Cirrhosis is a medical condition caused by hepatitis or chronic alcoholism. It is a late stage of fibrosis of the liver. The liver has to capacity to repair the damage caused by diseases or alcoholism. Each time the liver repairs the damage, there is a formation of the scar tissue, the increasing scar tissues affect the normal functioning of the liver gradually. The advanced stages of cirrhosis are life-threatening & not subjected to cure. It can be easily managed in the early stages by suitable medical intervention.
Cirrhosis is usually asymptomatic unless the lesions in the liver become very intense.
Some of the notable symptoms include Loss of appetite, fatigue, bruising or bleeding of body parts easily, Ascites or fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity, sickness, edema in ankle, feet, or legs, yellowish color of eyes & skin, visible spider-shaped blood vessels over the skin, palmar redness, itchy skin, the disappearance of menstruation in women, loss of libido in males, confusion & slurred speech
- The causes that lead to cirrhosis are always multifactorial.
- Chronic Hepatitis B, C, D
- Chronic alcohol abuse
- Accumulation of fat in the liver(non-alcoholic)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Copper accumulation in the liver
- Mal formed bile ducts
- There are risk factors that lead to cirrhosis
- Too much alcohol consumption can lead to cirrhosis gradually.
- Overweight- being obese can attract many other diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver, steatohepatitis
- Viral hepatitis is also the leading cause of liver cirrhosis nowadays globally.
Stages of cirrhosis explained
Ayurveda perspective, the disease formation
Acharyas have mentioned various types of udara rogas in the Ayurveda texts. Among the 8 types of udara roga, yakrit udara has been mentioned. Due to excess intake of poisonous as well as sour food – drinks, neglecting the existing diseases, improper digestion, obstruction in the body channels, etc. the spleen gets displaced & inflamed. Due to continuous damage, the organ becomes stony hard & feels like a tortoise gradually. If this stage is neglected or not treated properly, the lateral sides, as well as lower abdomen, begin to enlarge & pleehodara is manifested. Weakness, anorexia, stool, urine retention, fainting, vomiting, mouth distaste, colic pain, mild fever, etc. are seen. The appearance of veins over the abdominal region is also seen. There is an enlargement on the upper right side of the abdomen which is referred to as yakrut udara.
Treatment, Panchakarma & herbal medicines
Ayurvedic treatment for Cirrhosis: It is very important to recommend a healthy diet as well as a lifestyle for the patient. If the person is obese, it is advisable to have fewer fatty foods, whole grains, lean proteins, a mostly plant-based diet, gentle exercises, more fruits & vegetables in the diet. The processed or the synthetic or ready-made foods have to be completely avoided. Alcohol or similar drinks should be avoided. The individual should be given good family support to regain normal health. It is not necessary to start the medicine all of a sudden After moving to a healthy diet & lifestyle, medicines can be started. This makes the treatment easier & yields fast results.
Yoga & pranayama
It is also recommended to practice pranayama or breathing exercises to improve lung functions. Mild yoga asanas can also be done during this stage if there is no discomfort. Pada hastasana, bhujangasana, padmasana, shavasana yields promising results.
The treatment has to be chosen according to the chronicity of the disease & the strength or the health status of the patient. Panchakarma therapies can be advocated as needed. Oleation, fomentation, purgation, basti- Anuvasana orniruha can be done. It is also recommended to do bloodletting or siravedham in the left arm.
Pippali Rasayana, shatphala ghritha, abhaya with jaggery are given according to the condition. Bhumiamalaki, bhrinfgaraj, punarnava, sharpunkha are some of the potent herbs.
- Coconut water
- Green salads, soups, juices
- Pizza, burgers. Fried foods, mayonnaise, etc.
- Processed foods or tinned foods including sausages, smoked meat
- Bottled or canned drinks
- Heavy fatty foods, cheesy foods
- If left untreated it can give rise to many serious complications
- It slows down the blood flow& causes pressure in the veins that bring blood from the spleen & intestines
- The abdomen & legs get filled with fluid due to increased pressure in the veins, which causes swelling in the abdomen as well as the legs.
- Splenic enlargement causing the trapping of platelets & WBC
- Bleeding caused due to the increased pressure in the veins, it can cause the vessels to burst
- Infections especially bacterial peritonitis due to ascites
- Increase chances of liver cancer