Common complaints and symptoms

People with liver disease may experience a range of symptoms. Some can signal something serious is going on – others are just plain annoying.

Always check out new symptoms with your doctor.

Abdominal pain (belly ache)

Abdominal pain, or belly ache, is common in people who have liver disease. It can get worse as the liver disease gets worse (progresses). Abdominal pain can be a sign you are in the advanced stages of liver disease.

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Appetite loss

One of the early signs of liver problems can be appetite loss. You might not feel interested in food, or eating might make you feel nauseous.

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Ascites (swollen belly)

People with liver disease often notice their belly is swollen. This can mean they have a condition called ascites. This means a build-up of fluid in the belly. It is a sign of cirrhosis.

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People with liver disease tend to bruise more easily. If you have a lot of bruises, it could be a sign that you have liver disease.

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Fatigue (feeling very tired)

Fatigue is more than just feeling tired. It is when you feel exhausted all the time, even if you have had enough rest. It is common in people who have liver disease as well as many other chronic diseases.

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People with liver disease are much more likely than other people to get a bacterial infection (an infection caused by bacteria).

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Itching is a symptom of liver disease. You might itch anywhere on your body, but it’s most common on the arms and legs, or the palms of your hands or soles of your feet. Some people itch all over. Itching in liver disease can vary from mild to exhausting.

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Memory problems (forgetfulness)

People with liver disease may find they suddenly start forgetting things, or their memory problems can build up over a long time. They might also feel confused and find it hard to concentrate.

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Nausea and vomiting

Tummy problems are common in people who have liver disease. If you lost your appetite in the early stages, as your disease gets worse you may start to feel sick or keep vomiting.

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Sleep problems

Most people with liver disease find their sleep is affected. You might get insomnia (not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep), or notice that your sleep doesn’t refresh you like it used to. It might take longer to fall asleep after you turn off the light, or you might develop restless legs.

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Read more about symptoms and tests

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