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  • Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

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    Old 03-09-2021, 10:52 AM   #1
    layman100
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    Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    I had elevated liver enzymes detected (AST 15 points over, and ALT 40 points over). All other tests normal. Ultrasound was unremarkable (no fatty liver or hepatomegaly).

    I cut way back on alcohol over the past 6 months, and haven't touched it in at all since the Super Bowl....and even then, I only had 3 drinks that weekend. I also stopped taking an NSAID I was using for an unrelated issue, and I've been off of that for about 10 weeks. I don't use any other medications or supplements.

    My question is this: Is that enough time for the liver enzymes to come back to normal (or at least closer to normal) for my blood test late this month?

     
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    Old 03-09-2021, 08:51 PM   #2
    quincy
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Hi...it is possible for your liver to regenerate itself if you've abstained completely from alcohol.

    Congratulations on your successful efforts to quit....not an easy thing, but worth it if your enzymes are elevated.

    Were you symptomatic of any signs regarding liver disease?

    It is possible you have something else going on....i suggest you have an MRCP (liver and bile ducts MRI) asap.

    One can have moderately elevated AST and ALT but no liver disease, so further testing absolutely needs to be done.

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    Old 03-10-2021, 06:17 AM   #3
    layman100
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Thanks for your reply. I was never symptomatic of liver disease. I had an ultrasound and it was normal. No fatty liver, no masses, no gallstones or bile blockages, and I assume I have normal blood flow. I also tested negative for viral hepatitis. I'm going for a follow up blood test.

    You mention that it is possible for the liver to regenerate if I abstain from alcohol. But is 2 months of total abstinence enough?

    In the 12 months prior to the 2 months abstinence, I was drinking only minimally - about 2 drinks per week average. I was using an NSAID during Oct-Dec, but haven't touched it since Christmas.

     
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    Old 03-10-2021, 09:55 AM   #4
    quincy
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Hi...are you seeing a hepatologist specifically? You need a more indepth testing such as MRCP which is noninvasive, unlike a biopsy or ERCP. . Ultrasound isn't enough considering your enzymes are continually elevated.
    It could be you have something else body-wise going on, not related to the liver.

    Do the research of AST and ALT ratio. Yours is 1:2

    Why were you on NSAID?

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    Old 03-10-2021, 10:03 AM   #5
    layman100
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    No, this is being managed in primary care, at least for right now. PCP is convinced that it is alcohol related. What I'm asking is this: Is 2 months total abstinance enough for the liver to recover, assuming that this is liver related?

    I've done the research on the AST/ALT ratio. Doctor doesn't think it is that specific.

    I was on NSAID for an unrelated back problem.

     
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    Old 03-10-2021, 10:31 PM   #6
    quincy
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Curious if your GGT was normal?

    How long after you stopped drinking did you have the ultrasound?

    Considering you don't know any extent of particular liver damage, and via ultrasound your doc says no fatty liver, but your AST / ALT hasn't declined.... you will be having continued blood testing while abstaining.
    If the enzymes lower, that's a good thing, so, it's probably related to alcohol. If they don't lower, then there is something else going on and hopefully your doc will request more tests.

    I still think you should request to see a hepatologist, especially if your next blood testing shows no decline or is increasing.

    Hang tough......you're on the right track alchocol-wise, regardless.

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    Old 03-11-2021, 07:47 AM   #7
    layman100
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    GGT was not tested. Doesn't seem to be part of the metabolic panel.

    Here's a timeline of my drinking prior to the ultrasound:

    3 weeks prior: Less than 1 drink
    6 weeks prior: 1.5 drinks (had blood test earlier that day)
    9 weeks prior. 1.5 drinks
    10 weeks prior: 8 drinks (spread over the course of the week)

    So at the time of my ultrasound, it had been well over 2 months since I'd done any substantive drinking.

    It has now been nearly 5 months since the ultrasound. I've had a total of 13 drinks since then, and only trace amounts since late Jan. When I go for my blood test, it will have been about 7 weeks since I had any quantifiable amount.

    I also haven't touched any NSAIDs since December.

     
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    Old 03-11-2021, 10:50 AM   #8
    quincy
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    So, you don't know if you had any signs of fatty liver since alcoholism is a definite cause of it.
    I read that abstaining 2 weeks prior shows definite improvement. A plus.

    Regarding GGT...it would have been a good guage since your doctor believes alcohol is the cause.
    Do the research on GGT and alcohol intake.
    If it was elevated, then went down after abstaining but AST/ALT remains it could mean something else going on.

    But you're on the track of being monitored...and for you, abstinence is a huge lifelong thing with this warning and your concern of liver condition.

    You might wonder why the push...I have autoimmune liver disease (PBC, but was originally thought to be PSC because of me having Ulcerative Colitis) and have been through the testing process. The guessing game was frustrating. All was early regarding stage of my diagnosis and I was put on a medication immediately that brought enzymes down. I'm monitored every 6 months with a hepatologist now.

    So for you, the concern is if your enzymes continue to go down the longer you've been abstinent.

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    Old 03-11-2021, 11:54 AM   #9
    layman100
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    The ultrasound showed no fatty liver ("normal echogenicity"). I suppose it could be possible that I had fatty liver at my last blood test, but it resolved between then and the ultrasound, since that was 6 weeks afterward. Perhaps this is what you meant.

    I'll talk to my doctor about GGT, but for now, I want to see what my enzymes do.

    My main question is whether or not 2 months of abstinence is enough to heal the liver *damage* caused by alcohol. I know it's enough for fatty liver to heal, but I'm wondering if it is enough for the actual enzymes to come back most of the way to normal assuming that it is the alcohol and NSAIDs.

     
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    Old 03-11-2021, 11:26 PM   #10
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Regarding healing to a normal state...depends on the extent of damage.
    And you do not know what that is at this point, and I certainly couldn't assume. Hence the MRCP suggestion.
    I don't know if the numbers equate to extent of damage.

    Your blood tests of continual decrease and then remaining at a normal state should tell you regarding time. I would assume that with numbers lowering that means less damage.

    Has your doctor not been able to answer that question for you?

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    Old 03-12-2021, 06:33 AM   #11
    layman100
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Numbers lowering does mean less damage, I'm pretty sure. I'm pretty sure I have not done anything to damage my liver within the last 2 months. Even if you go back 3 months, I was drinking very little. 4 drinks in January total. It's Oct-Dec of 2020 I'm worried about with NSAIDs.

    I was never an alcoholic though. I was never dependent on alcohol, and for the past 9-10 years, my weekly consumption has been within 15 beers per week average. There have been individual weeks where I've doubled that, but those are the exception, not the rule. I've also maintained 3-4 non-drinking days each week for at least 45 weeks out of the year.

     
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    Old 03-12-2021, 10:46 AM   #12
    quincy
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Unless you had liver enzymes testing throughout your entire drinking life, you dont know how it reacted. Any alcohol binge consumption is extremely hard for the liver to process.
    I would be less concerned about the NSAID (what did you take?) if taken with recommended dosage...although mixed with alcohol intake can increase issues exponentially. You had no symptoms so it doesnt seem a matter to worry about at this point since you aren't on them presently.

    You're on a good track now...all good. If your liver was vastly affected, other enzymes would be up and you would have symptoms.

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    Old 03-12-2021, 12:18 PM   #13
    layman100
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Thanks for your continued replies, this is all helpful information.

    I was on Meloxicam for the NSAID. While I was on it, I kept drining to a minimum. No more than 2 per week, and in many cases, less than 1. Never had any symptoms of liver problems. Bilirubin was low-normal, and albumin was high-normal, ALP was normal too (and not borderline).

    In January, I did find out that my cholesterol and fasting sugar were lower than they usually are. I had a finger blood test done for work reasons*. These tests do not include liver enzymes, and not quite as accurate as blood analyzed in a lab, but it was still quite a reduction in cholesterol and sugar. I wonder if that is a sign of my liver is healthier?

    *I work in manufacturing, and the company does cholesterol + sugar testing every year. Not sure why.

     
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    Old 03-12-2021, 10:32 PM   #14
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    Interesting about blood sugar and cholesterol.

    The raised albumin could have been from meloxicam.

    If your raised glucose and cholesterol was from alcohol consumption fatty liver, it could be that abstaining from alcohol improved that standing and your cholesterol and glucose decreased.
    Just guessing, however.

    Regardless...hopefully, your next tests show improvement. Consider yourself a work in progress.
    When is your next testing?

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    Old 03-14-2021, 06:31 PM   #15
    layman100
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    Re: Is 2 months enough for the liver to recover?

    My albumin wasn't raised. Normal goes up to 5.3. Mine is at the high end of normal.

    My next testing is this coming week.

     
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