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Cirrhosis Specialist

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis services offered in South Bend, Plymouth and LaPorte, IN

Cirrhosis is associated with alcohol abuse, but you can develop this liver disease from problems that don't have anything to do with alcohol. The board-certified gastroenterologists and advanced nurse practitioners at Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc offer in-house cirrhosis testing and personalized treatment that helps protect your liver from progressive damage. To schedule an appointment, book online or call the nearest office today. They have four offices located in La Porte and Plymouth, Indiana, as well as two locations in South Bend, Indiana, on Generations Drive and in The South Bend Clinic on North Eddy Street. 


Cirrhosis Q & A

What is cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is an advanced stage of liver disease that occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. As a chronic disease, cirrhosis gradually progresses, eventually leading to liver failure.

Cirrhosis may develop from several health conditions, including:

  • Viral hepatitis
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Blocked bile ducts
  • Certain medications
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Parasitic infections
  • Inherited disease (cystic fibrosis)

No matter what causes the problem, liver disease goes through progressive stages, beginning with inflammation.

Inflammation develops as your body fights the underlying condition. Ongoing inflammation causes scarring, a condition called fibrosis. Fibrosis progresses to cirrhosis as hard scar tissue expands and replaces healthy tissue.

If you have risk factors like drinking too much alcohol, being overweight or obese, or having hepatitis B or C, protect your health by scheduling a screening at Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc.

What symptoms does cirrhosis cause?

The early stages of liver disease and mild cirrhosis seldom cause symptoms. As more scar tissues take over, you start having symptoms such as:

  • Itchy skin
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Abdominal bloating (ascites)
  • Swelling in your legs and feet (fluid buildup)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Spider-like veins
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue

Advanced liver disease often causes enlarged veins in the esophagus. These veins may bleed, resulting in black or bloody stools and vomiting blood.

How is cirrhosis diagnosed?

Your Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc provider reviews your medical history and symptoms, performs a thorough physical exam, and runs blood tests.

You may need diagnostic imaging such as an ultrasound, upper endoscopy, or MRI or CT scan. However, Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc typically does in-office testing using the innovative FibroScan®.

The FibroScan device accurately diagnoses liver disease by measuring the amount of fat and scarring in your liver. Your provider also uses the device to monitor the progression of cirrhosis.

How is cirrhosis treated?

You can slow down or stop ongoing liver damage by getting treatment at an early stage. However, the liver damage is permanent after cirrhosis develops.

Since there's currently no cure for cirrhosis, your provider treats any underlying diseases that cause cirrhosis and focuses on stopping the disease from getting worse.

Your treatment may include:

  • Following a healthy diet
  • Losing weight
  • Eliminating alcohol
  • Getting antiviral medications (for hepatitis)
  • ERCP procedure to unblock bile ducts
  • Taking medications to suppress the immune system (for autoimmune disease)

Without early treatment, cirrhosis may progress to cause liver failure. At that stage, your only treatment option is a liver transplant.

If you have questions about liver disease or need ongoing treatment, call Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc, or book an appointment online today.