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What causes an enlarged liver?

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Quick Answer

An enlarged liver may be caused by various conditions and diseases, including viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholic fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Wilson's disease, amyloidosis and liver cysts, according to Mayo Clinic. It may also be caused by Gaucher's disease, hemachromatosis, benign liver tumors, toxic hepatitis, or bile duct or gallbladder obstruction. Additionally, an enlarged liver can be caused by metastatic cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, liver cancer, pericarditis, heart failure or Budd-Chiari syndrome.

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Full Answer

An enlarged liver usually has no symptoms, but some people may notice abdominal discomfort or a feeling of fullness, according to WebMD. Other symptoms of liver disease may also be present with an enlarged liver, including weight loss, nausea, weakness, fatigue and jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.

An enlarged liver can be detected on the right side of the abdomen during a physical exam. If the cause of the enlarged liver is unknown, liver enzyme tests, MRIs and CT scans or other tests may be conducted to determine the cause of enlargement, notes WebMD.

Liver enlargement can cause liver failure if a large part of the liver is deteriorated or damaged. Because of the role the liver plays in the body, it is important that the cause of liver enlargement is discovered and treated as soon as possible, advises WebMD.

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