An enlarged liver, hepatomegaly, is an increase in the size of the liver.
Enlarged liver is not a disease. It shows that there is an underlying problem, such as liver disease, congestive heart failure or cancer.
In some cases, both the liver and the spleen are enlarged, called hepatosplenomegaly.
The liver is a digestive system organ that performs many essential functions. These functions are: producing bile to break down food into energy; creating hormones; cleaning toxins from the blood, including those from medication, alcohol and drugs; and controlling fat storage and cholesterol production and release.
Slightly enlarged liver causes no symptoms. However, if it becomes severely enlarged, the symptoms can vary depending on the cause:
- A feeling of fullness
- Abdominal discomfort
- Nausea, vomiting
- Fatigue, weakness,
An enlarged liver may occur as a result of one or more of these causes.
Inflammation or fatty liver may cause an enlarged liver and may result from various liver diseases:
- An infection from a virus or abscess
- Certain medications
- Autoimmune disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Genetic disorders that cause fat, protein, or other substances to build up
Cancer may cause an enlarged liver. This may result from:
- Liver cancer
- Metastasis in the liver from
Blood vessel problems:
- Heart failure
- Blockage of veins in the liver
The risk factor for enlarged liver is to have a liver disease. In this case, the risk is higher if you:
- Use alcohol use
- Large doses of medicines, vitamins or supplements can damage the liver
- Herbal supplements. Certain supplements, including black cohosh, ma huang and mistletoe, can increase your risk of liver damage.
- Infections, like malaria and Q fever.
- Hepatitis viruses A, B and C can cause liver damage.
- Poor eating habits, like eating unhealthy food
To prevent enlarged liver, you can take measures to prevent liver disease by leading a healthy lifestyle, like quit smoking, eating healthy food, alcohol in moderate quantity, cautious use of medications, vitamins and supplements.