Liver Pain - Location, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Liver plays a very important role in the human body; in fact, it is the most essential organ. It performs numerous functions: it plays an important role in the metabolism of different nutrients. It helps the body to get rid of toxins as it filters the blood and also helps the formation of important elements such as clotting factors. Liver serves as a sugar storage organ thus releases it when needed.


Liver Location 


Liver is located below the diaphragm in the right upper quadrant. It’s about the size of a football, and weighs 3-4 pounds. It plays a significant role in the metabolism within the human body. Function disruption of this organ surely causes several health problems. Severe complications arise all through the body when liver develops any problem.



Picture 1 :  Liver location is in the right upper region of the abdomen (image shows nine quadrants of abdomen)


          Picture 2 :  Liver is located in the right upper region (right hypochondriac and epigastric region)

 

Liver Pain Location


Liver pain originates due to various liver diseases. The pain can be considered serious since it can lead to disruption of different other body’s functions. Pain due to liver problem is felt in the upper right quadrant, and is often misunderstood as an abdominal pain. Sometimes, problems due to edema can also cause pain in this region.

Usually pain does not originate from the liver itself but pain comes from its surrounding structures. This is because liver has no nerve endings. Sometimes, pain in the area of liver radiates towards the back. Patients then complaints of a feeling of the dull back ache. Liver pain can also be get confused with other abdominal organs pains, so it is must to undergo a thorough examination by the physician. 

 

Liver Pain Causes


Liver pain causes may be recognized through symptoms such as swollen testes, fatigue, breathing difficulties, itching, shoulder pain or even eating problems. There are many reasons behind this liver pain. 


Associated symptoms with this pain are: mental confusion, irritability, headache, depression, muscle pain, and some allergic reactions. Gallstones, peptic ulcer, and irritable bowel syndrome also cause pain in the area of liver.

It is been found that alcoholism is the leading cause of liver disease. It can cause liver inflammation, trauma, infections, and even liver cancer.  


Common causes of liver pain are detailed below:
 

Liver cancer

Malicious tumor of liver is responsible for pain in this area. . After medical screening and different tests, physicians easily detect it. Liver pain may be constant and dull; sometimes it may be sharp in nature. 

Cirrhosis

Though it can be due to viral infections or other causes but is usually caused by alcoholism. This is a condition when liver cells and tissues get deteriorated thereby reducing the functionality of the liver. Associated causes with this condition are Hepatitis B, C and D.

Enlarged spleen

Infections and excessive workload on the filtering capacity of the spleen can cause the spleen to become enlarged. This puts pressure on its surrounding and can also infect the liver; pain can be felt in the abdominal area due to it.

Fatty liver disease

This is usually caused by accumulation of too much amount of fats within the liver cells. Poor diet may cause this problem. The liver gets enlarged and liver tissues can no longer function better. Alcohol abuse also increases fat synthesis within the liver cells while infections, toxins, and obesity are common causes of non-alcoholic fatty diseases.   

Liver cysts

It is an abnormal round shape accumulation of fluid that may form within the liver. The exact cause of this condition is not clearly known. It is found by chance and usually does not produce symptoms. Such pain can be felt only when the cyst is found to be chronic. Pain can be felt at the top of the abdominal area and also at the tip of right shoulder.

Hemochromatosis

Too much iron deposit has found to damage the liver along with different other organs. This also causes the malfunctioning of the liver and leads to fatal hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Wilson’s disease

Here too much copper is got accumulated within the liver. This excess  copper deposits in the liver can thus also lead to cirrhosis and hepatitis. This disease is usually incurable and can create complications within the body system.

 

Differential Diagnosis of Liver Pain


Liver pain can be triggered by multiple conditions, from inherited to chronic diseases. Whatever the cause, it is right to have a proper diagnosis and treatment earlier in order to inhibit future complications that can be life threatening. The exact cause of liver pain is usually found out via certain tests. Urine tests and blood tests are usually the tests to be first conducted. Further examinations will be considered if patients have multiple symptoms. Ultrasound, CT scan, and biopsies are some other tests suggested to determine the exact cause.

Endoscopy and ultrasound scans are used to diagnose cirrhosis and liver scarring. Liver biopsy is also used to diagnose cirrhosis and other type of chronic hepatitis. These tests are needed to determine how serious the liver damage is, since chronic damage leads to liver cancer. The initial tests such as blood tests are essential too. 


Liver enzymes and alpha fetoprotein are detected through blood test. When they are present in higher amounts in non-pregnant adults, this shows the possibility of liver cancer or other related liver problems. On the other hand, screening for toxic substance abuse is also essential if the cause of liver problems is due to toxins or drugs exposures.

Other diagnosis such as in case of hepatitis, your physicians will ask you about the use of intravenous drugs, the consumption of contaminated food and polluted water, your recent trip to any other city/country and a history of physical contact. He/she will also question about your blood transfusion history, and use any previous medications.

 

Remedies and Treatment for Liver Pain


For some simple symptoms of liver pain, using hot compresses and anti-inflammatory drugs are better for the time being. . Healthy diet coupled with a regular exercise should be practiced daily; one should not indulge into any addictive habits as they can prolong the liver pain. Antiviral drugs are prescribed in case of viral infection.  


Use healthy diet and drink a good volume of water to provide your body enough electrolyte repletion and as well as to keep it hydrated. It is also advisable to maintain good personal hygiene and follow sanitary measures. If patients are unable to take food, they are advised to stay in the hospital to fill in the loss through latent saline treatment.  

To cure liver pain, it is suggested to practice alternative corrective measures such as drinking of a large volume of water, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, taking vitamin A, B1, and K, and naturally detoxify the body through herbs or supplements.

To prevent liver pain, it is practical not to over indulge into alcoholism. Alcohol abuse can cause serious liver damage. It is important to take physician’s advice and use drugs only after consultation.

Patients with cirrhosis and any acute liver diseases are difficult to cure. They should practice preventive measures to avoid malfunctioning of the liver. As long as their liver is functioning, they still have a better chance of survival. Therefore, they should take care themselves.

Acute hepatitis has no specific treatment but preventive measures can be practiced such as regular vaccination to prevent the spread of hepatitis virus, giving patients the right amount of healthy food to use, and giving the right dosage of medicine which prevents the disease to get worst.
 

References : 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liver
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/picture-of-the-liver
http://www.md-health.com/Liver-Pain-Symptoms.html
http://pain.com/library/2011/10/07-liver-pain/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/liver-problems/DS01133/DSECTION=causes
http://www.allhealthsite.com/liver-pain-location-causes-symptoms-and-treatment.html

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