How is the treatment for liver cirrhosis performed?
The treatment for liver cirrhosis is recommended by the gastroenterologist according to the symptoms and severity of the illness, and may recommend the use of certain medications, a proper diet or, in the most severe cases, liver transplantation.
Liver cirrhosis is a progressive disease of the liver that arises as a result of situations that generate the slow and gradual destruction of liver cells, such as excessive consumption of alcohol or hepatitis, for example.
Liver transplantation is indicated when liver cirrhosis is decompensated, favored by the emergence of complications such as ascitis, variceal digestive hemorrhage, hepatic encephalopathy and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. For this reason, it is important that the treatment of liver cirrhosis be carried out as soon as possible to slow down the progress of the disease and prevent complications.
In this way, the treatment for liver cirrhosis consists of the following options:
1. Use of medication
The treatment of hepatic cirrhosis through the use of medication aims to control certain symptoms of this condition, such as burning and abdominal swelling caused by asciitis, which is the accumulation of liquids in the abdomen, which may be indicated by the doctor for use of diuretic drugs that help eliminate excess fluid. Know more about what is the ascitis and what are the symptoms.
In case of hepatic encephalopathy, which is a complication of cirrhosis in which brain malfunction occurs, some laxatives and antibiotics, such as lactulosa and neomycin or rifaximin, can be prescribed to help eliminate toxins through the intestines, preventing these substances from harming the functioning of the brain. As liver cirrhosis increases the pressure of blood vessels in the liver, beta-blocking drugs can also be indicated to reduce blood pressure.
The pharmacological treatment for hepatic cirrhosis alone must be indicated by the gastroenterologist in accordance with the clinical indications and symptoms presented by the individual. On certain occasions, vaccination against hepatitis A and B is recommended to prevent further damage to the liver.
2. Diet for cirrhosis
The diet for liver cirrhosis must be recommended by a nutritionist and is based on foods low in salt, and must be replaced by other condiments such as perejil or lemon, for example. Likewise, it is recommended to consume foods rich in fiber and low in protein, especially if the person has ascites or hepatic encephalopathy.
The nutritional treatment of hepatic cirrhosis also involves avoiding fatty and processed foods, as well as not using drugs, especially alcohol because it is one of the main causes of this disease, as these can damage the liver further. Therefore, in the treatment for alcoholic liver cirrhosis, alcohol abstinence is fundamental.
See more details on how the diet for cirrhosis should be.
3. Natural treatment
The natural treatment of liver cirrhosis should not replace the indicated treatment and should be carried out under the guidance of a doctor. It can be used as a medicine, which thanks to its detoxifying and depurative properties, can help alleviate the symptoms of cirrhosis.
For cases in which liver cirrhosis was not caused by excess alcohol, called non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis, the use of zinc and vitamin E supplements may be recommended, as they have an anti-inflammatory action that reduces the symptoms of this disease.
Hemodialysis is indicated for people who have suffered some injury to the kidneys caused by the complications of liver cirrhosis, such as the increase in toxins in the body, because the liver cannot absorb or eliminate these substances, as well as by increasing the arterial pressure or due to the blood circulation period in the kidneys.
This procedure must be carried out in a hospital or clinic and consists of a treatment to filter the blood, eliminating toxins and sales, that is to say, it is carried out by means of a machine that exerts the same functions as the kidneys.
Find out more about how hemodialysis works.
5. Liver transplantation
Liver transplantation is recommended by the doctor in the most serious cases, when the liver cirrhosis is decompensated, when the liver is seriously compromised and it cannot function properly, or when the treatment with medications is not being effective. This type of treatment can also be indicated in cases where the liver is affected by a tumor.
If this procedure is indicated, it is necessary to wait in the line of donations, because the transplant surgery will be scheduled only after finding a donor.
Complications of liver cirrhosis
Hepatic cirrhosis should be treated as soon as the diagnosis is made, as it can cause complications such as ascitis, which is the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen generated by the increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the liver, which causes them to become compress. To reverse this complication, it is necessary to use medication and perform paracentesis. See what this procedure consists of.
Other complications of cirrhosis of the liver can be the esophageal varices, which arise due to the rupture of blood vessels in the esophagus, caused by the increase in pressure; and peritonitis, which is inflammation of the membrane that covers the abdomen. Cerebral and pulmonary complications can also appear due to the decrease in the amount of oxygen present in the blood.
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