Liver Health

Will Your Liver Repair Itself After Years of Drinking?

BY Mat Lecompte TIMEJune 2, 2022 PRINT

One of the most interesting and well-known facts about one of your body’s most vital organs, the liver, is that it can repair itself. But just how much can it do?

If you’ve been drinking for years, let’s say, can your liver just fix itself, so it’s like you never touched the stuff?

It really depends on the level of damage that’s done.

There are various stages of alcohol-related liver disease. But the first two, alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis, don’t produce many symptoms. Alcoholic fatty liver disease may produce no symptoms at all, meaning it can progress easily without notice.

If you stop drinking during the first two stages, your liver will likely repair itself. The length of time, however, will depend on the severity of the condition. Healing can begin within days and take a few weeks to a year for the liver to completely recover to its original function. You’ll want to eliminate alcohol intake during this time and try to eat as healthily as possible.

On the other hand, if your liver disease has progressed to the point of cirrhosis, which is marked by scarring on the liver, your organ will not be able to repair itself. The scars are permanent, and continuing to drink may lead to liver failure and a host of other deadly risks.

Because you may not notice any symptoms until the second stage of a liver problem, it’s a good idea to take inventory of how much you drink. If you’re exceeding one standard size drink per day as a woman, or two as a man, your liver is unlikely to be in top form.

If you begin to notice discomfort in the abdomen, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, or nausea, it may indicate early-stage liver problems. A blood test and ultrasound can help determine the overall health of your liver.

So, in short, your liver can repair itself up to a point. To maintain liver health, consume a low to moderate amount of alcohol and keep up with doctor’s appointments.

Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness reporter for Bel Marra Health, where this article was first published.

Mat Lecompte
Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.
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