ZocdocAnswersCould back pain be related to drinking after the beginnings of liver cirrhosis?

Question

Could back pain be related to drinking after the beginnings of liver cirrhosis?

Two years ago my fiancée had her gallbladder removed. The operating doctor told her and myself she had the beginnings of liver cirrhosis and should not drink alcohol anymore. Well she still does. She constantly complains of back pain near the bottom of her rib cage (kidney area). She says the drinking helps the pain, but from my perspective it is making it worse. She will go up to several months not drinking and have normal aches and pains, it's when she starts drinking the pain starts. She refuses to see the connection. I have tried to explain to her that her body doesn't filter alcohol like it did before. What can I do to show her the alcohol is the problem?

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your fiancee's health issues and your difficulties with the situation. I recommend you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. After carefully reviewing your fiancee's medical history, performing a physical exam, and reviewing her blood work, this provider can help counsel your fiancee on the most appropriate diet for her condition and make recommendations on future management. Cirrhosis refers to fibrotic deposition within the liver that occurs over time. Depending on the degree of cirrhosis, liver function can be progressively impaired leading to fluid accumulation in the abdomen and legs, abnormal blood vessels in the esophagus that can cause severe bleeding, jaundice, and impairment in synthesizing the multitude of proteins normally made by the liver. Alcohol abuse is one of several causes of cirrhosis, and it is important for you to discuss this with a gastroenterologist. It is also important to evaluate whether she may be suffering from pancreatitis. This occurs when the digestive proteins normally release by the pancreas begin to digest the pancreas itself. Alcohol abuse is a common cause of this, and patients often present with abdominal or back pain that is associated with drinking. I encourage you to raise these concerns with a gastroenterologist.

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