Liver pain is a common complaint in healthcare, but it’s not usually something you can treat or cure at home.
For some people, drinking too much alcohol or other substances can cause liver pain, but most of the time this pain can be a symptom of other liver problems. In this article, you’ll learn what the liver does, why it might hurt, and what kind of treatments to expect.
As the largest solid organ in your body, your liver does important work:
- breaking down fats and other substances
- creating energy from the food you eat
- filtering out toxins and other substances from your blood
Located in the upper right part of your abdomen, you don’t usually “feel” your liver until something isn’t working correctly.
There are lots of conditions and diseases that can impact your liver, including:
Not all of these conditions result in noticeable pain. There are a number of other symptoms that can develop with liver disease, including:
The type and duration of the liver pain you feel will mostly depend on what’s causing the pain. If you ingested a toxin or engaged in a brief period of excessive alcohol consumption, liver pain could last for days to weeks depending on:
- how much you drank
- how often you drink heavily
- how long you abstain from alcohol
- how much water you drink
For many people, though, liver pain only appears in the advanced stages of liver damage from alcohol consumption.
Pain is common with most other chronic liver diseases, too. One study reported that up to 82% of people with cirrhosis reported chronic pain in one study, and liver pain associated with chronic liver disease is notoriously difficult to manage. With live disease, you could also notice something known as referred pain, which most often occurs in your shoulder.
Talk with a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing ongoing liver pain, shoulder pain, or any other symptoms of liver disease.
How your liver pain is treated will depend on the cause of your pain. For most people, a healthcare professional will have to determine the precise underlying cause for their pain before starting treatment. Even then, it can take some time to improve your condition and relieve pain.