April 12, 2011

Liver Infection: Symptoms and Causes

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Liver infection takes place when micro organisms or parasites invade the liver and start multiplying causing inflammation. Some of the most common causes of liver infection include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, cirrhosis, plasmodium (which is a protozoan parasite) and other fungal agents. However a majority of liver infections cases are attributed to the various types of Hepatitis. Excessive consumption of alcohol could be one of the other major causes of liver infection which can further cause complications like brain damage and high blood pressure inside the liver. If liver infection is not treated in good time, it can even lead to liver cancer and complete organ failure. Men who abuse alcohol, share infected syringes and do not practice safe sex are most at risk of getting liver infections. The symptoms of liver infection in men and women are the same and must be reported to the doctor immediately. Some of the main symptoms of liver infection include;

  • Yellow discoloration of the skin or in the eyes also known as Jaundice, could be the most noticeable symptom of a liver infection. This should never be ignored and treatment must be sought at the earliest.
  • Sudden weight loss or weight changes and loss of appetite or fluctuations in eating habits could be another one of the symptoms.
  • Pain in the abdomen especially in the upper right half of the stomach could be an indication of liver infection.
  • Symptoms like vomiting, constant fever or a general feeling of being sick could also occur due of liver infection.
  • Diarrhea or changes in the stool color could be a result of liver infection although these can even be caused by certain types of foods that have been eaten.
  • Depression and loss of sex drive could be other signs of infection in the liver especially if they are combined with any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Hepatitis which is one of the main causes of liver infection is basically a liver inflammation which occurs due to inherited diseases, viruses and certain toxins or medications like alcohol and drugs. Hepatitis A being a waterborne disease spreads through contaminated water, food and sewage. Hepatitis B is sexually transmitted through blood and genital fluids like semen and vaginal discharge. It can even be passed on by an infected mother to her baby. Hepatitis B spreads mainly through unprotected sex and contaminated needles which are used for drug abuse, tattoos, body piercings and acupuncture. Hepatitis C on the other hand spreads only through infected blood which can happen during blood transfusions or even blood donation. Hepatitis B and C can even spread by sharing nail cutters, toothbrushes or razors. Both these types of hepatitis are wide spread diseases nowadays and cause chronic infections to the liver which can be life threatening. Sometimes there are no evident symptoms of liver infection in men but this does not mean that there is no infection.

Almost 50% of men have asymptomatic infections and do not even realize till administering treatment for liver infection becomes too late. Particularly in men, liver infection symptoms are seen affecting their digestive system. Appetite loss, nausea, and even abdominal pain can be easily mistaken for stomach trouble. Water retention in the stomach and legs can be another sign of liver infection especially in men. This can sometimes be accompanied by rectal bleeding and bloody vomits. Treatment of liver infections generally involves medications and measures like eating smaller meals which are high in calories along with lots of fluid intake through the day. Vaccinations to prevent Hepatitis A and B are globally available and should be taken by everyone to avoid liver infections. Liver infection in children should be given special attention as the consequences could be debilitating.