What Are Some Causes of Hepatomegaly?

Causes of hepatomegaly include gastrointestinal disorders such as sclerosing cholangitis, which is a condition in which the bile ducts become damaged due to swelling; glycogen storage disease, a disorder that runs in the blood; hemochromatosis, a condition in which excess iron accumulates in body organs such as the liver; and steatosis, which is the buildup of excess fat in the liver, notes Healthgrades. Autoimmune disease and amyloidosis are some of non-gastrointestinal conditions that may cause hepatomegaly.

Hepatomegaly, also known as enlarged liver, is a condition in which the liver enlarges beyond its normal size, according to Healthgrades. Symptoms that may occur together with hepatomegaly include body hair loss, jaundice, skin itching, high body temperature and discolored urine. Patients with an enlarged liver may also experience life-threatening symptoms such as mental status changes, distended abdomen, abdominal pain, vomiting blood and severe fatigue.

Because some of these symptoms may signify serious medical conditions such as liver cancer, liver metastases, Reye’s syndrome and liver injury, it is advisable to visit a doctor immediately when the symptoms appear. Prompt treatment helps to prevent possible complications such as liver failure, portal hypertension, hepatic encephalopathy and spread of cancer.

Some of the things that may help prevent hepatomegaly include eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, regulating alcohol intake and avoiding chemical exposure, states Mayo Clinic. Other preventive measures include keeping body weight at a healthy level and avoiding smoking.