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Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

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Old 02-11-2006, 06:00 AM   #1
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Question Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

Hi there,
My Mom just found out through some standard blood tests and or urine tests that her liver has slight inflamation. The doctor has scheduled an ultrasound but it will take a few months and he says it's not urgent. She does usually take a fare amount of acetaminophen due to migraines and some other prescriptions, however they are monitored by the doctor and she doesn't over do it. She is a little bit over weight. But certainly not obese.
I was just wondering if anybody can offer some advice on this? Is it something that is reveersible? And if not what does that mean? She has already started to eat better and excercise and she is no longer taking any tylenol or anything containing acetaminophen. Is there anything that is really beneficial that she could do besides that and the excercise and watching what she eats? And good foods or vitamins?
Any and all information that can be offered is always greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. Kristy.

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Old 02-11-2006, 06:21 AM   #2
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Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

First you need to find out just what the doc ment by "inflammation'.you need to obtain a copy of that lab report and continue to gather all other reports as they come and also get copies of all other medical records pertaining to this issue.all the docs clinic notes are espescially important(these are the little notes that every doc makes after he sees you for any sort of visit?)as they really can reveal alot about just what the doc actually thinks about what may possibly be going just gives you a much better insight as to possible Dx and other issues.
but getting a hold of that lab report would really help alot if you can post the actual numbers.the biggies for detecting any liver issues would be the,ALT,AST bil level,and the alk phos.these are the big things that my sons transplant co ordinator looks at every month when my son has his post transplant labs done.If you could find out just what levels those are at and post anything else that is in the out of range areas it would really help alot in giving you the best advice,really.the lab sheets themselves are usually pretty simple to read as they will state what was tested,whether it is out of range and what the normal levels should be.

The thing is,any inflammation can be stemming from any number of actual causes,so the numbers really are rather important to know.but at any rate,start gathering records as soon as you can.all you have to do is call anyplace where she has been seen and ask them to send out a release of information to obtain medical records.she can also fill one out right at the next doc visit if she has one really really soon,otherwise just just fill it out,she signs it and send it back and usually within a few days to about a week,they will be sitting in her mailbox.marcia

Old 02-11-2006, 06:13 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2006
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toosick HB User
Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

Your mom's doctor should run a Liver Function Panel Test (blood test) in which he should be looking at her ALT, AST, Protein, and Alkaline Phospates. My liver problems totally stemmed from taking an antibotic (Amoxicillin) for bronchitis plus I took Tylenol off and on when I had migraines. My doctors never run labs for a month and by the time they did run a liver function test, they were skyrocketed.

If your mom is even somewhat fatigued, nausea from time to time, or loss of appetite, please tell her to have her doctor run lab work to check liver, kidney, gallbladder, and pancreas as they can all be inter-related.

Good luck to you mom!

Old 02-11-2006, 08:27 PM   #4
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Pika HB User
Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

I had one with the enlarge liver. Dr said was my liver inflamation. I had a fever as well and I had an ultrasound. He wrote that to my cardio. It was around 10 years ago. Last year, when I was on beta-blocker, it hurt again. The ultrasound said is an early fatty liver.

My GP ordered many blood tests for me but I didn't go for it at all. It is including ALT, AST. Now I realized it is for Liver. I think I'll consider it again. But I'm very scare of needle. I even had a nightmare about the nurses were chasing and caught me for a blood test!


Old 02-12-2006, 07:41 AM   #5
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Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

Pika you are doing the right thing here need to find out just whatis going on.i just wanted to offer you some advice here about the 'needle' issue?when you go for the test,ask the nurse to use whats called a 'butterfly'?this is a type of needle set up where they do not go into the crease of your elbow there with that straight needle?instead this is a little contraption that they actually slide kinda sideways into just below that crease(on the flat part of the inner arm?)with a smaller needle.this really really IS the least painful way of doing any sort of blood draw,trust son has a liver transplant and at first needed blood draws a couple times a week and now only once a month,let me tell ya,HE knows the difference.I also have tried both and the butterfly wins hands down as far as pain.just ask for the butterfly.any tech that actually draws blood,knows what thisis.they should not have any problems with having the request granted.this really IS the best way,just ask my luck,hope things go well.Marcia

Old 02-13-2006, 12:17 AM   #6
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Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

Thanks, Marcia. I would talk to my GP first. I want him to order full list (2 pages or 3 pages long) I don't mind. I only let go one poke and one needle for all. I wouldn't go for 2nd time. I had once that nurse and dr had taken 2.5 hrs to draw blood and put drip in. They had pulled up the bed guide otherwise I had run away and hide someway else already!

I have the butterfly one before. It bruised for one week. They used to inject the dye in for my CT scan. It is true, it wasn't as hurt as the drip needle. (put in the whole lot then they pull out the metal part and left the plastic part in the vein.) That one hurt a lot Anyway, I don't know am I brave enough to walk in by myself or not?


Old 02-13-2006, 10:26 PM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2005
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angel2hug HB User
Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

Hello, Kristy,
I just read your post. I have and enlarged liver and nonalcoholic cirrhosis. I have been taking Milk Thistle which my liver dr. told me about. I have blood test all the time and the ultrasound is the most painful one. only cause the brute(nurse) that does mine is trying to see china through my stomach. Tell your mom to get rest when she is tired and take care of herself. I over due it alot I am overweight and trying so hard to lose the weight but by taking the milk thistle my liver ensymes have been almost normal when I am tired or my side hurts I stop and lay down rest I have had this problem for 5 or 6 years oh yes watch the cholestrol level. Your mom sounds like she is on the right track. I wish her lots of luck. By the way walmart carries milk thistle... I will be praying for you

Old 02-14-2006, 06:03 AM   #8
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Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

May I ask what is "Milk Thistle"? Where to get it and does it need a doctor prescription? A tablet or liquid? Any contraindication? I would like to try. Thanks.

Old 02-14-2006, 06:48 AM   #9
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Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used since Greco-Roman times as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver problems. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries physicians in the United States used milk thistle seeds to relieve congestion of the liver, spleen, and kidneys. Today, several scientific studies suggest that active substances in milk thistle (particularly silymarin) protect the liver from damage caused by viruses, toxins, alcohol, and certain drugs such as acetaminophen (a common over the counter medication used for headaches and pain; acetaminophen, also called paracetamol, can cause liver damage if taken in large quantities or by people who drink alcohol regularly.)

Many professional herbalists recommend milk thistle extract for the prevention and/or treatment of various liver disorders including viral hepatitis, fatty liver associated with long term alcohol use, and liver damage from drugs and industrial toxins such as carbon tetrachloride.

Mushroom Poisoning
Milk thistle has also been used as a preventive and/or antidote to poisoning by deathcap mushroom (Amanita phalloides). Animal studies have found that milk thistle extract completely counteracts the toxic effects of the mushroom when given within 10 minutes of ingestion. If given within 24 hours of ingestion, the herb significantly reduces the risk of liver damage and death.

Liver disease from alcohol
A comprehensive review by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently identified 16 scientific studies on the use of milk thistle for the treatment of various forms of liver disease. A European standardized extract of milk thistle was used in most of the trials.

Problems in study design (such as small numbers of participants, variations in the causes of liver disease, and differences in dosing and duration of milk thistle therapy) made it difficult to draw any definitive conclusions. However, five of seven studies evaluating milk thistle for alcoholic liver disease found significant improvements in liver function. Those with the mildest form of the disease appeared to improve the most. Milk thistle was less effective for those with severe liver disease such as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is characterized by scarring and permanent, non-reversible damage to the liver. It is often referred to as end-stage liver disease.

Viral hepatitis
Despite the fact that milk thistle is widely used in the treatment of hepatitis (particularly hepatitis C), results from four viral hepatitis studies were contradictory. Some found improvements in liver enzyme activity while others failed to detect these benefits. None of the studies compared milk thistle with interferon or other medications for viral hepatitis.

Preliminary laboratory studies also suggest that active substances in milk thistle may have anti-cancer effects. One active substance known as silymarin has strong antioxidant properties and has been shown to inhibit the growth of human prostate, breast, and cervical cancer cells in test tubes. Further studies are needed to determine whether milk thistle is safe or effective for people with these forms of cancer.

High cholesterol
One animal study found that silymarin (an active compound in milk thistle) worked as effectively as the cholesterol-lowering drug probucol, with the additional benefit of substantially increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol. Further studies in people are needed.


Plant Description

Milk thistle is native to the Mediterranean, but is now widespread throughout the world. This stout thistle usually grows in dry, sunny areas. The stem branches at the top, and reaches a height of 4 to 10 feet. The leaves are wide, with white blotches or veins. The flowers are red-purple. The small, hard-skinned fruit is brown, spotted, and shiny. Milk thistle is easy to grow, and it matures quickly, in less than a year.


What's It Made Of?

The active ingredient, or liver-protecting compound in milk thistle is known as silymarin. This substance, which actually consists of a group of compounds called flavonolignands, helps repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances. Silymarin also keeps new liver cells from being destroyed by these same substances, reduces inflammation (important for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis), and has potent antioxidant effects.

Most milk thistle products are standardized preparations extracted from the fruits (seeds) of the plant. Most preparations are standardized to contain 70% to 80% of flavonolignans (silibinin, silychristin, and silydianin), collectively known as silymarin.


Available Forms

Capsules of standardized dried herb (each capsule contains about 120 to 140 mg silymarin)
Liquid extract
Silymarin phosphatidyl choline complex
The silymarin in milk thistle seeds is difficult to absorb. The more concentrated the solution of silymarin, the more easily it is absorbed and the more readily it enters the bloodstream. Standardized capsules are the most concentrated form and, therefore, should be used whenever possible. Silymarin-phosphatidylcholine complex may be absorbed even more easily than regular standardized milk thistle. In clinical trials, the silymarin-phosphatidylcholine complex has worked better than silymarin by itself for treating liver disorders. A key element in cell membranes, phosphatidylcholine helps the silymarin attach easily to the cell membranes. This may keep toxins from getting inside liver cells. Alcohol extracts may be less effective and, therefore, should likely be avoided.


How to Take It


Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of milk thistle for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.


Recommended dose: Generally 12 to 15 g dried herb (200 to 400 mg silymarin) per day or silymarin-phosphatidylcholine complex 100 to 200 mg two times per day.
For liver protection: 120 mg silymarin (about 2 capsules), two times daily
To treat liver damage (from alcohol, drugs, or chemicals): 120 mg (about 3 capsules), three times per day



The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

Side effects from milk thistle happen only rarely, but may include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, rash or other skin reactions, joint pain, impotence, and anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes throat tightness, shortness of breath, and, possibly, loss of consciousness.) The last two reactions listed are extremely rare.

Milk thistle should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.


Possible Interactions

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use milk thistle without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Similar to its ability to protect against damage to the liver from alcohol and acetominophen, as discussed in the Overview, milk thistle may also protect against liver damage from the following medications:

Antipsychotics: This group of medications used for schizophrenia includes butyrophenones (such as haloperidol) and phenothiazines (such as chlorpromazine, fluphe****ne, and promethazine)
Phenytoin: a medication used for seizures
Halothane: a medication used during general anesthesia
Other medications that may interact with milk thistle include:

One animal study found that milk thistle may enhance the effectiveness of aspirin in rats with liver cirrhosis. Whether this herb-drug combination has the same effect in people is not known at this time.

Chemotherapy medications
Preliminary research suggests that silybin may enhance the tumor fighting effects of cisplatin and doxorubicin when tested against breast and ovarian cancer cells.

In addition, milk thistle may protect the kidneys against toxic side effects associated with cisplatin and cyclosporine, two medications that are commonly used to treat cancer.

On the other hand, a different laboratory study revealed that the anticancer effect of cisplatin and ifosfamide was diminished in the presence of milk thistle. More research needs to be done to assess how milk thistle and cancer-fighting agents interact.

You don't need a Dr's prescription and like the above poster states, it can be bought at Walmart.

Old 02-14-2006, 09:58 PM   #10
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Re: Inflamtion in the liver? Please help

Thanks, inyourdreams. I'll speak to my Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. Currently, I'm also treated by herbs. Thanks again.

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