What are the symptoms of a liver abscess?

Symptoms of liver abscess vary among individuals but most commonly include a combination of the symptoms listed below. In itself, a liver abscess is not life threatening, but it can become dangerous if it opens and spreads the infection. This can happen suddenly, so you should consult your health care provider if you have any of the following symptoms.

Common symptoms of a liver abscess

You may experience any combination of liver abscess symptoms. At times, any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Abdominal pain (especially in the upper right portion of the abdomen)
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Cough
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malaise or lethargy
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Pleuritis chest pain (hurts to breathe)
  • Sweating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, liver abscess can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions
  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Jerky movements
  • Malaise or lethargy
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or inability to breathe, labored breathing, wheezing, or choking
  • Severe pain
  • Vomiting

INTRODUCTION

What is a liver abscess?

Liver abscess is a pus-filled cyst in the liver. The liver is an organ in the digestive system that assists the digestive process and carries out many other essential functions. These functions include producing bile to help break down food into energy; creating essential substances, such as hormones; cleaning toxins from the blood, including those from medication, alcohol and drugs; and contro... Read more about liver abscessintroduction

CAUSES

What causes a liver abscess?

Anyone can get a liver abscess. The condition can be caused by infections in the blood, gastrointestinal system, or abdomen. It can also be caused by injury from a surgical procedure or other trauma to the liver.

Infectious causes of a liver abscess

Liver abscess may result from the following infectious causes:

TREATMENTS

How is a liver abscess treated?

Liver abscess is treated with both medications and surgical drainage. If you have amebic liver abscess, after the liver infection is cured, you will probably be prescribed another drug to kill any amebas remaining in the intestines so as to prevent recurrence of the abscess.

Surgical treatment of liver abscess is necessary in many cases to drain the abscess with a needle or small ... Read more about liver abscesstreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System


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