A liver infection is a liver problem that can destroy liver tissue and compromise metabolic function to a significant degree. If a liver infection goes undetected or untreated, it can eventually result in cirrhosis, which can ultimately be life-threatening.
When you have a liver infection, your liver becomes inflamed due to a number of possible causes. The most common of these is hepatitis, which occurs in a variety of forms. Hepatitis is a word that comes from Greek and it literally means "liver inflammation."
Hepatitis can result from dangerous threats like a viral infection, fungi and parasites, a transfusion of impure blood, or toxins in the bloodstream. But hepatitis can also be caused by seemingly helpful medications, vitamins and supplements which are overused or abused. Finally, there can be dangers from physical diseases and disorders, including liver cysts, abscesses or swelling near the liver from bile duct obstructions or gallstones.
Liver infection symptoms usually do not present themselves when the infection is mild or just starting. But acute hepatitis, or chronic hepatitis that has advanced to a certain stage, will cause certain symptoms to appear. The most prominent of these is a condition called jaundice. Jaundice occurs when you have too much of a pigment called bilirubin in your blood. The excess bilirubin causes your skin and the whites of the eyes to look yellow. Jaundice is a classic symptom of liver trouble.
Other symptoms of hepatitis include abdominal pain and swelling and changes in bowel movements. Liver problems often produce light or slate-colored stools, along with diarrhea or constipation. Changes in urine color will be noticeable too – urine will become darker of cloudy in appearance.
People with a liver infection often experience a decreased appetite. There is usually an unexplained weight loss, which may be caused in part by occasional nausea and vomiting. A fever is also common in those who have an infected liver. Fatigue, weakness, depression and lack of libido are likely too.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause, of course. Treatment is not required for some forms of hepatitis, but medications and antiviral agents including ribivirin and corticosteroids are commonly prescribed for others.
Lifestyle changes may be necessary to treat a liver infection, or to prevent occurrences in the future. A healthy, low-fat diet is also important because a lot of rich fatty foods make it more difficult for the liver and gallbladder to function.
Anyone with a liver infection must stop drinking all forms of alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to the liver, and even small amounts can greatly exacerbate any liver problems you have. Furthermore, consult with your physician before taking any kind of pain medications or drugs. This does not just mean prescription drugs. It means medications and pain-relievers that are available over the counter. Never assume all vitamins and supplements are safe. Taken alone or in safe combination's, they may be harmless and even beneficial to your health. But certain vitamins or supplement combination's can be dangerous to your liver. Always check with your doctor first.