Have you been a heavy drinker? While alcoholism takes a troll over your body, the organ that is worst affected by binge drinking is your liver. Long-term alcohol abuse is the primary cause for severe liver damage, illness and death from end-stage liver diseases.

The earlier you stop drinking, the better it would be for your body, especially the liver. Although stopping alcohol consumption won’t alone help in recovery. In order to regain a healthy liver, it is important to first understand how alcohol affects your liver.

How does alcohol affect your liver?

Alcohol, when introduced to your liver, releases a toxic enzyme – acetaldehyde, which causes damage to liver cells, resulting in scarring of the liver. Along with this, alcohol dehydrates your body, causing lack of water, which stresses your liver (as liver needs water to function properly).

Alcohol consumption may cause a number of liver issues like fatty liver, alcoholic liver diseases, cirrhosis of liver and even liver cancer or liver failure.

Can your liver heal itself?

Once you get sober, your liver can recover itself (if the damage is not too much) since your liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself. You must consult a reputed liver specialist to get your liver examined and understand how much damage has been caused.

The effect of alcohol on your liver can be reversed to some extent by stopping alcohol consumption, drinking lots of water and eating liver-friendly food.

However, in some cases, the damage is irreversible and the only way to save your life is a liver transplant India.

Ways to reverse alcohol effects on your liver

Quitting alcohol won’t alone heal your liver. You need to help your liver recover from the damage caused due to alcohol and heal properly. Here is what you can do to help your liver repair after long-term alcohol abuse:

Stop Drinking: Ensure that you don’t drink at all, not even a small amount of it. Once liver damage has been caused, even an occasional drink would make your liver overwork and add to the damage.

Avoid Toxins: Say NO to smoking and watch the medications you are taking. Medicines like acetaminophen, often taken with Nyquil, are toxic, making your liver work harder.

Exercise: After alcohol, obesity is the second major cause of liver diseases. Ensure that you are at a healthy weight and not obese. Practice regular workout to boost your immune system and stay healthy.

Healthy Eating: A healthy diet is the key to good health. Do not eat too much of processed food, sugar or saturated fats, to help in reducing the work of your liver. Include natural liver cleansers to your diet such as green vegetables and fruits.

How long does your liver take to heal itself?

Once you stop drinking, your liver starts to heal itself. However, your recovery depends on how much and since how long you have been drinking for, whether you are a male or a female and the extent of liver damage that has been caused. There is no definite answer to this question, only a liver specialist can examine and tell the actual situation.
Liver is one of the most vital organs of your body, which needs care. Pay attention to your liver and follow the above guidelines to help your liver recover post long-term alcohol abuse. Stay healthy!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Vivek Vij is one of the most-sought after liver transplant surgeons in India with 17+ years of experience. He has conducted over 2500 liver transplants with 95% patient and 100% donor success rate and also the lowest biliary complication rate (<4%) in LDLT worldwide.