Digestive & Liver Disease Center of San Antonio PLLC
Robert M Narvaez, MD, MBA
Digestive Healthcare Center & Gastroenterologist located in San Antonio, TX
Cirrhosis is a common cause of serious liver damage among adults today. Undiagnosed and untreated, late-stage cirrhosis can cause liver failure, increase your risk for liver cancer, or even lead to death if you don’t get a transplant. At Digestive & Liver Disease Center of San Antonio PLLC, gastroenterologist Robert Narvaez, MD, MBA, is a cirrhosis specialist who can diagnose your condition early and help you prevent its progression. Call the San Antonio, Texas, office or book your appointment using online scheduling today.
What is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is liver scarring caused by severe tissue damage. The scar tissue replaces your healthy liver tissue, which partially obstructs blood flow within your liver. This leads to poor liver function and eventually to liver failure as the cirrhosis progresses.
Your liver is the workhorse of your digestive system. It cleanses your blood, filters out toxins, produces essential digestive fluids, and helps maintain blood sugar levels. You can’t efficiently perform these tasks without a healthy liver, so cirrhosis can have severe health consequences.
What causes cirrhosis?
Underlying health conditions are the main cause of liver cirrhosis. These conditions include:
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis B
- Alcohol-related liver disease
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Other possible causes include viruses, drug-related injury, and exposure to toxins. If you have specific risk factors, you’re more likely to develop cirrhosis.
What are the risk factors for liver cirrhosis?
Liver cirrhosis risk factors include being male, being older than 50, having abused alcohol for a prolonged period, or having Type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors for cirrhosis include:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Inherited gastrointestinal disorder
- Excessive iron buildup in your body
- Medication that contains methotrexate
Dr. Narvaez can examine you and perform diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your cirrhosis.
What are the symptoms of cirrhosis?
Often, you won’t notice any cirrhosis symptoms until you already have serious liver damage. As the damage worsens, you may experience:
- Chronic exhaustion
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Easy bruising
- Easy bleeding
- Edema (fluid retention) in your legs
- Ascites (abdominal fluid retention)
- Red hands
- Jaundice (yellow hue to eyes and skin)
- New, weblike blood vessels
- Digestive tract bleeding
With cirrhosis, women may lose their period — unrelated to menopause — and men may develop gynecomastia (breast tissue growth) or testicular atrophy.
How do you treat cirrhosis of the liver?
There’s no cure for advanced cirrhosis, other than a transplant if your liver fails completely. But it’s possible to keep cirrhosis from getting worse. Dr. Narvaez can recommend specific diet changes, exercise routines, and strategies to stop drinking so you can preserve your health.
If you suspect you have cirrhosis, or you need to schedule a screening, reach out to Digestive & Liver Disease Center of San Antonio PLLC by phone or through the online appointment scheduler.