Cirrhosis is a serious medical condition in which scar tissue and inflammation cause significant damage to the liver. There are several potential causes of cirrhosis, including hereditary conditions, hepatitis, and even chronic alcoholism. While there is no treatment currently available that will restore lost liver function, cirrhosis treatment can sometimes slow the progress of the disease, improving both the life span and quality of life of the patient. Cirrhosis treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications, and sometimes surgery.
The primary goal in cirrhosis treatment is to treat the original cause of the disease. For instance, if alcoholism is the cause, eliminating the consumption of alcohol can slow the progression of the disease. In addition to natural disease, certain medications and environmental toxins, including acetaminophen, can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Therefore, finding the origin of the disease is crucial to obtaining proper cirrhosis treatment.
Regardless of the origin of the disease, all forms of cirrhosis treatment include certain restrictions. For instance, alcohol and acetaminophen are known to contribute to the disease, so their usage should be stopped completely. A low-sodium diet can slow or prevent the tissue swelling that often accompanies this type of liver disease.
Diuretic medications are often used as a type of cirrhosis treatment. Fluid often builds up in the tissues of the body when liver function is compromised, and these medications help the body to get rid of some of that excess fluid. A doctor should be consulted before starting the use of diuretics, as frequent lab work is sometimes mandated.
Fluid buildup is an extremely common complication with liver disease. Therefore, cirrhosis treatment often requires the use of antibiotic therapy. Due to the extra fluid in the abdominal cavity, infection is always a risk. This is another reason for being monitored on a regular basis by a medical professional.
Surgical intervention is sometimes needed when the excess fluid is not able to be dealt with another way. A procedure known as paracentesis involves the use of a needle, which is inserted into the wall of the abdomen to draw out some of the excess fluid. This procedure is done when other methods of fluid removal, such as a low-sodium diet and the use of over-the-counter or prescription diuretics, have not been effective. This procedure can be repeated at various intervals, but if it is frequently necessary, a shunt is sometimes surgically placed in the abdomen to drain the extra fluid from the body.