Symptoms

You may not have any symptoms when you first develop cirrhosis.

In the early stages, the liver can function normally despite being damaged.

You tend to get noticeable symptoms as the liver becomes more severely damaged.

The main symptoms include:

As the condition progresses, you may also have:

  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • fever and shivering attacks
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea 
  • itchy skin
  • stomach pain, or a swollen or bloated stomach
  • dark, tarry-looking poo
  • a tendency to bleed or bruise easily
  • tiny red lines (blood capillaries) on the skin above waist level
  • swelling in the legs, ankles and feet caused by a build-up of fluid (oedema), which can cause breathing problems
  • difficulty maintaining weight
  • personality changes, confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, or hallucinations
  • in women, abnormal periods
  • in men, enlarged breasts, a swollen scrotum (the loose sac of skin that contains the testicles) or shrunken testicles

See your GP if you think you may have cirrhosis.

Page last reviewed: 03/07/2017
Next review due: 03/07/2020