coco. Irrespective of the outcome it's given me enough of a scare to do something about it and that's for sure!

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