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Suffered from cirrhosis of the liver. Started drinking heavily. What is the timeframe of a relapse?

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My friend was in the hospital last October with cirrhosis of the liver, her survival rate was slim to none but she pulled through. Her skin was a bright yellow/orange for many months. She was admitted to a rehab facility and finally home before Christmas. By February she was recovering very well, out of her wheel chair and moving on her own. By spring, she felt whole again, so much so, she started drinking again in May and now she is drinking heavily. What is the timeframe of a relapse and what can we, her friends, do for her? What is the outcome? Thank you, XXXXXXX
Posted Tue, 14 Aug 2012 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by Dr. Dinesh Kumar Singal 12 minutes later

Thanks for contacting Healthcare Magic. It is very nice of you to be so concerned about your friend.

I understand that she already has alcoholic cirrhosis. Since she has restarted drinking heavily, she will certainly soon go back to the same state since liver is already damaged. Predicting a definite time frame is not possible.

You should get her back into rehab before she gets sick, so that she stops drinking again. Once she stops drinking then she will need a specialist support who can advice drugs that reduce craving, she will also need counselling from a specialist psychologist. You as a friend should try to analyse what makes her go back to alcohol, and then may be try to alter those factors.

Hope my suggestions help.

Best wishes.

Dr Dinesh Singal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffered from cirrhosis of the liver. Started drinking heavily. What is the timeframe of a relapse? 25 minutes later
Dr Singal,

She claims that her liver is rejuvenated and back to normal, that she has fought the disease and won and she is once again healthy. Is there any truth to this statement, can anyone recover from liver damage and have the liver capacity to drink again, even if it is an occasional drink (which is what she started with, a glass of champaign) or more then the occasional drink? She even claims that her doctor said it was ok for her to drink a glass of champaign once in awhile cause it has a low alcohol content, any truth in that statement?

Thank you, XXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Dinesh Kumar Singal 8 hours later

Thanks for getting in touch again.

Once cirrhosis develops, liver never comes back to normal. There can be some improvement over a period of time if the incriminating cause is removed (which is alcohol in your friend's case). But the liver stays damaged for ever and its reserves are markedly reduced.

Someone who has a drinking problem should never drink. Drinking problem always starts with an occasional drink, which later progresses to XXXXXXX alcoholism. In your friend's case she should not take alcohol at all.

Best wishes.

Dr Dinesh Singal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffered from cirrhosis of the liver. Started drinking heavily. What is the timeframe of a relapse? 11 hours later
Thank you for your response, can you give more information regarding what will happen to her if she continues to drink now. Are there physical signs to look for before she goes into complete liver failure again? I believe she has been drinking steadily since May, her liver only had 6 months to recover since it failed her in October. I want to have an intervention with her to make her understand that she has a drinking problem and that she will not survive if she continues to drink but I need more clinical facts that will contradict her way of thinking “she is recovered and ok to drink” What will really happen to her if she continues to drink and is there a basic timeline that she could go into live failure again? I need to present her with true facts for her to face, that I have done my research and she can’t lie to me or herself any more. I don’t have permission to contact her doctor, so I can only go on research, thanks for your help again, XXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Dinesh Kumar Singal 2 hours later

It is nice to know your concern for your friend.

Since she already has cirrhosis, and she was deeply yellow 6 months back. This is for sure that it wont take much time before she goes into the same state. Exact time frame is very difficult to give since it depends on a lot of factors.

Symptoms of cirrhosis progression include bloating of abdomen (due to development of water in abdomen), yellowness of eyes and urine, loss of weight, low grade fever, generalised weakness, black coloured stools or blood vomitings.

You should try and ask her to completely stop alcohol as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

Dr Dinesh Singal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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