5 methods recommended by doctors to alleviate the strain on your liver if you’re dealing with cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis poses a significant risk to life. Although it’s not reversible, you can take steps to slow down the decline in liver health.

5 Doctor-Recommended Ways To Reduce Burden On The Liver If You Have Cirrhosis
5 Doctor-Recommended Ways To Reduce Burden On The Liver If You Have Cirrhosis

Receiving a diagnosis of liver cirrhosis can be deeply disheartening, as it signifies an advanced stage of liver damage characterized by the replacement of healthy cells with scar tissue. Numerous factors contribute to the development of liver cirrhosis, such as excessive alcohol consumption, infections with hepatitis B and C viruses, and the accumulation of fat in the liver due to obesity and diabetes.

Unfortunately, liver cirrhosis is irreversible, and Dr. Kavya Dendukuri, Senior Hepatologist at Kamineni Hospitals, L.B Nagar, describes it as “permanent liver damage.”

Nevertheless, Dr. Dendukuri shares with the OnlyMyHealth team several strategies to mitigate further damage and lessen the burden on the liver.

Cirrhosis denotes irreversible liver damage

Cirrhosis denotes irreversible liver damage

“Typically, the liver possesses a capacity for regeneration despite the loss of liver cells in the initial stages. However, prolonged fatty liver disease can progress to fibrosis, eventually culminating in cirrhosis, which entails irreversible damage to the liver,” explains Dr. Dendukuri.

Dr. Dendukuri delineates two categories of cirrhosis: compensated and decompensated.

Compensated cirrhosis represents an asymptomatic stage wherein individuals with liver disease exhibit no overt symptoms such as ascites, variceal hemorrhage, hepatic encephalopathy, or jaundice. Conversely, decompensated cirrhosis refers to a sudden deterioration in liver function in cirrhosis patients, marked by jaundice, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, or variceal hemorrhage, as defined in a study published in the Journal Clinical Medicine.

According to the Journal of Hepatology, liver diseases, including cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, and liver cancer, contribute to over 2 million deaths annually and constitute 4% of all global fatalities.

Typical Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis

Typical Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis

Typical indications of liver cirrhosis encompass:

  • Fatigue and diminished energy levels
  • Decreased appetite and unintended weight loss
  • Episodes of nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort and enlargement
  • Manifestation of jaundice, characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Persistent itching sensation on the skin
  • Increased susceptibility to bruising and bleeding
  • Appearance of spider veins on the skin’s surface

Dr. Dendukuri highlights a significant complication associated with end-stage liver disease, known as portal hypertension. This condition arises when there’s elevated pressure within the portal venous system, responsible for draining blood from the gastrointestinal tract, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder into the liver.

When liver damage obstructs blood vessels, it impedes blood flow, leading to heightened pressure in the portal venous system. Consequently, this can cause the development of enlarged veins within the esophagus, stomach, rectum, or umbilical area, as reported by WebMD.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Presence of black, tarry, or bloody stool
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, known as ascites
  • Mental confusion and forgetfulness due to impaired liver function
  • Decreased platelet levels

Ways to Alleviate Strain on the Liver in Cirrhosis

Ways to Alleviate Strain on the Liver in Cirrhosis

Dr. Dendukuri emphasizes that liver cirrhosis is irreversible, and individuals diagnosed with compensated cirrhosis may have a potential life expectancy of 7-9 years, as indicated by studies. However, for those with complications and decompensated cirrhosis, life expectancy may range from 2 to 7 years, with liver transplantation being the sole treatment option.

While lifestyle modifications cannot reverse liver cirrhosis, Dr. Dendukuri suggests strategies to lessen the burden on the organ:

  • Avoid consumption of oily, deep-fried, excessively sugary, and salty foods.
  • Increase protein intake through sources like vegetarian options such as sprouts, chickpeas, kidney beans, paneer (Indian cheese), soy, lentils, and non-vegetarian choices like chicken, fish, and egg whites.
  • Limit the intake of red meat such as mutton, beef, and pork.
  • Engage in physical activities such as walking.
  • Refrain from alcohol consumption and quit smoking.


To mitigate the risk of developing liver cirrhosis, adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial. This includes adhering to a nutritious diet, abstaining from alcohol consumption entirely, and maintaining a regimen of regular physical activity. Moreover, individuals with pre-existing health conditions known to strain the liver should seek appropriate medical treatment as advised by healthcare professionals.

However, for those already diagnosed with cirrhosis, it’s essential to understand that the condition cannot be cured or reversed. The focus shifts to reducing the burden and strain on the liver. This can be achieved by adhering strictly to a healthy diet and completely abstaining from alcohol consumption.