Hi, I am a 42 year old female and I am going out of my mind with worry. About 3 months ago I went to my chiropractor as I was having pains in my back and neck. A couple of days later I developed burning pains in my ribs which my chiropractor explained away as a bit of rib cartridge infection. A couple of weeks ago I started having a feeling of fullness under my ribs as if something is pushing up (same feeling as being very pregnant) went back to the chiropractor as there was still burning sensation on rib area. He poked around and asked me to go and have a scan done of my stomach as he feels that my liver might be enlarged. The results came back indicating that my liver is 17cm mid car with fatty deposits and my spleen 14.4cm which was stated as slightly enlarged. My GP was quite annoyed with me for pursuing the matter as I have been to him twice with the problem witch he pushed under the carpet. However I asked him to please do blood tests which he did and told me came back normal. He did a full blood count, liver and pancreas function as well as the spleen. All the tests came back fine except my triglyceride levels which were high at 2.5. The feeling of extreme pressure is located under my right rib to the side down to my hip bone however sometimes I do feel it on the left. I am hardly ever experiencing any pain now in my ribs but every now and then I have a burning sensation on my left and right rib. I have been diagnosed with IBS 10 years ago and 2 years ago was diagnosed with anxiety. I have since gone back to my chiropractor who has advised me that I do have pinched nerves in my spine as I am also experiencing pain in my lover back, hips and groin. Please help don't know what to do, is this all in my head?
Hello Angel Heart and welcome to HB. Your symptoms and high triglycerides may indicate fatty liver as most other possibilities seem to have been looked into.
"Fatty Liver" is at epidemic levels in many parts of the world and a lot has been written on its causes and treatment. I'm not a doctor, but from what I've read, fatty liver is caused more by sugar and high carbohydrate diets than by fat in food. Fructose and high fructose corn syrup are often mentioned as prime contributors to the problem.
There are tons of dietary recommendations out there on the web if you google around on the subject, but simply reducing your consumption of sweet drinks will help. "Sucrose" or table sugar is not nearly as bad as the fructose in sodas, so if you've got a sweet tooth when it comes to beverages, try ice tea with table sugar instead of sodas.
Fatty livers are not particularly dangerous as long as the fat in your fatty liver does not start oxidizing (lipid peroxidation) through chemical exposures like dry cleaning fluid in clothes or food color and preservatives in food, or excess alcohol consumption. Polyunsaturated fats found in margarine (butter is better!) and deep fried foods are particularly prone to oxidation, so limiting these will help prevent lipid peroxidation too. Tylenol (aka: acetaminophen paracetamol) can contribute to liver inflammation also, and should be used sparingly.
Vitamin-E is your bodies best defense against lipid peroxidation, and many legitimate health authorities are now recommending vitamin-E as the best way to reduce inflammation in fatty livers while they are corrected by dietary means. Make sure your vitamin-E is the "natural" kind... It should say it (natural) on the front label if it is, or you can check the back label to be sure. Natural vitamin-E is: d-alpha tocopherol, while the synthetic stuff is dl-alpha tocopherol.
The studies that showed vitamin-E as helpful in preventing inflammation from fatty liver used 800IU of vitamin-E per day. You should ask your doctor about taking vitamin-E if he/she is treating you for any medical conditions. Don't take vitamin-E with other supplements containing iron as iron will damage the vitamin.
It is also unwise to take iron supplements or vitamins with iron when you have any liver condition unless you are badly anemic and your doctor instructs you to take iron, and monitors your iron levels so you know when you can safely discontinue the iron.
Cutting back on fructose, sugars in general, and excess carbs should show swift results with fatty liver, and vitamin-E should lower inflammation while you work your way back to better health. your triglycerides should fall as your fatty liver resolves too!
Don't worry too much about this... Worry can make you sick too! There are worse medical problems to have than fatty liver, and it is not particularly dangerous as long as you keep working on it through dietary means and keep inflammation from flaring up too badly with vitamin-E and chemical avoidance.
Best of Luck to you!
Last edited by BillinSD; 08-24-2012 at 06:58 PM.
Hi AngelHeart. Bill is right, the high Triggs point to fatty liver. I have a similar story, 3 years ago I had a similar pain, I had an ultrasound and it should moderate to severe fatty liver with mild enlargement. Scared the hell out of me. I was very overweight. Since then I lost 30 pounds and stopped all alcohol, as I was also a drinker. I just had a repeat ultrasound 2 weeks ago and it showed that my liver is normal in size now and the abnormality was a "mildly heterogenous echotexture possibly representing patches of fat" that's a direct quote from the scan. The doctor thinks its leftover fat from my severe fatty liver and it will take a long time to totally correct. I have also been donating a pint of blood every 2 months and as that is supposed to be very good for the liver and the heart too. A recent study proved that frequent blood donors had less cardiac events. Like Bill says, avoid sugars and carbs. My doctor also told me that ultrasound scans are very dependent on the operator. Results can vary greatly from lab to lab.
Can you quote the exact wording from you Ultrsound report?
Thank you both so much for your reply. I have been on a very strict eating plan where and I have lost 8kg in the last 3 weeks even though I am slightly overweight. I have not been taking sugar in my tea or coffee for the last 20 years and have only been drinking diet cold drinks which i have stopped having since I was diagnosed with a fatty liver. The exact wording from my ultrasound report reads: Liver - Right lobe of the liver measures 17cm in the mid clavicular line, slightly enlarged increased parenchymal echogenicity as seen with fat infiltration is noted. No focal mass lesions noted. Portial vein appears normal.
I have been back to my chiropractor and he has explained things to me in more detail then my general practitioner. We are now just trying to work out what the pressure under my ribs could be as it is constantly there and this worries me. My chiropractor has told me that my spine and lower back is very tight which is causing me to experience pain in my hip, groin and lover back. He also said that he thinks that my nerves are trapped which could be causing the ballooning feeling under my right ribs. This feeling disappeared over the weekend (i was hoping that its because of the treatment that i received at my chiropractor on Friday) but is back again this morning. I have visited my chiropractor again this morning and he advised that it might take 6 treatments for me to get 100% right.