Cirrhosis is a chronic degenerative disease in which normal liver cells are damaged and are then replaced by scar tissue. This prevents the blood flow to the liver and a number of things like: removal of bacteria and toxins, bile production, protein production and fighting off infections.
Liver damage from cirrhosis cannot be reversed, but treatment can stop or delay further progression and reduce complications. Treatment depends on the cause of cirrhosis and any complications a person is experiencing.
Causes and Treatment
There are causes leading cirrhosis. Cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse is treated by abstaining from alcohol. Treatment for hepatitis-related cirrhosis involves medications used to treat the different types of hepatitis, such as interferon for viral hepatitis and corticosteroids for autoimmune hepatitis. Cirrhosis caused by Wilson’s disease, in which copper builds up in organs, is treated with medications to remove the copper.
Remedies for complications
- For ascites and edema, take a low-sodium diet or the use of diuretics, which are drugs that remove fluid from the body.
- For infections, take antibiotics.
- Take a liver transplant when complications cannot be controlled or when the liver becomes so damaged from scarring that it completely stops functioning.
Preventing further damage
You can’t reverse what has been done but you can stop having any more damage done.
- Stop taking alcohol.
- Monitor your consumption of drugs or medications.
- Stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
- Stay away from fats.
- Don’t drink alcohol heavily.
- Avoid sexual contact with a person who has acute or chronic hepatitis B or C.
- Use a condom and practice safe sex.
- Avoid sharing personal items, such as razors or toothbrushes.
- Do not share drug needles or other drug paraphernalia (such as straws for snorting drugs).
- Clean blood spills with a solution containing 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water.