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When to Seek Medical Care

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms that don't go away in a day or 2, or if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Sudden weight gain with increased size of your abdomen
  • Increasing water retention
  • Jaundice
  • Changes in your mental faculties or behavior
  • New or different responses to medications
  • Bleeding that takes longer than usual to stop

If you are unable to reach your health care provider or have any of these, go to the emergency department.

  • Blood in your vomit or stool
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Confusion or bizarre behavior
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Fever
Self-Care at Home

Stop drinking alcohol. If you stop all alcohol intake, you may slow the disease and feel better. Avoid medications that may be harmful to your liver, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), or your kidneys, such as ibuprofen (Advil, etc). Ask you health care provider for a list. Cut down on salt if you are having problems with fluid retention. A low-sodium diet helps relieve that problem. Eat a balanced diet  with adequate calories and protein. You also may want to take a daily multivitamin if your doctor agrees.

If you ever have developed any brain disorder caused by your liver (hepatic encephalopathy), you should Disclose it to your doctor



The best way to avoid cirrhosis is to avoid the underlying conditions that cause it.

  • Know the risk factors for hepatitis B and hepatitis C and avoid them as much as possible.
  • Avoid risky behaviors such as alcohol abuse, IV drug use, and unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all.
  • Develop healthy habits. Avoid using tobacco. Eat a healthy diet get plenty of physical activity and rest, and maintain your weight in a healthy range.
  • Talk to your health care provider before taking vitamin supplements. Large doses of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, iron, or copper, can actually worsen liver damage.
  • Hepatitis B immunizations are available to health care workers and others at high risk of contacting the disease. Immunization of all American children against hepatitis B, now required, will reduce the incidence of cirrhosis in the future.
  • No effective hepatitis C vaccination is available.
  • Ease your protein intake


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