What is Liver Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Complications & Treatment

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what is liver cirrhosis - livayur

Liver cirrhosis also known as Kumbha Kamala is a serious and often irreversible condition that can have severe consequences for your health. It occurs when the liver becomes damaged over a prolonged period, leading to scarring of the liver tissue. As the scarring accumulates, it can make it difficult for the liver to function correctly, leading to a range of complications. [1] [2] In this article, we will explore the symptoms, causes, stages, complications, and treatment options for liver cirrhosis, providing you with the information you need to understand and manage this condition effectively.

What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis

The symptoms of liver cirrhosis can vary from person to person and depend on the severity of the condition. Some people with liver cirrhosis may experience no symptoms at all, while others may experience a range of symptoms that can affect their quality of life. [3] [4] Some common symptoms of liver cirrhosis include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, or abdomen
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Spider-like blood vessels on the skin

What are the Causes of Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis can be caused by a range of factors that damage the liver over time. Some of the most common causes of liver cirrhosis include:

1. Alcohol abuse

Long-term heavy drinking can damage the liver and lead to cirrhosis. [2] [4]

2. Chronic viral hepatitis

Viral infections such as hepatitis B and C can cause inflammation of the liver, leading to cirrhosis. [2] [4]

3. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

This occurs when fat accumulates in the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring. [2] [4]

4. Autoimmune hepatitis

This is a rare condition in which the immune system attacks the liver, leading to inflammation and damage. [2] [4]

5. Genetic diseases

Inherited diseases such as hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease can lead to cirrhosis by causing a buildup of iron or copper in the liver. [2] [4]

6. Biliary cirrhosis(Biliary Cholangitis)

This occurs when the bile ducts become blocked or damaged, leading to cirrhosis. [2] [4]

7. Pitta Dosha Imbalance

In Ayurveda, Liver Cirrhosis or Kumbha Kamala is considered a Pitta disorder, which means it is caused by an imbalance in the Pitta dosha. Pitta dosha is responsible for regulating metabolism and digestion, and when it is out of balance, it can cause a variety of health problems. [12]

What are the Different Stages of Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis progresses in stages, with each stage representing an increase in the severity of the condition. The stages of liver cirrhosis are:

Stage 1: This is the earliest stage of liver cirrhosis, and there may be few or no symptoms. [1]

Stage 2: In this stage, the liver becomes more damaged, and symptoms such as fatigue and weight loss may begin to appear. [1]

Stage 3: At this stage, the liver is significantly damaged, and symptoms such as jaundice and swelling of the abdomen may occur. [1]

Stage 4: This is the most severe stage of liver cirrhosis, and the liver may fail completely. Symptoms such as confusion and bleeding may occur, and a liver transplant may be necessary. [1] [5]

Are there any Complications associated with Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis can lead to a range of complications that can have a significant impact on your health. Some common complications of liver cirrhosis include:

1. Portal hypertension

This occurs when the blood flow to the liver is obstructed, leading to high blood pressure in the veins that carry blood to the liver. [6]

Read our related articles on Hypertension:

1.  High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

2.  What are Different Types of Hypertension

3. Dash Diet for Hypertension What to Eat & What to Avoid

2. Ascites

This is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, which can cause swelling and discomfort.[6]

Learn more about ascites here

3. Hepatic encephalopathy

This occurs when toxins that the liver would normally remove from the body build up in the blood, leading to confusion, difficulty concentrating, and other neurological symptoms.[6]

4. Varices

These are enlarged veins in the oesophagus and stomach that can bleed and cause severe complications.[6]

5. Liver cancer

Cirrhosis can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. [7]

6. Kidney failure

Liver cirrhosis can cause kidney failure, leading to a range of symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and nausea. [8]

What are the Treatment Options available for Liver Cirrhosis

The treatment options for liver cirrhosis depend on the underlying cause of the condition and the stage of the disease. Some common treatment options for liver cirrhosis include: [9] [10]

1. Lifestyle changes

If alcohol abuse is the cause of liver cirrhosis, quitting alcohol can help slow down the progression of the condition.

2. Medications

Medications can be used to manage the symptoms of liver cirrhosis, such as swelling and fluid buildup in the abdomen.

3. Procedures

Procedures such as paracentesis (draining fluid from the abdomen) and banding (to treat varices) can help manage the complications of liver cirrhosis.

4. Liver transplant

In severe cases of liver cirrhosis, a liver transplant may be necessary to replace the damaged liver with a healthy one.

Treatment for Kamala Roga(Liver Disease) in Ayurveda

Kamala Roga or Liver Disease can manifest as Kumbha Kamala or Liver Cirrhosis in later stages. Some specific treatments have been described by Sushruta and Vagbhata in Ayurvedic Literature. [12] They include the following:

  • Swarnamakshika Bhashma with Madhu
  • Shilajithu, Triphala kwatha with Madhu
  • Loha Kitta Bhashma with Madhu.
  • Saindavadi Mandura
  • Shilajithu with cow’s urine
  • Makshika Tikta Bhashma.
  • Harina Mamsa

Ayurveda also has several herbal and herbo-mineral drugs and medications for Kamala Roga. Their prescription and dosage vary according to the individual and require the consultation of a licensed practitioner who can assess the patient’s constitution and the underlying cause of the problem. The abovementioned treatments too cannot be self-administered and require the help of a qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner.

How to Prevent Liver Cirrhosis

Prevention of liver cirrhosis involves taking steps to protect your liver from damage. [11] Some common ways to prevent liver cirrhosis include

1. Limiting alcohol consumption

If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

prevention of liver cirrhosis - livayur

2. Getting vaccinated

Vaccinations can protect you against viral infections such as hepatitis B and C.

maintaining a healthy weight - liver cirrhosis prevention

3. Maintaining a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing liver cirrhosis, so maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help prevent the condition.

4. Avoiding contact with toxins

Exposure to toxins such as chemicals and drugs can damage the liver, so it’s important to take precautions to avoid exposure.

FAQs on Liver Cirrhosis


1. What is the prognosis for liver cirrhosis?

The prognosis for liver cirrhosis depends on the underlying cause of the disease, the stage of the disease, and the individual’s overall health. With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, some people with liver cirrhosis can live for many years with a good quality of life. However, in severe cases, liver cirrhosis can be life-threatening.

2. Can liver cirrhosis be inherited?

While liver cirrhosis itself is not inherited, certain genetic disorders such as hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease can increase the risk of developing liver cirrhosis.

3. Can liver cirrhosis be reversed?

While liver cirrhosis cannot be reversed, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help slow down or halt the progression of the disease. Treatment options such as lifestyle changes, medications, and procedures can help manage symptoms and prevent complications. In some cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.

4. Can liver cirrhosis be caused by medications?

Some medications can cause liver damage and contribute to the development of liver cirrhosis. These include prescription medications such as methotrexate and non-prescription medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) in excessive amounts. It’s important to always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when taking medications and to avoid taking more than the recommended dose.

5. How long can you live with liver cirrhosis?

The prognosis for liver cirrhosis varies depending on the underlying cause, the stage of the disease, and the individual’s overall health. Some people with liver cirrhosis can live for many years with a good quality of life, while others may experience more severe symptoms and complications. With appropriate treatment and management, it is possible to live with liver cirrhosis for many years, but in some cases, the disease may progress quickly and be life-threatening.


Liver cirrhosis is a serious and often irreversible condition that can have severe consequences for your health. By understanding the symptoms, causes, and risk factors of liver cirrhosis, you can take steps to prevent the condition or manage it effectively if you do develop it. If you are experiencing symptoms of liver cirrhosis or are concerned about your liver health, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Disclaimer: This article is from a modern medicine and general knowledge perspective only and does not constitute medical advice. Kindly seek the help of a trained medical practitioner before initiating any treatment.


  1. Cirrhosis – NIDDK (nih.gov)
  2. Cirrhosis – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  3. Symptoms of cirrhosis – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  4. Symptoms & Causes of Cirrhosis – NIDDK (nih.gov)
  5. End-stage liver disease – Organ transplantation – NHS Blood and Transplant (nhsbt.nhs.uk)
  6. Cirrhosis and its complications: Evidence based treatment – PMC (nih.gov)
  7. Cancer and liver cirrhosis: implications on prognosis and management – PMC (nih.gov)
  8. Renal failure in cirrhosis: Emerging concepts – PMC (nih.gov)
  9. Treatment for Cirrhosis – NIDDK (nih.gov)
  10. Treatment for cirrhosis – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  11. The Etiology, Diagnosis and Prevention of Liver Cirrhosis – PMC (nih.gov)
  12. Ayurvedic Herbo-Mineral Approach in Management of Hepatitis _Kamala_ (ijpras.com)

Dr. Shankar Rao

Dr. Rao has achieved great success in his career, with 5 research projects and 4 books to his credit, as well as a Monograph. In addition to receiving the Bharat Scout & Guide Award from the President of India, Dr Rao has also won the Young Scientist Award from S.V. University, Tirupati.