What are the treatments for the condition?
Specific treatments for cirrhosis depend upon what caused the liver disease and any known complications. The first step in treating alcoholic cirrhosis is to provide the encouragement and support systems needed for the person to avoid drinking. Next, the individual can be offered suggestions for improved diet for liver disease. Medicines, blood transfusions, and other treatments may be used to treat the disorder causing the cirrhosis.
Finally, liver transplantation has become a widely accepted form of treatment. There are very specific indications for liver transplantation. The major problem with liver transplants is the limited supply of donor organs.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects depend on the treatments used. All medicines have possible side effects. For example, antibiotics may cause allergic reactions or stomach upset. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
The medicines that must be taken to prevent rejection after a liver transplant have many side effects. These include allergic reactions, stomach upset, and kidney damage. Because these medicines suppress the immune system, there is also an increased risk of infection.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
Cirrhosis is usually progressive. A person who has cirrhosis due to alcohol may stop the progression of the cirrhosis when drinking stops. However, the scar tissue will remain.
How is the condition monitored?
A person with cirrhosis should have frequent physical exams by the healthcare provider. This helps the provider to monitor the activity of the disorder and determine possible complications. Frequent blood tests, including a CBC and liver function tests, may help monitor the disorder as well. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.