When somebody with suspected Cirrhosis... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust
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When somebody with suspected Cirrhosis stops eating does it mean their body is shutting down?


My dad has been a heavy drinker for over 35yrs, he won't seek medical advice, but is complaining of bloating in the abdomen, shortness of breath and a heavy head, he stopped eating 6days ago but is still drinking heavy

11 Replies

I would guess his swollen abdomen is full of fluid (ascites) and getting that drained would help his shortness of breath and maybe enable him to eat a small amount again.

If he is against medical advice you may have to wait until he agrees to be admitted to A & E?

It must be very stressful for you to be in this position, is there anyone else in the family you can turn to for support.

Hi, My dad hates hospitals and will not be truthful with his g.p...unfortunately there is no living family I can turn to, my husband is good and tries to be there for me.

My dad lives on his own and won't even accept help from me, I have suggested complan but he has dismissed that idea....without a medical examination I can not be sure that he has Cirrhosis I'm just double guessing after researching his symptoms. I have read that loss of appetite can be a sign that the body is shutting down :(


Hi Treacle,

Stating the obvious and I am sure you have mentioned this to him but he must stop the drink, if he is a heavy drinker still he is going to need medical assistance to do this, I believe its dangerous any other way. Is there any way you can get him to the docs, I am not a medical person but I do know that all the signs he is showing are very serious.

There is no easy way to tackle this and I wish you strength in coping with this situation. Have you thought about ringing the British Liver Trust helpline, its not just for sufferers, they will also help in your situation and may give you some ideas to help your dad,

Hi Kleam, my dad is fully aware that he should seek help to both stop drinking and to seek medical attention for his on going ailments but unfortunately I don't think he intends on stopping, drink is his friend :( he has deep issues that should of been addressed years ago but he is both a stubborn and proud man.

I did phone the support line this afternoon, the lady I spoke to was very nice and supportive, she suggested that I should try and make him eat small nibbles of food and to try and get him to see his g.p, also that I should go and see mine to get myself some support, I will try again tomorrow to 'talk him round' but I do feel it will fall on deaf ears!

I would like to thank you and Bolly for answering my question. :)

Hi again Treacle. If your Dad is adamant he doesn't want any medical help or advice then I guess there is not a lot you can do. He's an adult and is making his own choices, hard though it is for you to have to stand on the sidelines and watch him drink himself probably to death. There may well be a point where he gets very uncomfortable and the decision to go to A&E is taken out of his hands.

I think the BLT lady was probably right, its you that needs the support now, take her advice and get yourself to a sympathetic GP. Alcoholics Anonymous have an email address and a helpline, I wonder if they offer support and advice to carers like yourself. Does anyone know?

Pensylvania in reply to Bolly

Hi Bolly, and Treacle. Yes, they do, there is a branch of AA, called 'Al-Anon', they provide support and understanding to families and friends of alcoholics. I found it by going to the 'Alcoholics Anonymous Ireland' site. There is a leaflet that you can download, called 'Is there an acoholic in your life?' It is an 'AA general service, conference-approved literature' pamphlet. I hope this might be of some help to you Treacle, my heart goes out to you. Best wishes.

-The actual web address is: alcoholicsanonymous.ie/cont...

Pennsylvania I have seen that there is a Al- Anon group local to me which I might venture down to, I'm very reserved and find it hard to meet and open up to new people but for myself I think I do need to go....Bolly I think that's what I want 'for it to be taken out of his hands' and to be made to have medical treatment, but even then I think he would discharge himself! He has an intense fear of hospitals, and a intense dependence on Alcohol. Thank you very much for your help and support and understanding.

Sorry to hear of the situation, I fully undestand where you dad is at. I have liver cirrosis and given 12 months to live back in November, I also have ascites and need my tummy drained fairly regular now, even though on my 1st drain I felt so much more comfortable, I also thought it was going to be the only drain I need, not so Im afraid.

I havent had a drink in 2 years, but over the past 2 weeks I have turned back to drink, I totally get where your dad is coming from, its his friend I get that. My kids think Im killing myself by drinking again, but they also try to understand that the drink has done the damage so its just a matter of time before my illness kills me, if I drink the drink might take me before the illness, if I dont drink I sit and be miserable and lonely till my illness takes me, and its not a nice illness to have and you only get worse, so I think Ill leave it to fate, drink or no drink Im going.

Im much happier when I have had a drink, so I think why not?

I hope you can understand a little better now, I think if he is happy with his drink, let him be, just be there for him, as I know you are, I think thats the best you can do for him.

He probably thinks you are nagging him about the GP. Hes sure to be scared a little but Im sure he would like your time together to be quality not nagging even though you are doing it for his best.

I hope this helps in some way for you.

You are not wrong neither is your dad, just as my family are not wrong and in my mind Im not wrong either. Its just life and what we have been dealt.

All the best


MrsCha in reply to millymo

Typical selfish behaviour..dont nag so he can enjoy his time has left with you. By refusing any kind of help or treatment the person nagging has to watch them suffer..I'm educated on medicine, biology and specifically end stage liver failure as I'm watching my dad slowly and painfully die without medical intervention or pallitive care..i want his last weeks to be quality and to enjoy my company..but the fear of him bleeding to death before my eyes is overwhelming me..it will live me me for the rest of my life if that was to happen. I get the person may be ready to go but to put people through hell watching the struggle is cruel..losing someone you love is bad enough..so yes I don't nag anymore not to stress him but I can't enjoy his time left for fear of how he will eventually die..I pray for him to peacefully slip into a coma for all our sakes.. I've watched him sit in a chair alone in his house unable to eat, walk or bathe for 4 weeks so far. Severlely underweight, unkempt, grey and just looking like a pitiful child..Just waiting for it to be over..hes unable to breathe due to acites. I'm waiting for an infection to kill him, kidney failure a coma..a tear of his arteries that causes him to bleed to death...caused by fluid which could be drained. It's the most hearbreaking, undignified way to die I have ever seen. I have to live with that forever. My absolute world suffering a horrible death. So I will nag because I care..

Hi there Treacle. Just wondered how your doing? I know your Dad was still being stubborn about getting medical help, I hope You are coping somehow. Pen x

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