Right Upper Abdominal or Liver Pain
Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Right Upper Abdominal or Liver Pain (Symptom)
Liver pain is pain coming from the liver. The liver does not contain nerve fibers that sense pain. Therefore, the liver tissue can be cut, burned, or compressed without causing pain. Pain fibers are, however, the liver capsule, a thin layer of tissue surrounding liver tissue itself. Pain fibers of the capsule are stimulated when the capsule is stretched. Therefore, anything that extends to the capsule may cause pain in the liver.
The common liver diseases ranging from the capsule are tumours that grow within the liver and liver inflammation occurs, for example, with hepatitis of any cause. In the latter case, an accumulation of inflammatory cells and the liquid within the liver is stretching the capsule. Bile ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and intestine, and gallbladder are also surrounded by a thin layer of tissue that senses pain when stretched. Therefore, stretching of the ducts due to problems within the conduits can lead to pain that may be difficult to distinguish from stretching of the liver capsule.
Liver pain may be caused by various disorders related to the liver including such as ascites (buildup of fluid in the abdomen), autoimmune disease (disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue), cirrhosis (scarring of the liver that causes severe dysfunction), hepatitis (liver inflammation), hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), liver abscess, liver failure, liver tumor (either primary or metastatic from another site in the body).
In some cases, liver pain may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. These include blood infections, hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), injury to the liver or bile-draining tubes, liver metastases (spread of cancer from other parts of the body).