Can the liver Heal itself from Alcohol Abuse?

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Long term effects of alcohol abuse you might have caused severe harm to your liver. Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase, what is done is done.

Fortunately, this isn't always the case with the liver. Since the liver is one of the only regenerative body organs, it is likely to physically reinstate it to the earlier condition before drinking problem started.

Even so, that doesn’t mean the liver cannot develop illnesses due to excessive alcohol consumption. If you drink alcohol regularly, it’s better for you to consult your doctor about it.

They can give you advice on the different approaches to alcoholism treatment to help you save your liver from developing severe diseases.

Can the Liver Repair Itself If You Stop Drinking?

As mentioned above, the only regenerative body organ is your liver. Perhaps you are aware that there are some species of lizards that can regrow their tails.

Your liver functions the same way. It can rebuild itself. If some part of your liver has been damaged and removed, it can grow up back to its full size.

One reason for this unique feature comes from what this organ does in your body. Since the liver's main job is to filter, it meets several chemicals and toxins.

Unfortunately, some of these toxins can cause serious harm once they meet with cells.

Thus, the simple nature of the liver work - handling these hazardous toxins - means that it must revive on its own. Or else, you would fall prey to an array of illnesses much more often.

Therefore, the fact that the liver can cure and restore itself is good news about fixing your liver.

What Does Your Liver Do?

The liver is the biggest organ in the digestive system, weighing about 3lbs. The liver's primary function is to filter blood that comes from the digestive tract before going to other parts of the body.

Your liver detoxifies chemicals and toxins which pass through the body. Unfortunately, this also metabolizes alcohol and drugs.

It also produces bile, an enzyme that helps your body in proper digestion. What is more, the liver secretes a protein that is essential to blood clotting.

If your liver is not in excellent physical condition, your body cannot work as it should be. So, it is vital to your wellbeing and health.

Once the liver does not efficiently eliminate the toxins in your body and help with proper digestion, many nasty health issues will come out.

Many alcoholics drink large amounts of alcohol for many years and then make the brave choice to get sober.

However, by then, their liver has sustained decades of abuse and tends to become ill because of alcohol effects.

Many serious alcohol users have been advised just how risky alcohol is to their liver at some point during their alcohol abuse.

Nevertheless, alcoholism does not care and instead goes on drinking. Sad to say, the liver will sustain the beating and becomes harmed.

After a couple of years of processing a vast amount of alcohol substance, it often no longer works properly.

When Alcoholic Gets Sober, Liver is Always the Main Concern

Focused on getting back your physical wellbeing, recovering from alcohol is afraid of their liver and visit a doctor once they sober up. It's not a secret that alcohol affects the proper functioning of the liver.

It is the one that cleanses toxins and chemicals from your body and works overtime to process wine, liquor as well as beer.

A lot of alcoholism during the recovery process learned that their liver had been harmed or contracted some forms of disease during the time of their alcohol abuse.

An impaired liver can result in many different health issues, which can be experienced due to over drinking alcohol.

Worries to get fit so they can take pleasure in the newly found freedom in alcoholism, many of them asked, can liver heal itself or treat my liver?

Abstaining from alcohol, keeping hydrated, and eating foods good for the liver allow you to reverse the effects of alcoholism.

But, the liver, as mentioned above, can repair itself after decades of consuming alcohol.

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease or ARLD Overview

People drink alcohol for pleasure and fun and to enjoy life as well. However, many are not aware of the harm it can cause once consumed every day over some time.

If not over 14 units of alcohol are taken weekly in one year, it can lead to irreversible harm to your liver, although if the units are taken in the span of more than two to three days weekly.

Three Stages of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease or ARLD

Alcohol can cause damage to the liver in three phases or stages such as:

Initial Stage

In the initial stage, alcohol-dependent will develop fatty liver- this refers to the build-up of fat in cells within the liver that happens because of alcohol being metabolized and the fat production in the liver.

It happens readily to obese people, sedentary as well as following an unhealthy diet.

Second Stage - Alcoholic Hepatitis

The second stage is called alcoholic hepatitis. This usually takes place if you keep on drinking.

This is because of the swelling of the cells, and at this point, you will have abnormal liver blood test results. This issue can develop after decades of drinking or relatively early on.

Third Stage - Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is the third stage of ARLD. It occurs after so many years of detrimental drinking.

In an early stage after hepatitis, the cells within the liver begin to die, which results in fibrosis or excess tissues and scarring of the liver cells.

And at this point, your liver will start to become stiff with decreased elasticity, creates nodules, and the shape becomes distorted, and the size will shrink as well.

What is the Best Advice to Keep Away from ARLD?

Too much and prolonged alcohol use is what results in the damage of your liver.

Mild drinking with two or more alcohol-free - a few days a week mush minimizes the damage as well as to be within a safe limit; you must not consume over 14 units of alcohol weekly it doesn't matter if you are a female or female and keep away binge drinking because it can harm your liver.

On the other hand, alcohol use, even in a small amount, may harm the liver if an individual is obese, experiencing conditions like diabetes as well as has an unhealthy lifestyle.

For those with these features, even drinking alcohol less than 14 units might lead to damage of the liver; hence to avoid ARLD, you must avoid too much drinking of alcohol and instead follow a healthy living.

What Kinds of Liver Damages Due to Too Much Alcohol is Reversible?

Problematic alcohol consumption causes typically three kinds of liver damage, including fatty liver, which is reversible. Your liver can recover from this disease on its own if you stop drinking.

However, if you continue drinking despite having fatty liver, it can lead to hepatitis.

This is considered a fatal disease that usually needs medical treatment and self-help treatments like a healthy balanced diet that nourishes the liver.

Letting the liver get back from damage due to too much alcohol consumption is one of the many perks of quitting this substance.

If you have drunk alcohol for many years, you have been warned by the doctor about liver cirrhosis. This is one of the commonly diagnosed diseases due to alcoholism which is considered the most fatal.

For decades of drinking alcohol, fibrosis can spread drastically.

And since liver cells in this scarring do not do any jobs other than a barrier, your liver, in general, becomes less capable of doing its work in filtering toxins and chemicals.

Thus, chemicals do not get processed and accumulate in your body; bile is not generated as fast as possible, a protein that assists the blood clot is not produced as readily as well as other serious issues can take place.

Cirrhosis shows up due to another disorder related to your liver. This can be liver cancer, fatty liver, or hepatitis.

This condition is irreversible; however, the development of this condition can be hindered by some treatment. Some recognizable signs of cirrhosis are as follows.

Blood capillaries are visible on your skin on the upper portion of the stomach.

  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Loss of bodyweight
  • Pain or tenderness where the liver is situated
  • Blotching or red palms
  • Weakness

When cirrhosis development to more severe levels, it can bring many symptoms as well, such as:

  • Personality change
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Bleeding gums
  • Difficulties processing of drugs as well as alcohol
  • Lost mass in your upper arms and the entire body in general
  • Confusion
  • Fluid build-up on feet, ankles as well as legs, also called oedema
  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness
  • Higher susceptibility to bruising
  • Jaundice
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Whites of the eyes
  • Loss of libido or sex drive
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle cramps
  • Pain in the right shoulder
  • Nosebleeds
  • Breathlessness
  • Stools become tarry and black, or very pale
  • Dark urine
  • Vomiting blood
  • Difficulties with mobility and walking

How Fast Can Live Heal Itself?

As mentioned above, the liver is the only body organ that can regenerate itself.

After hepatectomy, which is a procedure to eliminate some portions of your liver, it can support your body while it is regenerating. As a result, your liver can regenerate fast.

Once a Tylenol overdose demolishes 50 to 60 per cent of cells in your liver during a 3 to 4 day, your liver can repair and fix itself in just a matter of one month, if there is no occurrence of other complication, this is according to results conducted by University of Iowa Health Care System.

Once alcohol harms your liver, it tries to cure itself. Some cases can get back from sporadic alcohol use.

On the other hand, chronic alcohol consumption will hinder the process of healing. This disturbance or interruption causes swelling as well as the occurrence of scar tissue.

Your liver cannot eliminate scar tissues and reproduce healthy liver cells.

That is the reason why a liver transplant is advised to those who are undergoing severe cirrhosis of the liver. This is considered the best treatment available.

The National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism reported that the survival rates for those with liver disease related to alcohol consumption that undergo transplant are like those suffering from non-alcoholic liver disorder.

In addition, the rate of alcohol relapse amongst patients with liver disease related to alcohol is low.

You can keep yourself safe and sound from liver issues by drinking moderately and responsibly, eating a good diet, working out as well as keeping away from harmful substances.

For those with a history of alcoholism, binge drinking, and liver issues, stopping or quitting alcohol is considered the most helpful thing they can do to keep away from future liver problems.

If you want to more about the danger of alcohol on your liver, or get advice on treating a damaged liver due to alcohol, feel free to visit our clinics. 

We are always happy to meet you!

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.