Signs that your liver is in trouble

Signs that your liver is in trouble
Signs that your liver is in trouble

Liver diseases can sometimes be silent, but this could generate an even more serious condition for the organ. Therefore, it is important to take into account the signs that our body gives off and consult a doctor when necessary.

Discovering the cause and extent of a liver problem is important in order to prescribe treatment. The physician is likely to start with the medical history and a thorough physical examination. But first we must be aware of a sign that indicates a malfunction in the organ.

Carlos Romero-Marrero, gastroenterologist, assures that few people know when their liver is failing. This can put us at greater risk of contracting a serious disease.

“People with liver failure are more likely to develop liver cancer,” he says. “But most don’t even know what causes liver failure, let alone the symptoms.”

Most Common Signs of Liver Failure

  • Fluid retention: This is the most common sign of liver disease and occurs in 50% of people who have cirrhosis, a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue.

Fluid accumulation can cause bloating in the abdomen or swelling in the legs.

This happens when high blood pressure develops in the veins of the liver or when the liver cannot produce albumin, a protein that prevents leakage from the bloodstream into the tissues.

  • Jaundice: This condition causes darker urine and a yellowish tint to the skin or whites of the eyes. It appears when bilirubin, a pigment formed when red blood cells break down. In turn, it accumulates in the bloodstream. A healthy liver absorbs bilirubin and converts it into bile. Your body then excretes it in your stool.
  • Bleeding: The liver normally circulates about 25% of the blood from the portal vein. But cirrhosis creates an opportunity for bleeding. You may vomit blood or notice blood in your stool or rectal bleeding.
  • Confusion: When the liver is unable to filter toxins, they can be diverted to the brain. The resulting condition, known as hepatic encephalopathy, can cause confusion, memory problems, lethargy and coma.

As we can see, the liver is an organ that can affect several aspects of our body if it is not in good condition to carry out its work. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the signals it gives us to be able to attack a possible disease in time.

Soon, we will see which are the treatments that could be applied in case of having any of the exposed problems.

Oriana Arenas, redacción

Pasante de contenidos Fundahígado América

Eugenia Jiménez Alvaréz, revisión

Asistente a la coordinación Fundahígado América

Licenciada en Ciencias Biomédicas

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Génesis is 3 years old and was born in Costa Rica with a congenital liver disease.


Elías is a young adolescent with an advanced liver disease.


Jin received a segment of his father´s liver in May 2015.