What Does it Mean If Your Liver Is Enlarged?

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According the Mayo Clinic, the liver of an average adult is comparable in size to a small football. An enlarged liver, or hepatomegaly as it is referred to in the medical community, is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Normal Liver Size

  • The lower portion of your liver normally is located right around the lower edge of your ribs on the right side of your body. If, upon physical examination, your doctor can feel your liver with his finger tips, then your liver may be enlarged.

Symptoms

  • In many cases, hepatomegaly does not produce any symptoms. Possible symptoms include tenderness, abdominal pain or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Causes

  • There are many different conditions that can lead to an enlarged liver. This includes alcoholism, liver cancer, heart failure, hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, mononucleosis, hemochromatosis (excessive amounts of iron in your body) and blood disorders (leukemia is one example).

Treatment

  • Treatment of an enlarged liver largely depends on the underlying condition. Discontinuing alcohol use, losing weight, increasing your activity level and managing other medical conditions may all be beneficial in treating your liver.

Prevention

  • Simple steps that you can take now may help to protect your liver for a lifetime. Adopt a healthy diet and exercise routine, drink alcohol in moderation and use medications sensibly to avoid irritating or damaging your liver.

References

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