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The Enlarged Liver Epidemic: Causes, Symptoms & More

by Life Aveda 03 Jul 2024
The Enlarged Liver Epidemic: Causes, Symptoms & More

Liver is a vital  organ responsible for performing multiple functions in the human body. The liver plays a critical role in producing bile,  filtering toxins and regulating the body's metabolism. But our day to day habits, diet and lifestyle are like poisons and they deteriorate the health of the liver resulting in its enlargement. Liver enlargement is also called hepatomegaly. Hepatomegaly is a medical condition characterized by the liver exceeding its normal size. In general it is typically around 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms) in adults.

In this blog, we will discuss causes, symptoms and management of liver enlargement with ayurveda herbs and remedies.

Cracking the Code: Uncovering the Root Causes of Liver Enlargement

Cracking the Code: Uncovering the Root Causes of Liver Enlargement

There are many causes for liver enlargement but some top reasons for the same are as following:

Alcohol Abuse: A Leading Culprit

Excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of liver enlargement. When consumed excessively, it damages liver cells which leads to inflammation followed by scarring. This causes liver enlargement and results in onset of a condition called alcoholic liver disease. The risk of liver enlargement increases with the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption.

Fatty Liver Disease: A Silent Threat

Fatty liver disease is medically called hepatic steatosis. A condition which results in  excess fat accumulation in liver cells, further leading to inflammation and scarring. Common factors that contribute to development of Fatty liver disease are obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. In many cases it is asymptomatic thus making it a silent threat to liver health.

Viral Hepatitis: A Hidden Danger

Viral hepatitis includes hepatitis A, B and C, which can cause liver enlargement. The viruses can infect the liver which causes liver cell inflammation and damage. If not treated on time, viral hepatitis has the potency to cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis B and C can also cause chronic liver diseases.

Genetic Disorders: A Familial Link

Hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease are two genetic diseases responsible for causing liver enlargement. In Hemochromatosis the body absorbs too much iron, leading to iron accumulation in the liver. On the other hand in Wilson's disease the body accumulates too much copper in the liver. Both of the disorders can lead to liver damage and enlargement.

Drug Toxicity: A Prescription for Trouble

Medications like overdose of acetaminophen, induce liver damage and cause liver enlargement. Other medications such as antibiotics and anti-seizure drugs, can also damage liver cells. It is very essential to use medications only as directed or after consulting a healthcare professional.

Obesity and Insulin Resistance: A Deadly Duo

In obesity, the body accumulates excessive fat which can lead to insulin resistance, causing the liver to produce more insulin and finally leading to liver inflammation and enlargement. These both conditions are correlated but in some cases can exist individually.

Environmental Toxins: A Hidden Hazard

Pesticides and heavy metals are the environmental toxins which can damage liver cells and lead to liver enlargement. Recurrent or repeated exposure to such toxins can occur through contaminated food, water or air on a regular basis. Bad

Eating Habits: Not Good For Your Body

Processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats, a diet rich in such food articles, one way or another leads to liver enlargement. Intake of foods high in salt and sugar can also result in insulin resistance, further leading to liver inflammation. While a diet low in fiber and antioxidants will automatically cause liver damage within a certain time span.

Warning Signs: Surprising Symptoms of an Enlarged Liver

Warning Signs: Surprising Symptoms of an Enlarged Liver

When your liver enlarges, your body shows some symptoms which are necessary to be taken seriously. These are as following:

  • Abdominal Discomfort: Pain in upper right abdomen or tender to the touch, a feeling of fullness, heaviness or discomfort in the same region, such symptoms suggest liver enlargement. The symptoms or discomfort can be constant or it may come and go. It may worsen after eating or physical activity.
  • Abdominal Swelling: Swelling on the right hand side of the abdomen accompanied by weight gain and bloating  are one of the cardinal signs of liver enlargement. In chronic cases, the swelling can be caused by accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or constant lack of energy, even after resting and this fatigue can be debilitating  interfering with daily activities, can be a type of fatigue associated with bad liver health.  You may also feel difficulty in engaging in physical activity.
  • Loss of Appetite: The above symptoms can gradually reduce your interest in food or one can observe difficulty eating due to discomfort, pain or nausea. This typically leads to weight loss and malnutrition.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: After eating on can suffer from nausea or vomiting, especially which if not taken care properly, turns into dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Yellowing of the Skin and Eyes (Jaundice): Liver dysfunction due to various factors can result in a yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes and the buildup of bilirubin in the blood.
  • Dark Urine: Due to such bilirubin buildup, urine appears darker than usual. It can be due to dehydration as well.
  • Pale/ Dark Stools: Stools can appear pale in color or can be very dark in color, which is a sign of liver dysfunction associated with lack of bilirubin or excess of bilirubin in the body.
  • Itching: Itching sensations on the skin, especially on the palms of hands and soles of feet, which can be caused by the buildup of bile acids in the blood.
  • Hives: In some severe cases the body can make histamines which result in development of hives or itchy patches on the skin.
  • Confusion: Feeling confused, which can be a sign of buildup of toxins in the blood due to ongoing liver dysfunction.

Ayurvedic Herbs for Liver Health: The Nature’s Wonders

Ayurvedic Herbs for Liver Health: The Nature’s Wonders

Following are some herbs which can help in liver enlargement:

  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia): Also called as giloy or amrit, this herb has marvelous liver protective properties. It also helps in detoxification of liver cells, has inflammation reducing and antioxidant properties. It's a very powerful herb, working just not for liver health but for the entire human body.
  • Kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa): A herb used in management of different liver disorders. Kutki have hepatoprotective properties and can help to regenerate liver cells. It also bears anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties and purgative properties due to which it eliminates toxins from the body.
  • Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba): Liver cell rejuvenation is the primary effect of Bhringraj. It is a powerful herb which helps in eliminating accumulated fat from liver cells and has antioxidant properties thus protecting the liver from damage.
  • Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata): It is called the "king of bitters". Kalmegh is a marvelous herb for maintaining and reestablishing  liver health. It works by detoxifying the liver and promoting its natural functioning.
  • Triphala (Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica, and Emblica officinalis): Triphala is a combination of three fruits, of three different herbs. These when combined in particular amounts work together to promote liver health and support digestive health as well.


As mentioned above in the blog, the enlarged liver is a growing concern as it is turning into an epidemic affecting millions of people worldwide. Nowadays it has become essential to educate ourselves about the signs and symptoms of enlarged liver such as abdominal discomfort, lack of appetite, fatigue and jaundice. It is also important to update ourselves about liver detox home remedies, foods and lifestyle changes which are must to perform. In addition Ayurvedic herbs like Guduchi, Katuki, Bhringaraj, Kalmegh and Triphala offer a natural way to maintain and boost your liver health. Such herbs can be consumed in form of various formulations and it's best to take herbal formulations after seeking advice from a well trained Ayurveda practitioner.

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