Different diseases come with different complexity. There are some infections that are contagious and some are not. There are some that can be passed from mother to child and some are not. For some, they can be transferred through sexual intercourse. And for some, they are either reversible or irreversible. You might be wondering, is it even possible for a condition to be irreversible? Well, yeah it is. The same way some can be reversed is the same way some can’t be reversed. For today we will be looking at can cirrhosis be reversed?
Well, that’s a very good question. The truth is if a condition can be reversed then there are higher chances that the treatment would be effective. At the same time, you can be sure of a good life expectancy for the condition. But for conditions that can’t be reversed that’s a new ball game entirely. And that’s because there would be little that can be done. The best that can be done is the management of the condition for some while. The condition wouldn’t be treated it would just be managed. Well, let’s take a look at what category cirrhosis actually belongs to.
What is Cirrhosis?
This is a condition wherein there is severe scarring in the liver. And at chronic stages, there is poor liver function. The scarring is actually due to the exposure to toxins such as viral infections and alcohol. Because the liver has a lot of functions in the body, so many actions are hindered when a patient has cirrhosis.
Normally, the liver actually has the ability to regenerate. So when there is slight damage to the liver it’s expected that there would be regeneration. But when the exposure of the liver to the toxins become long term it causes damage to the liver. And this comes in the form of scarring. A liver that is scarred can’t perform as it should.
Cirrhosis can actually cause shrinkage of the liver. And it will also cause the liver to harden. This makes the movement of blood that is rich in nutrients quite difficult. The function of the portal vein is to carry blood from the digestive organs all the way to the liver. But when the pressure in the vein is too much there is a problem with the flow of blood.
Well, some of the causes of this condition are chronic abuse of alcohol as well as viral hepatitis C. Another cause of this condition is obesity. But this cause isn’t as common as the first two mentioned. Obesity can actually increase the chances of a person having this condition. When combined with either alcoholism or hepatitis C it increases the risk a lot.
So it is believed that women that take more than 2 alcoholic drinks in a day can develop cirrhosis. And if this is done for so many years the risk is very high. For men taking 3 drinks every day for many years increases the risk of having cirrhosis. This does not mean that anyone that drinks would have cirrhosis. Usually, it is people that have been drinking regularly for about 10-12 years now.
Some of the causes are:
- Nose bleeds
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
Can Cirrhosis Be Reversed?
First, let’s have an understanding of what a scar is. Scar formation is a normal process in the body. It is a process wherein the body tries to repair the wound. Scar formation is actually at a cell level. And that is why it would happen everywhere around the liver. If it gets really bad it would affect the function of the liver.
So when there is inflammation due to certain external factors the body would tick in. The clotting process would start and then platelets together with other healing substances would move to that site. If the debris removal system does a good job they would remove the dead cells. And then there would be no story of inflammation and cell death at that site anymore.
When something that overwhelms the repair system of the body hits it fibrous tissue starts to form. And then scars form after that. Sometimes they talk about reducing the formation of scar through tissue. But what this does is that it affects the early formation. Once the scar matures it is quite difficult to reverse.
That’s why you would hear people say that cirrhosis is irreversible. If it’s at the end-stage then there’s just little that can be done to improve the condition.
But then again you must take note that if detected early, there are still so many things that can be done. Your doctor would offer certain management options to improve the condition.
When it comes to managing or treating the condition it is affected by the cause of the condition. As well as how severe the condition is. But these are some of the treatments that your doctor would most likely recommend for you.
- If it’s for dealing with portal hypertension beta-blockers and nitrates can be given
- If it’s a result of chronic alcoholism then you have to quit alcohol
- If there are bleeding problems due to esophageal varices and banding procedures can be used
- For treating peritonitis that occurs together with ascites intravenous antibiotics is given
- In the case of kidney, failure hemodialysis can be done to help purify the blood
- In treating encephalopathy lactulose can be given and a low protein diet can be advised
In the case of cirrhosis, liver transplant happens to be the last option on the list. And this is done if all other treatment methods have failed. Or if the damage done to the liver is severe.
Patients with cirrhosis must make sure they stay away from alcohol. Also, over-the-counter drugs should not be taken if you don’t consult your doctor about it. These two things can cause further damage to the liver.
So the answer to the question is no. Cirrhosis can’t be reversed. The treatment methods given are to manage the condition. And not to completely treat the patient.