Hepatomegaly is the enlargement of the liver. Find out what its symptoms are, what causes it and what treatment to follow for its reversal.

When we speak of hepatomegaly from a medical point of view, we refer to the enlargement or widening of the liver beyond its normal size, so that its edges tend to exceed its limits and can cause certain discomfort.

As we saw in a previous article in which we talked about the functions of the liver, it is one of the most important organs in our body, precisely because of the great diversity of functions it carries out: it transforms food into energy, absorbs cholesterol, transforms fat-soluble vitamins, and removes alcohol, toxins and toxic substances from our body. On the other hand, we must also bear in mind that in addition to being one of the largest organs in our body, it is capable of rapid regeneration.

As we briefly indicated in the first lines of this note, we can consider hepatomegaly as the increase in the size of the liver, above the limits estimated as normal depending on the person’s age. We must bear in mind that the presence of a palpable liver by the doctor does not necessarily mean the existence of hepatomegaly, since its size depends largely on its relationship with the underlying structures.

Causes of enlarged liver

The causes that can cause liver enlargement are actually very varied, especially if we take into account that this organ is involved in many functions of our body, and therefore many conditions can be affected. The most commons are:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Fatty liver (statuses)
  • Hepatitis: hepatitis A, B and C
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma)
  • Cancer metastases to the liver
  • Leukemia
  • Reye’s syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis

Enlarged Liver Symptoms

When hepatomegaly tends not to be severe, in most cases there may be no symptoms, since the liver does not have nerve endings. However, when the liver has become much enlarged, it is possible to perceive certain symptoms when it begins to invade other organs, such as the pancreas or the stomach.

However, the symptoms that hepatomegaly can cause are the following:

  • Nausea, sometimes with dizziness or vomiting.
  • Intense pain.
  • Abdominal distension.
  • Sensation of heaviness in the abdomen on the right side.
  • Jaundice (yellowish/orange discoloration of the skin).
  • The color of stool or urine may change.

Treatment of hepatomegaly

Obviously, the treatment depends on having the diagnosis that has caused the enlarged liver.

For example, in the case of fatty liver, it is possible to reverse the enlargement by following a healthier diet, exercising and losing weight. In the event that the statuses have been caused by alcohol consumption, the key is to stop drinking it.


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