Enlarged liver in children is a sign of an underlying medical condition. Read the following article to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this condition.
Located in the upper right quadrant of the abdominal cavity, the liver is a vital organ of the human body. It is responsible for a multitude of essential functions. Most of the important life processes are dependent on this organ for their normal functioning. Some of its primary functions include processing fats, synthesis of bile, producing proteins essential for blood clotting, blood filtration, and detoxification of the body. It is the largest internal organ in the human body, however, its enlargement beyond the normal size can be an indication of some serious medical problem. The condition is referred to as hepatomegaly, and can occur in kids as well as adults. In this article, you will learn all about an enlarged liver in children.
- There are over a hundred different liver diseases that can affect children as well as adults.
- Hepatomegaly is an indication of some underlying medical condition. It is more a symptom than a disorder.
- The liver begins to enlarge gradually, as it becomes inflamed from the various diseases. The primary conditions associated with this condition include viral infections, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatoblastoma, which is a form of liver cancer that usually occurs in infants.
- Alagille syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by the deterioration of bile ducts and Reye’s syndrome, a condition that causes fat build up in the liver and is generally associated with the use of aspirin can also result in abnormal enlargement.
- Other causes include heart diseases, metabolic disorders, and obesity.
- Sometimes, this condition is accompanied by enlargement of the spleen and the condition is referred to as hepatosplenomegaly.
- Both these conditions are mostly associated with diseases that harm the kidneys, liver, or the red blood cells in the body.
When mild, this condition often shows no signs and symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, the child may experience pain in the abdomen. Abdominal pain can be moderate to severe, depending on the intensity of the condition. Severe cases can result in jaundice, which is characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes.
The condition is confirmed by means of palpation, X-ray, ultra sound, CT scan, or blood tests. The treatment primarily involves dealing with the specific cause of liver enlargement. Treating the disease that has caused the liver to enlarge can repair the liver damage signs, and hence, it is very important to determine the exact cause of the condition. Mild cases can be cured by certain medications to reduce the inflammation. However, severe cases may require a transplant.
This was all about liver enlargement in children. Early diagnosis can help in effective treatment of the condition and prevent further complications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.