How are the complications of Cirrhosis treated?The abnormal accumulation of fluid may cause swelling of the ankles (edema) and abdomen (ascites). Therefore, patients should reduce the amount of fluid and salt in their diet or use drugs called "diuretics" that mobilize and excrete the excess fluid through the kidneys. Occasionally, the ascites may become infected, a condition known as Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis, and require treatment with antibiotics.
When the liver does not efficiently function to cleanse the body of toxins and drugs, the mental state of patients may change dramatically and lead to coma, called Hepatic Encephalopathy. Treatment is directed at reducing the protein in the diet, avoiding sedatives and pain medications, and using laxatives and/or antibiotics to decrease the absorption of toxins from the intestines.
Sometimes, bleeding from the esophagus or stomach caused by abnormal veins (varices) may occur and is a life–threatening emergency requiring hospitalization. Variceal bleeding can usually be controlled with the use of a flexible tube (endoscopes) that is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus and stomach and used to inject clotting agents into the veins or to rubber band ligate the varices.
Liver failure refers to the end stage of liver disease and cirrhosis when the liver stops working and cannot support life. Liver failure is difficult to treat and survival is limited. Therefore, patients with any complication of cirrhosis are considered to be at risk of developing liver failure.
When complications develop, it may be possible to manage them. When it is likely that liver failure will develop, some patients with cirrhosis are able to undergo liver transplantation. The treating gastroenterologist may recommend liver transplantation when complications of cirrhosis develop in an attempt to avoid liver failure.
What is gas in the Digestive Tract?Gas in the digestive tract is not a subject that most people like to talk about, but the truth is that all of us have it and must get rid of it in some way. Normally, the gas passes out through the rectum or is belched through the mouth. These are both necessary functions of the body that allow us to eliminate gas.
When gas does not pass out of the body easily, it can collect in some part of the digestive tract, causing bloating and discomfort. Even normal amounts of gas in the body can bother people who are sensitive to this pressure. Although gas usually is not a sign of a medical problem, it can be. So if you have persistent or extreme gassiness (flatulence), mention it to your doctor when you have a checkup.
What causes Gas?A common source of upper intestinal gas is swallowed air. Each time we swallow, small amounts of air enter the stomach. This gas in the stomach is usually passed into the small intestine where part of it is absorbed. The rest travels into the colon (large intestine) to be passed out through the rectum.
In some people, part of the gas is belched out instead of being passed from the stomach into the intestine. This happens for several reasons. People under a lot of stress often swallow large amounts of air. Some people swallow air frequently because they have post–nasal drip, chew gum, or smoke. Rapid eating or poorly fitting dentures also may cause too much air to be swallowed. Also, drinking beverages that contain carbonated water may increase gas in the digestive tract. These drinks contain carbon dioxide, which can produce large amounts of gas when warmed in the stomach. People with a gas problem should avoid carbonated or "sparkling" drinks.