Q. Can fatty liver cause swelling of the abdomen?

Answered by
Dr. Amolkumar W Diwan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 06, 2016 and last reviewed on: Sep 03, 2019

Hello doctor,

I had a CT scan done. The report shows that I have an enlarged fatty liver measuring about 22.6 cm at the right midclavicular line. Is this considered a grossly enlarged liver? I have been a heavy drinker all my life. I have read that anything over 16 cm is enlarged. In my case, it is a way beyond the normal value. I am having abdominal discomfort and swollen feeling in my upper abdomen. Every time I eat, it gets worse. Could my liver be the cause of my upper abdominal swelling and discomfort?

Dr. Amolkumar W Diwan

Allergy Specialist Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • Fatty liver is a very common condition in the general population, especially who are heavy drinkers.
  • Usually, the symptoms include heaviness in right upper quadrant of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, decreased concentration and fullness.
  • As you said, liver is grossly enlarged, but on CT scan generally Hounsfield units (HU) are measured rather than the length of liver. Anything above 50 HU is considered to be fatty liver compared with the spleen.
  • The most common causes are excessive alcohol intake and fatty foods. Get a liver function tests, lipid profile and kidney function test to find out the exact stage.
  • As there is no definite treatment for fatty liver, strictly avoid alcohol and fast foods. I recommend you to do exercises daily and increase intake of green leafy vegetables.

For further information consult a pulmonologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/pulmonologist

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