The liver is normally a very smooth, soft organ.
If inflammation develops inside of it, from liver damage,
it enlarges in size and takes on a spongy texture.
Inflammation in the liver is known as Hepatitis.
When the liver cells die off and form scar tissue
inside the liver...it is then known as Cirrhosis of the liver
and the liver shrinks in size and has a hard texture.
You should be with a hepatologist or gastroenterologist
now. They will do an ultrasound or Ct scan to see if
they notice the surface of the liver taking on a
nodular, lumpy appearance which could signify Cirrhosis.
They can see how the blood is flowing through the liver
by an ultrasound or Hida scan. However, the liver biopsy
is the best test to determine how far advanced in liver
disease you may be.
Damage to the liver cells have many different
causes. All of them follow the same course I just
See if any of these may pertain to you:
alcohol consumption (doesn't pertain),
medication toxification, chemical exposure,
viral infections (like Hepatitis A,B,C),
parasite infections, hereditary disease,
metabolic disorders, auto immune disease,
fatty liver disease, and others.
If the cause can be found and stopped, and
the inflammation is treated...sometime it can be
reversed. It is only when the liver cells have
died that it is not reversible.
Cirrhosis can be compensated or decompensated.
Compensated means that there is liver damage but
the liver cells are still able to perform many of the functions
needed. Decompensated means the liver is damage
but the functions are also declining and many signs and
symptoms are starting to appear. Like Jaundice
(yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin),
Ascites (build up of fluid in the abdominal area),
Encephalopathy( confusion and disorientation caused
by ammonia and other toxins going into the brain)
and Portal hypertension (the blood that normally would
go through the liver, isn't doing this now...it backs up
into the portal vein and other smaller vessels not used
to handling this amount of blood. These vessels can
have weak spots and balloon outward and break open.
Any bleeding from the vomit or sputum or from the
rectal area is then an emergency...the doctor can
go in an band these vessels to stop the bleeding.
Only the doctor would be able to tell you if you have
liver disease and how far advanced it is from the
testing I mentioned. We can only guess what is
meant by a rigid hard liver.
Best wishes to you. Hope this has been of some
caregiver to a liver transplant patient