Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Causes Liver Pain?

Liver pain can stem from various conditions such as hepatitis, fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. It's often a sign that your liver is struggling to cope with its vital functions. Visuals within the article vividly illustrate these causes. Curious about how these conditions affect your liver and overall health? Dive deeper into our comprehensive guide for a clearer picture.
Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

There are a wide range of things which may cause liver pain, although the most common are gallstones, digestive upset, hepatitis, and fatty liver disease. Occasionally more serious ailments may be to blame, such as liver cancer or extreme cirrhosis of the liver. Toxic overload may also lead to pain, although this is hard to diagnose and may be confused with other conditions. Additionally, there are other medical problems which may lead to pain which do not involve the liver directly.

The most common causes of liver pain are benign and many are fully treatable. Most liver-related pain is located on the right side of the abdomen just below the rib cage. Stabbing, sharp, or acute pains are not normal, although they may sometimes occur. More commonly, liver pain presents itself as a dull ache on the right of the body. Sometimes the back may also be affected.

Several types of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.
Several types of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.

Liver pain is often caused by gallstones or fatty buildup inside the organ itself. These conditions may be related to eating a diet which is high in fat. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle are also more susceptible. Digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may also manifest themselves as liver pain, although the root causes of such ailments often have little to do with the liver itself.

Most liver-related pain occurs on the right side.
Most liver-related pain occurs on the right side.

More serious medical conditions may also lead to liver pain. These can include cirrhosis of the liver, various forms of hepatitis, and cancer. Many times these illnesses do not present with pain themselves until the diseases are more progressed. Additional symptoms may also be apparent, such as jaundice and digestive upset.

Treatment for liver pain will depend on the underlying cause. Fatty liver often resolves itself when lifestyle and dietary changes are met. Irritable bowel syndrome can be managed with medication. Gallstones, which are relatively common, can sometimes by managed with dietary restrictions and medication, although sometimes surgery is necessary.

Due to its location in the upper right quadrant of the body, most liver pain is localized to the right side.
Due to its location in the upper right quadrant of the body, most liver pain is localized to the right side.

Any severe pain should be investigated by a trained medical professional. Sometimes pain stemming directly from the liver is hard to differentiate from other abdominal pain. Additional symptoms are generally present with severe liver disease, so these are often a clearer indicator of a serious medical condition than pain alone. Jaundice is one of the most common symptoms of liver disease.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Several types of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.
      By: peterjunaidy
      Several types of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.
    • Most liver-related pain occurs on the right side.
      By: Africa Studio
      Most liver-related pain occurs on the right side.
    • Due to its location in the upper right quadrant of the body, most liver pain is localized to the right side.
      By: CLIPAREA.com
      Due to its location in the upper right quadrant of the body, most liver pain is localized to the right side.
    • Pain stemming from the liver can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from other abdominal pain.
      By: xalanx
      Pain stemming from the liver can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from other abdominal pain.
    • Digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may manifest themselves as liver pain.
      By: joshya
      Digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may manifest themselves as liver pain.
    • The formation of gallstones in the gallbladder is one of the most common causes of liver pain.
      By: designua
      The formation of gallstones in the gallbladder is one of the most common causes of liver pain.