Bruised Liver

What To Do With a Bruised Liver

Having a bruised liver is no small matter, and if not attended to immediately can cause further problems.  A bruised liver happens as a result of damage or force to the liver just as it would happen with your arm or leg.  Bruises occur when blood rushes to the injured area just below the surface of the skin which is what you are seeing when you have a bruise.  When it comes to your liver, it’s not something you can see, but it’s something you can feel.

Anyone could get a bruised liver as a result of a bad car accident.  The way this happens is by someone slamming into the steering wheel and getting hit hard just under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen.  When someone hits just right, it may touch the liver without ever touching the rib cage, but nine out of ten times in a severe accident the rib is usually affected first.  When this type of injury occurs, it is best to seek medical attention right away.

If you experience pain in the same area, it is possible you could have a bruised liver and not know it, but it’s also possible you could have a cracked rib.  The only way to know for sure is to have an x-ray done.  Patients have experienced getting a cracked rib when having a bad case of bronchitis or even pneumonia just from coughing extremely hard.  Falling down the stairs, or tripping and falling and landing on something can bring this about as well. 

Usually you will know when you have a severe pain as you turn around and grab something, or if you are trying to lean over and pick something up off the floor.  A bruised liver is painful even when you are trying to stretch or go for a walk.  Coughing and sneezing are also no fun because every time you sneeze or cough it brings about a sharp jerking movement around the rib cage.  Movement in the rib cage can cause slight pressure against the liver and that just induces more pain.  If you are having the pain and you aren’t really sure how this happened, you really should call your doctor so you can have it checked out through an x-ray first, and then your doctor may order an MRI to get a more detailed image. 

One disease of the liver that can cause it to bruise over time is Cirrhosis of the liver.  Chronic Hepatitis C in addition to heavy alcohol consumption can cause Cirrhosis.  More recently in the United States doctors have discovered that obesity can cause Cirrhosis as well.  There are other physical affects that Cirrhosis causes, but the bruised liver is the one you may notice the quickest.  The mystery of a bruised liver is that you won’t be able to see it because you cannot see the liver on the surface; however you will have the typical pain in the upper right portion for the abdomen. 

Another indicator of a bruised liver is Hepatitis C.  The blood vessels come closer to the surface of the liver, so when a doctor is looking at it while in an MRI, it is noticeably affected.  In most cases the liver becomes enlarged, and it starts to lighten up on the screen, so it is easily identified.  If the cause of the bruised liver is known right away then the battle plan is clear.  When the bruising of the liver is not quickly identified it makes things more challenging in terms of coming up with a treatment plan. 

Blood tests can be performed to collect your liver enzymes so that everything is easily monitored through your blood work.  There are tests specifically for Hepatitis, but there are also general liver enzyme tests that are drawn.  These liver enzymes are an indicator of many issues whether they are looking for Hepatitis, Cirrhosis of the liver, non-fatty liver disease, or a bruised liver.  In any of these cases, the liver enzymes skyrocket, but with a bruised liver it may be around twenty points higher than usual.

Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing pain in the upper right portion under your rib cage.  Your liver processes everything that is put into your body, so be sure that you take care of it.


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