(815) 397-7340

Cirrhosis Treatment Options

Cirrhosis is a chronic liver condition that can be the consequence of obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), high alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis B or C infection, autoimmune diseases, cholestatic diseases (liver conditions that impair bile flow from the liver) and iron or copper overload. It develops after a long period of liver inflammation and is characterized by liver fibrosis or irreversible scarring of the liver.

While cirrhosis cannot be reversed, treatment for cirrhosis focuses on managing the underlying causes, preventing further liver damage and liver failure, and addressing complications. Some of the diseases that cause cirrhosis can be cured. If identified early, liver fibrosis may be reversible with appropriate treatment.

  • If cirrhosis is caused by alcohol abuse, it’s essential to stop drinking completely. Your RGA provider may refer you to an alcoholic treatment program.
  • If the cause is viral hepatitis C, they may prescribe one or more medications approved to treated hepatitis C. Studies report that hepatitis C can be cured in > 95% of people with this disease.
  • If the cause is hepatitis B infection, your Rockford GI doctor may prescribe antiviral medications that can slow or stop further liver damage.
  • If the cause is an autoimmune hepatitis, there are medications to suppress the immune system, and induce a remission.
  • If the cause is NAFLD, or fatty liver disease, specific treatments such as lifestyle modifications and medications can help manage fatty liver disease. Lifestyle modifications include avoiding alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, following a balanced diet, and regular exercise to slow the progression of liver fibrosis. Medications can include insulin sensitizers and treating diabetes and dyslipidemia.
  • If the cause is blocked or damaged bile ducts, medications such as ursodiol can help. Your RGA provider may recommend an endoscopic procedure or surgery to open the blocked or narrowed bile ducts.
  • If the cause is a medication you take, your RGA provider may discontinue that medication.

Various medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms and complications of cirrhosis. Some medications target inflammation and fibrosis directly. Others like diuretics can reduce fluid retention and swelling.  Beta-blockers can lower blood pressure in the portal vein caused by cirrhosis.  Lactulose or other medications can manage hepatic encephalopathy (a condition that affects brain function due to liver failure).

Malnutrition is common in cirrhosis, so ensuring adequate nutrition is crucial. A balanced diet with sufficient protein and calorie intake may be recommended. In severe cases, a feeding tube or intravenous nutrition may be necessary.

When cirrhosis leads to liver failure, your RGA provider may consider a liver transplant. This involves replacing the diseased liver with a healthy liver from a donor.

Cirrhosis can lead to various complications such as portal hypertension, esophageal varices (enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus), ascites (abdominal fluid buildup), and hepatic encephalopathy. These complications require specific management approaches, including medications, procedures (such as banding to treat varices), paracentesis to remove excess fluid, and supportive care.

Regular monitoring of liver function, imaging studies, and surveillance for liver cancer may be recommended to detect any progression of fibrosis or the development of complications.

It’s important to note that the specific treatment plan for cirrhosis depends on the individual’s underlying cause, overall health, and the stage of the disease. Your RGA provider will provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations based on your specific circumstances.

Contact Rockford Gastroenterology Associates in Rockford Illinois to schedule a consultation to receive board-certified expert care at our renowned international Center of Excellence.

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffice on our website.

Accept Learn More