Every year the number of patients with liver pathology is growing. Problems with metabolism, poisoning with drugs or chemicals, injuries, and tumors lead to the development of diseases. Even bad habits can cause liver dysfunction.


A variety of symptoms, many of which have a fairly characteristic manifestation, will help the doctor to identify the problem promptly and prescribe treatment. However, the danger remains that some diseases in the early stages are almost asymptomatic. To eliminate the risk of developing the disease and to diagnose the liver in time, gastroenterologists and hepatologists recommend paying attention to some points.

Impaired liver function can be manifested as one symptom, or a combination of them, which depends on the specific disease and the presence of concomitant complications.

Pain and discomfort

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Painful sensations are usually concentrated in the right hypochondrium. In some cases, they can be given to the area between the shoulder blades, separately to the right shoulder blade. Pathology can be assessed based on the type and intensity of pain. For example, slight discomfort with aching pain, which complements the feeling of heaviness, may indicate the presence of an inflammatory process, including those caused by toxins. It is very difficult for the patient to clearly show where the pain is concentrated.

Intense and severe pain in the hypochondrium is characteristic of severe inflammation, including purulent. It is present with stones in the bile ducts, and liver injuries. Painful sensations are also characteristic of hepatic colic, which leads to the movement of stones in the bile ducts.

Some pathologies do not manifest themselves as unpleasant sensations. These are sluggish processes, such as hepatitis C or cirrhosis of the liver. The patient does not notice them for a long time, due to which liver diagnosis and treatment may be delayed. Often these diseases are detected already in the later stages of development.

Vomiting and nausea

The feeling of nausea and vomiting are quite common in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. If the problem involves the liver, these symptoms will be much more pronounced.

With the advent of nausea, problems with appetite begin – it dulls or completely disappears. There is an aversion to specific foods, usually high in fat. In some cases, an attack of nausea ends with vomiting, after which the condition is relieved for a while. The admixture of bile in the vomit indicates problems with the liver.

Manifestation of symptoms in the oral cavity

A characteristic symptom is the appearance of a yellow coating on the tongue. The intensity and color depending on the disease. For example, slight jaundice near the tip of the tongue may indicate an early stage of hepatitis. The appearance of yellow-green plaque is characteristic of serious pathologies of the digestive tract, biliary tract, or liver. Stagnation of bile manifests itself in the form of a plaque of a rich yellow hue. At these stages, tests may be prescribed to check the gastrointestinal tract.

An unpleasant bitterness may also be present. It occurs when bile enters the esophagus. The presence of a pronounced taste can be a symptom of viral hepatitis, tumor or cirrhosis of the liver, gastrointestinal disease, or gallbladder. Sometimes bitterness is caused by severe stress or taking certain medications. To accurately determine the disease, doctors prescribe a comprehensive diagnosis of the patient’s body.

In addition to bitterness, a sweetish or “fishy” aroma may appear in the mouth, which is accompanied by constipation or diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting. This symptom indicates problems with the digestive system, provoked by problems with the liver.

Increased body temperature

A symptom indicates the presence of a disease-causing agent that the body is fighting. With an increase in temperature by 38 ° C and its fluctuations in the range of 37-37.5 ° C, cirrhosis of the liver, and hepatitis can be observed.

In diseases of the biliary tract, the temperature is kept at around 39 ° C and above. In this case, the patient has twitching of facial and skeletal muscles.

Discoloration of urine and feces

Due to the increased volume of bilirubin, characteristic of hepatitis or cirrhosis, the urine acquires a dark tint. When shaken, a rich yellow foam appears in it.

Some diseases are characterized by discoloration of feces, which is accompanied by fever and discomfort in the right hypochondrium. Vomiting may be present.

Discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes

Due to the accumulation of bile pigments in the tissues, the color of the mucous membranes and skin changes. This may indicate the presence of cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis, especially in the presence of dark urine and light stool. The yellowness of the skin is present in cholelithiasis. To clarify the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe additional laboratory tests.

Problems with the separation of bile sometimes appear as brown pigment spots with varying degrees of intensity. They usually occur in the groin, armpits, or palms.

Other skin manifestations


An additional symptom that is observed in liver pathologies is spider veins. They usually appear on the back or cheeks. They are caused by metabolic problems and increased fragility of capillary walls. At an advanced stage, the patient immediately bruises with slight pressure on the skin.

Autoimmune diseases and hepatitis caused by infection are accompanied by allergic rashes and inflammation. At the next stage, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis may appear.

A characteristic symptom is “liver palms”, in which red spots appear on the feet and palms. They become paler when pressed. When the pressure stops, their color turns red again.

Hormonal changes

In chronic liver disease, hormonal imbalance occurs. In this case, patients experience hair loss on the pubis, in the armpits. Men suffer from testicular atrophy and enlargement of the mammary glands – this is caused by an excess of female hormones. In women, the volume of estrogen increases, which causes a rash throughout the body, PMS becomes very pronounced, and the menstrual cycle is irregular.


Intoxication of the body

Since the liver is responsible for filtering and removing toxins from the body, damage to the liver interferes with these functions. There is a pronounced intoxication and its accompanying symptoms. These include discomfort in the muscles and joints, problems with appetite, fatigue, and weight loss.


All these symptoms indicate the need to urgently sign up for a consultation with a gastroenterologist or hepatologist. They will collect an anamnesis and study the patient’s symptoms, select the most appropriate instrumental and laboratory diagnostic methods. Timely consultation will help to identify liver diseases in the early stages and choose the most effective treatment.

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