Cirrhosis Of The Liver: Causes, Signs, Stages, & Treatments

Cirrhosis can be a serious condition, but understanding the signs can help you choose treatment on time.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Zeel Gandhi, BAMS Dr. Zeel Gandhi Dr. Zeel GandhiBAMS
Written by , Health & Wellness Writer Shaheen Naser Health & Wellness Writer Experience: 3 years
Edited by , Senior Editor Arshiya Syeda Senior Editor Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Dipti Sharma Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Experience: 2 years
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Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to complications associated with liver damage, like cirrhosis. The inquiry into home remedies for cirrhosis of liver is on the rise, keeping in tandem with the prevalence of alcoholism. That is not surprising, as overconsumption of alcohol has been linked with deterioration of liver health.

Liver cirrhosis is a painful condition and requires home remedies or medications and major lifestyle modifications to be resolved. Keep reading to know how this life-threatening condition may be cured using simple and effective natural remedies.

What Is Cirrhosis Of The Liver?

Cirrhosis of the liver is a slowly progressing disease that causes scar tissues to replace healthy liver tissues. The build-up of these scar tissues might even stop the functioning of the liver eventually.
Cirrhosis develops when there is long-term and continuous damage to your liver cells. When your healthy liver tissues are destroyed and completely replaced by scar tissues, it may lead to complications as the blood flow to your liver is blocked.

protip_icon Did You Know?
René Laennec first termed the word ‘cirrhosis’ in 1819, deriving it from the Greek word ‘kirrhos’, which means the tawny or tan color of the affected liver.

Let us now take a look at the causes of this condition.

What Causes Cirrhosis Of The Liver?

Cirrhosis of the liver can be caused by:

  • Long-term alcohol abuse

A 2018 study in The Lancet looked at the relative risk of liver cirrhosis based on alcohol consumption, including if it was usually taken with meals. According to the study, cirrhosis incidence rose with total alcohol intake in middle-aged women, even at moderate levels of consumption. If alcohol is regularly consumed without meals or on a daily basis for a week, the risk of cirrhosis becomes significantly higher.

Relative Risk (RR) Of Liver Cirrhosis By The Amount Of Alcohol Consumed And Whether It Was Usually With Meals

Source: Alcohol drinking patterns and liver cirrhosis risk: analysis of the prospective UK Million Women Study
  • Hepatitis B or C infections
  • Medical conditions like fatty liver disease
  • Genetic disorders like hemochromatosisi  XA condition in which the body absorbs too much iron from the food you intake and causes multiple organ dysfunction. and Wilson’s diseasei  XA rare inherited disorder that occurs when the body accumulates excessive amounts of copper, especially in the liver and brain. that cause accumulation of iron or copper in the liver
  • Intake of toxic metals
  • Untreated jaundice
  • Blockage of the bile ducts due to cancer of the bile duct or pancreas

Some factors that may increase your risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver include:

  • Regular consumption of alcohol
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Ingestion or inhalation of toxic substances
  • A family history of liver disease
  • Certain medications
  • Obesity

Cirrhosis of the liver may have varying symptoms, depending on its stage. Let us first understand the different stages before looking at the symptoms.

Stages Of Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis has four stages:

  • Stage 1 – Extremely Mild
  • Stage 2 – Relatively Mild
  • Stage 3 – Moderate
  • Stage 4 – Severe

protip_icon Did You Know?
Different stages of liver cirrhosis have a specific name. Stage 1 is called steatosis, stage 2 is called scarring, stage 3 is called cirrhosis, and stage 4 is liver failure or hepatic failure.

These stages are characterized by the following symptoms.

Signs And Symptoms Of Cirrhosis Of The Liver

Stage 1 Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Liver Inflammation and swelling

Stage 2 Symptoms

  • Increased blood pressure in the veins of the liver
  • Dilation of veins around the stomach
  • Restricted blood flow to the liver
  • Severe swelling of the liver

Stage 3 Symptoms

  • Accumulation of fluid in the stomach cavity
  • Eczema
  • Itchiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Swelling
  • Pale or yellow skin
  • Difficulty in breathing

Stage 4 Symptoms

Most of the symptoms in this stage are similar to that of stage 3. It may also cause:

  • The dilated veins around your abdomen to rupture and bleed
  • Intensified confusion
  • Hand tremors
  • Infection of the abdominal cavity
  • High fever
  • Behavioral changes
  • Kidney failure
  • Infrequent urination

This is the last stage of cirrhosis of the liver, and there is absolutely no cure for this.

Other chronic liver diseases to watch out for include non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcoholic liver disease (ALD), hepatitis b, hepatitis c, viral hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), autoimmune hepatitis, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, liver cancer, and drug-induced liver injury (DILI). Some of these diseases may have similar symptoms to cirrhosis. So it is very important that you get checked by a doctor before trying any treatment on your own.

As per the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Global Burden of Disease Study, 1.5 billion persons had chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in 2017. Of these, the most common are NAFLD (60%), hepatitis B (29%), hepatitis C (9%), and ALD (2%). Also, cirrhosis prevalence and mortality have increased in recent years in the United States, accounting for more than 44,000 deaths in the country.

Gillian May, nurse turned writer/researcher, shared her dad’s struggle with liver cirrhosis. In her blog, she writes, “My father died of alcoholic liver cirrhosis four years ago. It came as a surprise to all of us, even though it was clear he had a severe drinking problem for decades. He was admitted to the hospital on June 24, 2016, and he died on July 18. Only 24 days passed between the first sign there was a problem and his subsequent death (i).”

It is very important to avail treatment as soon as you notice the functioning of your liver deteriorating to successfully combat liver cirrhosis. Delaying diagnosis and proper treatment can lead to multiple complications, as discussed in the next section.

Complications Of Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is the final result of all chronic liver conditions and is reported to be among the top ten causes of death in the US (1). If left untreated, it may have dire complications as listed below:

  • Portal hypertension (Increased blood pressure in the portal venous system.)
  • Hepatic (liver) dysfunction
  • Ascites (Accumulation of fluid in abdominal spaces.)
  • Varices (Abnormal veins and blood vessels in the esophagus.)
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (Loss of brain function due to severe liver damage.)
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (A common form of primary liver cancer.)
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome (A type of lung complication due to advanced liver disease.)
  • Coagulation or blood clotting disorders

Now you can see why liver cirrhosis cannot be neglected. The following are some quick and effective remedies that will help you combat the symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver and prevent further damage to the organ.

How To Treat Cirrhosis Of The Liver Naturally

  1. Milk Thistle
  2. Turmeric
  3. Papaya Seeds
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Ginger
  6. Carrot Seed Oil
  7. Apple Cider Vinegar
  8. Flaxseeds
  9. Burdock Root
  10. Coconut Oil
  11. Green Tea

Natural Remedies To Treat Cirrhosis

1. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle for cirrhosis of liver
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons of milk thistle tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add one to two teaspoons of milk thistle tea to a cup of steaming hot water.
  2. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain.
  3. Add a little honey to the warm tea before drinking.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this tea 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Milk thistle contains a compound called silymarin that exhibits antioxidant and detoxifying properties. These help in detoxifying the liver, combating the symptoms of cirrhosis (2).

2. Turmeric

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Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 glass of hot milk
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of hot milk and stir well.
  2. Consume it immediately.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink turmeric milk once daily.

Why This Works

The curcumin in turmeric makes it a powerful antioxidant that can repair the damage caused by free radicals (3), (4). It can also restore the functioning of the liver.

3. Papaya Seeds

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You Will Need
What You Have To Do
  1. Crush some papaya seeds to extract the juice.
  2. Take a tablespoon of this juice and mix it with 10 drops of lemon juice.
  3. Add this mixture to a glass of water and consume immediately.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this mixture twice daily for optimum benefits.

Why This Works

Papaya seeds contain enzymes like papain that protect your organs from free radical damage. They also contain many vital nutrients that can help in healing liver cirrhosis (5).

4. Vitamin C

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You Will Need

500-5000 mg vitamin C supplements

What You Have To Do

Take 500 to 5000 mg vitamin C supplements.

How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

Vitamin C supplements can heal cirrhosis of the liver as they help in flushing out toxins and fat from the liver. They can also prevent fat build-up in the liver as vitamin C deficiency is one of the many causes of liver diseases (6).

5. Ginger

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You Will Need
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add an inch or two of ginger to a cup of steaming hot water.
  2. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain.
  3. Add some honey to the tea before consuming to beat the strong flavor.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this concoction 3 to 4 times daily.

Why This Works

Ginger is another natural remedy that can help treat liver cirrhosis with its powerful antioxidant and hypolipidemici  XAn agent that reduces the level of lipids and lipoproteins in the blood (mode of transport for cholesterol through the bloodstream). effects. These effects help in flushing fat and toxins out of your liver and restore its healthy cells (7).

6. Carrot Seed Oil

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You Will Need
  • 12 drops of carrot seed oil
  • 30 mL of any carrier oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix 12 drops of carrot seed oil with 30 mL of any carrier oil.
  2. Apply this mixture below your right rib cage and spread it across your abdomen and back.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily, preferably every morning and night.

Why This Works

Carrot seed oil is hepatic and is known to detoxify your liver and regenerate the healthy cells of the liver tissues (8). Hence, it is a great remedy to combat cirrhosis of the liver.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 glass of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and add a teaspoon of honey to it.
  3. Consume immediately.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this solution 1 to 2 times daily for a couple of months.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which speeds up the metabolism of fat inside your body. Acetic acid also helps with detoxification of the liver (9).

8. Flaxseeds

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered flaxseeds
  • 1 glass of warm water
  • Lemon juice (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of powdered flaxseeds to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and consume immediately.
  3. For added flavor, you can add some lemon juice and honey to the flaxseed mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this concoction 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

The presence of omega-3 fatty acids makes flaxseeds one of the best remedies for treating cirrhosis of the liver. They help in reducing the inflammation and damage caused due to liver cirrhosis by speeding the fat metabolism of your body (10).

9. Burdock Root

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Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons of burdock tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add one to two teaspoons of burdock root tea to a cup of hot water.
  2. Steep for 5 to 20 minutes and strain.
  3. Add a little honey to the warm tea and drink it.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Burdock root is an excellent antioxidant that possesses strong diuretic and detoxifying properties (11). It is one of your best bets for restoring the normal functioning of your liver.

10. Coconut Oil

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You Will Need

1 tablespoon of 100% virgin coconut oil

What You Have To Do

Consume a tablespoon of 100% virgin coconut oil every morning on an empty stomach.

How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

Coconut oil contains beneficial medium-chain fatty acids that exhibit antioxidant and detoxifying properties. The oil is also known to improve metabolism and is a great option to restore the health of your liver (12).

11. Green Tea

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Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of green tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of green tea to a cup of hot water.
  2. Allow it to steep for about 5 minutes and strain.
  3. Once the tea cools down a bit, add some honey to it.
  4. Consume it.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink green tea 2 to 3 times daily for best results.

Why This Works

Green tea contains beneficial polyphenolsi  XNaturally occurring organic compounds found largely in fruits and vegetables with various health benefits. that have antioxidant and metabolic properties (13), (14). It is also a natural diuretic, which also facilitates the healing of liver disease (15).

Caution

Avoid drinking too much of green tea as it can worsen your condition.

All the above remedies require a few lifestyle changes for faster and effective results. Here are a few tips that you can incorporate into your daily life.

Prevention Tips

  • Avoid alcohol intake.
  • Keep a check on your weight.
  • Reduce your risk of hepatitisi  XAn inflammatory condition of the liver that happens when tissues of the body are injured or infected. infections by taking the necessary precautions.
  • Follow a healthy and well-balanced diet.
  • Reduce your intake of fatty and fried foods.

Given below is a detailed diet chart to assist you.

Liver Cirrhosis Diet

The following is a list of foods that you need to consume and avoid to restore the degrading health of your liver.

Foods To Consume

  • Oats
  • Whole grains
  • Lean meat
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Beta-carotene rich foods like carrots

Foods To Avoid

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Fried or fatty foods

Infographic: Exercises To Improve Quality Of Life In People With Liver Cirrhosis

Lifestyle changes, especially including exercise in the daily routine, can have a positive impact on the quality of life and the rate of recovery of patients at different stages of liver cirrhosis. However, not all exercises are suitable for individuals with this condition. Check out the infographic below to find out which exercises are safe and beneficial.

exercises to improve quality of life in people with liver cirrhosis (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

Liver cirrhosis is a medical condition in which continual damage to the liver may cause its healthy cells to be replaced by scar tissues. Prolonged alcohol abuse, fatty liver disease, blockage of bile ducts, Hepatitis infections, ingestion of toxic metals, and certain genetic or medical disorders may lead to cirrhosis of the liver. This liver disease can lead to many other ailments, impairing the functioning of other body parts and causing problems like ascites, portal hypertension,and viral hepatitis. This progressive condition is outlined into four distinct phases, with the first being the mildest. Home remedies to treat this condition need to be applied along with lifestyle and diet modifications. As liver cirrhosis can be a life-threatening disease, you need to work along with your healthcare provider and start treating it as promptly as possible.

Did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments box right below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the treatment for cirrhosis of the liver?

Prevention is the best treatment when it comes to liver cirrhosis. However, those in the advanced stages of the disease can opt for a liver transplant.

What are the final stages of cirrhosis of the liver?

Once cirrhosis reaches its final stage, it cannot be cured. This stage is characterized by internal gastrointestinal bleeding.

How long does it take to cure cirrhosis?

By making the required lifestyle changes, such as reducing salt and alcohol intake, individuals in the initial stage of liver cirrhosis can recover completely in a year. However, if you are in the later stages, you can never fully reverse the condition.

How does alcohol affect the liver?

Alcohol causes oxidative stress damage to the liver. Hence, those suffering from liver cirrhosis are strictly warned against consuming alcohol.

How many drinks in a day can cause liver damage?

Less than two standard drinks per day are considered relatively safe. More than six drinks daily will damage your liver with time.

What is the life expectancy of cirrhosis of the liver?

Cirrhosis of the liver is a severe and life-threatening condition, and life expectancy depends on the stage and type. For instance, compensated cirrhosis has a life expectancy of 9-12 years, whereas decompensated cirrhosis may have a life expectancy of 3 months to 2 years in most cases.

How quickly does cirrhosis progress?

Fatty liver disease may take anywhere between 10 to 30 years to progress and reach the cirrhosis stage, which is the final stage of liver damage.

Can you live without a liver?

No, it is not possible to live without a functioning liver as it is one of the vital organs of the body.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular consumption of alcohol and the intake of toxic metals can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Eating a diet rich in fiber, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding alcohol may help prevent cirrhosis symptoms.
  • Some remedies like milk thistle, turmeric, and papaya seeds may help treat this condition naturally.
  • But eating fried foods, salt, and sugar can worsen the issue.
Cirrhosis Of The Liver

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

With the correct treatment, liver cirrhosis can be effectively treated and you can feel like your old self. Check out this video to find out the quickest approach to treating it.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Cirrhosis and its complications: Evidence based treatment
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017060/
  2. Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20564545/
  3. Antioxidant efficacy of curcuminoids from turmeric ( Curcuma longa L.) powder in broiler chickens fed diets containing aflatoxin B1
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19682401/
  4. Turmeric extract and its active compound, curcumin, protect against chronic CCl4-induced liver damage by enhancing antioxidation
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27561811/
  5. Natural Home Remedies for Common Ailments
    https://books.google.co.in/books?id=mLMCnwomGCsC&&pg=PA49&&dq=papaya+seeds+for+cirrhosis+of+liver
  6. Association between Dietary Vitamin C Intake and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Cross-Sectional Study among Middle-Aged and Older Adults
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26824361/
  7. Ginger Supplementation in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4834197/
  8. Effect of Turmeric and Carrot Seed Extracts on Serum Liver Biomarkers and Hepatic Lipid Peroxidation, Antioxidant Enzymes and Total Antioxidant Status in Rats
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648928/
  9. Acetic acid upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver to suppress body fat accumulation
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19469536/
  10. Flaxseed supplementation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a pilot randomized, open labeled, controlled study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26983396/
  11. A review of the pharmacological effects of Arctium lappa (burdock)
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20981575/
  12. Virgin coconut oil protects against liver damage in albino rats challenged with the anti-folate combination, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24285126/
  13. Antioxidant effects of green tea
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679539/
  14. The effects of green tea consumption on metabolic and anthropometric indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24523800/
  15. Health-promoting effects of green tea
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365247/
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