Cirrhosis of the Liver:Causes, Symptoms and Stages

Updated at: Feb 03, 2015
Cirrhosis of the Liver:Causes, Symptoms and Stages

Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing liver condition in which the healthy liver tissues are replaced by scar tissues that prevent the organ from functioning properly.

Himanshu Sharma
Digestive DiseasesWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Feb 03, 2015

Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing liver condition in which the healthy liver tissues are replaced by scar tissue that prevents the organ from functioning properly. The scar tissues block the flow of blood through the liver to stunt the processing of nutrients, hormones and naturally produced toxins.


cirrhosis causes


The most common cause for cirrhosis is an injury to the liver, which is characterized by deterioration and malfunctioning of the liver. Some factors such as excessive alcoholism and medical conditions such as hepatitis B and C may also lead to this liver condition. Cirrhosis can also be idiopathic in nature with no specific cause for its occurrence.


Easy bruising:One of the common symptoms associated with cirrhosis is easy bruising. With liver losing its ability to produce blood clotting factors, an individual becomes prone to complications such as easy bruising and delayed healing of injuries and wounds.

Abdominal pain: Those suffering from liver cirrhosis can experience abdominal pain. This happens owing to the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen which interferes with the flow of blood to various organs, causing severe pain.

Jaundice:This liver condition can cause yellowing of the skin or jaundice because the liver completely or partially loses its capabilities to perform its functions. As a result, large amounts of bilirubin accumulate in the blood stream.

Other Symptoms: Among other symptoms associated with cirrhosis of the liver are nausea, fatigue, itching and excessive loss of weight.


cirrhosis of the liver



Stage 1: The presence of inflammation (swelling, an influx of inflammatory-promoting immune cells and damage of liver tissue) is a characteristic of stage 1 cirrhosis. There can also be a growth of abnormal connective tissue.

Stage 2: In the second stage of cirrhosis, fibrosis begins to occur. The liver condition may not exhibit any symptoms as normal liver tissue is able to compensate for the non-functional scar tissue.

Stage 3: The damage to the liver starts becoming severe. It is in the third stage that the fibrosis forms “bridges,” known as bridging fibrosis. As a result, there is an abnormal blood flow and increased blood pressure in the liver.

Stage 4: This is the most advanced stage of cirrhosis and the growth of scar tissue progresses to the point that it stops functioning normally. Bleeding in the digestive tract, yellow colouring of the eyes and skin (jaundice), confusion, sleepiness and slurring of speech, build-up of fluid in the body and intense skin itching are some characteristics of stage 4 liver cirrhosis.


As of now, there is no cure for cirrhosis of the liver. The treatment for cirrhosis aims to delay its progress, minimise the damage to liver cells and reduce complications.


(Image source:Gettyimages)

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