What is the treatment for cirrhosis?


Quick Answer

WebMD states that there is no cure for cirrhosis of the liver, but lifestyle changes can prevent additional damage. Medicines and regular doctor visits treat complications of the liver, and a liver transplant or palliative care is used for severe cases.

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Full Answer

According to WebMD, it is important to quit drinking alcohol completely to curb cirrhosis. A doctor consultation on non-prescription drug intake such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen can help determine if these medicines increase the risk of bleeding and further liver damage. Implementing a low-sodium diet prevents fluid build-up in the chest and abdomen, and immunization against hepatitis A and B, pneumococcus and influenza are helpful.

Medicines such as antibiotics and diuretics are used to treat cirrhosis complications such as fluid build-up, as are procedures that reroute fluid from the stomach or remove the fluid with a needle. Enlarged veins in the digestive tract are treated with endoscopic variceal banding to stop bleeding, shunt placement to move fluids away from the stomach or vasoconstrictor or beta-blocker medicines.

WebMD advises regular doctor visits to test for cirrhosis complications before they become severe. Testing for varices with endoscopy every two to three years is recommended, and liver cancer testing should take place every six months. A liver transplant is the only cirrhosis treatment that restores normal functioning of the liver, but it is typically only an option for life-threatening liver damage.

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