Cirrhosis Specialist

Houston Regional Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Sugar Land, TX & Humble, TX

Your liver can regenerate and heal when you receive a diagnosis and treatment for diseases that cause liver damage. When liver damage continues, however, it progresses into cirrhosis, an advanced stage of liver disease. The doctors at Houston Regional Gastroenterology are experts in liver disease and cirrhosis, providing treatment and closely monitoring your health to prevent cirrhosis from progressing into liver cancer or liver failure. If you’re fatigued, notice swelling in your abdomen, legs, or feet, or you develop jaundice, call the Sugar Land or Humble, Texas, office, or schedule an appointment online.

Cirrhosis Q & A

What is cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a disease that slowly progresses over time when a damaged liver goes untreated. When inflammation or disease causes damage, your liver goes through a healing process that replaces the damaged tissue with scar tissue.

If you treat the underlying disease at this stage, your liver may still fully heal. The liver has a remarkable ability to regenerate when given a chance.

However, when the underlying problem continues, and hard scar tissue permanently replaces healthy tissue, you have a condition called cirrhosis. Without treatment, cirrhosis leads to liver failure. Cirrhosis also increases your risk of developing liver cancer.

What causes cirrhosis?

Many diseases and some medications can damage your liver, but the most common causes of cirrhosis include:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

Consuming too much alcohol leads to fat accumulation in the liver, which, in turn, causes inflammation and damage.

What symptoms develop due to cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis usually doesn’t cause symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. When that happens, you experience symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Yellow discoloration of your skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Spidery blood vessels on your skin

As cirrhosis progresses and your liver starts to fail, toxins build up in your blood that can reach your brain and cause confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech. You may also develop high blood pressure in the portal vein, which causes fluids to build up in your abdomen (ascites) and enlarged blood vessels called esophageal varices.

How do you treat cirrhosis?

You can’t reverse the damage already done by cirrhosis, but exceptional treatment at Houston Regional Gastroenterology can help stop the disease from progressing. In the early stages of cirrhosis, your treatment plan may include:

  • Treatment for alcohol dependency
  • Vaccinations for hepatitis B and C
  • Medications to limit damage due to hepatitis
  • Medications to slow the progression of cirrhosis
  • Nutritional supplements to treat deficiencies

Your doctor at Houston Regional Gastroenterology treats any underlying conditions contributing to your liver damage, such as viral hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis, and hemochromatosis. Your liver also improves with a healthy balanced diet and losing weight if needed.

Should your liver damage become severe enough to cause end-stage liver disease, your doctor talks with you about the possibility of a liver transplant.

If you develop symptoms of cirrhosis, call Houston Regional Gastroenterology or schedule an appointment online.