Cirrhosis is an irreversible scarring of the liver that appears after continuous damage to the organ. It’s usually caused by heavy consumption of alcohol or hepatitis C.
Cirrhosis usually shows very few signs and symptoms during its early stages, but as the disease progresses, it shows itself first via loss of appetite, nausea, and itchy skin, and then via jaundice, tarry-looking stools, blood-filled vomit and swelling in the legs (called edema).
Currently, there is no cure for cirrhosis, but the disease can be managed to reduce symptoms and slow its progression. Typical treatments include reduction of alcoholic beverages if that is the cause, or using anti-viral medication if something like hepatitis C or hepatitis B is the cause. Advanced cases of cirrhosis can cause liver failure, so a liver transplant may be a person’s only treatment option.
Cirrhosis can be prevented by not exceeding the daily recommended limits for alcohol consumption and avoiding contracting hepatitis C (which is spread through unprotected sex and dirty drug/tattoo needles).