Preventing cirrhosis 

You can reduce your chances of developing cirrhosis by limiting your alcohol consumption and protecting yourself from a hepatitis infection.

Limiting your alcohol consumption

Heavy alcohol consumption is one of the most common causes of liver cirrhosis. One of the best ways to avoid this is to keep within recommended limits:

  • men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
  • spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week

If you have cirrhosis, you should stop drinking alcohol immediately – it speeds up the rate at which the condition progresses, regardless of the cause.

Read more about alcohol misuse.

Protect yourself from hepatitis

Cirrhosis can be caused by infectious conditions, such as hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis B and C can be caught through having unprotected sex or by sharing needles to inject drugs.

Using a condom when having sex will help you avoid the risk of getting hepatitis, as will avoiding injecting drugs.

Anyone who's at risk of getting hepatitis B, such as police officers and social care workers, can be protected by being vaccinated against the condition. There's currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.

People born in areas of the world where hepatitis B and C are widespread, such as parts of south Asia and Africa, need to be screened for hepatitis as early treatment can help prevent the onset of cirrhosis.

Page last reviewed: 15/04/2015

Next review due: 01/04/2018