Cirrhosis is the term used to describe a diseased liver that has been severely damaged, usually due to many years of injury.

Many people who have developed cirrhosis have no symptoms or non-specific such as fatigue. However, as the cirrhosis progresses, symptoms often develop as the liver is no longer able to perform its normal functions.

Symptoms include:

  • swollen legs and an enlarged abdomen
  • easy bruising and bleeding
  • frequent bacterial infections
  • malnutrition, especially muscle wasting in the temples and upper arms
  • jaundice (a yellow tinge to the skin and eyes).

Cirrhosis is diagnosed using a number of tests including: blood tests, radiology  and a biopsy of the liver. Treatment is directed to the underlying cause of the liver diease and management of the complications.  Alcohol abstinence is essential to prevent further damage the liver. Medication may be given to prevent complications and treat symptoms of liver failure.

Liver transplantation is an option in people who have developed life-threatening or medical intractable complications or liver cancer.

Click here to view our Liver Cirrhosis Video explaining the medical condition.

For more information visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website.