The liver is the largest solid organ in your body. It is located in the right upper quadrant of your abdomen and partly protected by the ribs. You need your liver for many important bodily functions and cannot live without your liver. For this reason, you should know the early signs of liver damage and take care of your liver as much as you possibly can. There are more than a hundred different kinds of diseases of the liver. Each has its own set of symptoms. Some of these diseases include alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. The early signs of liver disease tend to be easily overlooked and are non-specific, related to any number of different conditions. Here are some common early signs.
1. Upset Stomach You are likely to get nausea and vomiting. They can mimic other diseases, such as migraines, food poisoning, vertigo, motion sickness, early pregnancy, depression and vomiting. It can mimic kidney problems as well. Those who suffer from early liver damage often feel persistently nauseous, because the liver has a decreased ability to rid the body of toxins. The nausea can also be due to ongoing metabolism and changes in digestion. If you have these symptoms for several days and don’t know why, seek the attention of your doctor.
2. Fatigue and Overall Weakness One of the early and obvious signs of liver damage is constantly feeling tired and weak. When the liver is not in great condition, the body must work harder and you will need more rest. This is due to an increase in toxins in the bloodstream that can’t be cleared out because the liver can’t get rid of the toxins properly. If the symptoms persist, especially with other early signs of liver damage, seek medical advice as soon as you can.
3. Lack of Appetite This happens due to a lack of production of bile that helps digest fat in the diet. When food isn’t properly digested, it can lead to a lack of appetite and a severe loss of weight. See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for a long period of time.
4. Digestion Problems The liver is important in digestion because it makes bile that helps the nutrients be better processed and absorbed by the small intestines. If the liver is failing, you can develop an increase in indigestion and diarrhea. If the bile is not produced properly, you can also experience irritable bowel syndrome, fatty food intolerance, alcohol intolerance, abdominal bloating, constipation and gallstones. If this becomes severe, you need to seek the medical attention of a doctor.
5. Alterations in the Color of Urine If you think you are drinking enough but still have a dark color of your urine, this may be one of the early signs of liver damage. The urine may look brown, amber, or orange in color because of elevated levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream. The bilirubin is elevated because the liver cannot get rid of the bilirubin and it is excreted through the kidneys. Dark urine may also be due to dehydration, side effects of taking antibiotics, taking B vitamin supplements, urinary tract infections, enzyme deficiencies or kidney abnormalities. The doctor can help sort out the cause of dark urine.
6. Changes in Stool Coloration Because the bile is not made enough by a malfunctioning liver, the color of the stool changes. Instead of being brown, it can become pale yellow, clay colored, or gray in appearance. If this happens periodically, it is not dangerous, but if it happens often, seek the advice of your doctor to check out your liver.