Cirrhosis refers to a chronic disease of the liver, characterized by fibrosis (thickening and scarring of connective tissue). Cirrhosis leads to portal hypertension and insufficiency of the liver. Most cases develop due to excessive alcohol consumption leading to liver disease or chronic viral infection. Since liver cirrhosis is a precancerous condition, all patients have an increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Many cases are asymptomatic and often undiagnosed. Approximately 30-40% of cases are discovered at autopsy.
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With cirrhosis, the causes are variable and include lifestyle and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to Cirrhosis.
- Long-term alcohol use damages the liver and predisposes to liver disease and cirrhosis.
- Drinking coffee might actually be protective against the development of cirrhosis.
- Infection with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C virus, or Schistosoma japonicum can trigger development of liver cirrhosis.
- Prescription Medications
- Some prescription medications can increase the risk of developing cirrhosis such as Methotrexate, Isoniazid, Methyldopa
- Having a hereditary liver condition such as, hemochromatosis increases risk of developing cirrhosis
- Women have a higher susceptibility to alcohol-induced liver diseases including cirrhosis.
- Do you ever experience abdominal pain?
- Can you point to where the pain is felt?
- How much alcohol do you consume?
- What medications are you currently taken or have you taken in the past?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with Hepatitis B or C
- Do you ever feel itchy?
- Do you have a history of an autoimmune condition?
- Ever been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease?
- Do you have a family history of liver disease?
- Hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, α1-antitrypsin deficiency?
- Liver biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosis
- Diagnosis is based on 3 criteria: diffuse disease, fibrosis, and abnormal nodules.
- However Cirrhosis is often diagnosed clinically with an appropriate history and findings that suggest end-stage liver disease.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
The risk or occurrence of cirrhosis is associated with the presence of the following conditions:
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Variceal bleeding
- Hepatorenal syndrome
- Portal hypertension
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Of those with Liver Cirrhosis, approximately 30% also have Diabetes Mellitus.
- Disorders of the drainage system of the liver (the biliary system), such as primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Obstruction of the biliary system can lead to the development of cirrhosis
- Autoimmune liver conditions
- Metabolic disorders of iron and copper (hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease)
Many patients may be asymptomatic, some common symptoms which may occur include:
- Weight loss
- Yellowing of skin
- Reversal of the sleep-wake cycle
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Cirrhosis is typically a chronic disease. From a conventional medical perspective, cirrhosis is considered to be an irreversible process. In some cases, disease progression can be halted by abstaining from alcohol, eliminating viral infections or addressing any other underlying causal factors.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- Stop consuming alcohol and/or recreational drugs.
- Practice safe sex to minimize risk of viral transmission.
Lifestyle recommendations include:
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies. Therapy may be different depending on the origin of the cirrhosis.
Naturopathic Therapies for Cirrhosis include:
- Vitamins such as Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Choline
- Minerals such as Zinc, Copper), Magnesium and Selenium.
- Amino Acids such as Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. These are branched-chain amino acids.
- Other supplements such as Probiotics, L-carnitine, SAMe, Essential Fatty Acids, Glutamine, Caffeine.
- Herbs such as Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Verbena officinalis, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Chelone glabra, Chionanthus virginicus.
- Homeopathics may prove helpful in the treatment of cirrhosis.
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