Can the liver repair itself?

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cass8008 | 00:50 Wed 23rd Aug 2006 | Science
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If someone was an occasional binge drinker, for example only drinking on one night every fortnight or month or so, but drinking a lot on those nights, for around 4 years or so, would the liver be able to repair itself back to almost normality, and how long would it take, if the person was 18.


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Speaking as someone who had Acholic Poisoning at the age of eight, and drinks to excess (3 bottles of wine) every Thursday (I'm 50+ now) I've had my liver tested regularly and it shows no sign of failure. My GP tells me that even at my age my liver can recover relativley quickly should I deceide to stop drinking.
It all depends on the body and the quantity of booze!
The liver regenerates fairly quickly when no boozing is happenning so it's a good idea to have several days a week when no drinking is taking place. Occasional binge drinking (more than 4 pints officially! Yeah right!!) can be accomodated as can regular moderate drinking. I tend to go Mon-Thur no booze most weeks, I had a liver test for Life Assurance and no damage showed up.
The liver starts to repair itself about 2 days after drinking, assuming no more alcohol is had. So, if you have 2 days off then have a few drinks again, the liver hasn't had time to recover from the last lot.

Think I best go for a check myself then....
i had liver problems a few years back. the consultant had stated that if the liver was 75% damaged it could repair itself. over that your in trouble.
I read somewhere once that you can drink loads as a student, but as long as you give it up when you graduate your liver will repair itself.

Not sure how true this is, but the liver has a remarkable capacity to repair itself, and a large reserve function - i.e. lots of it can be destroyed and it can still work normally.
If you stop boozing the liver will repair itself.

A part of the posting seemed to echo St Augustince c 500AD - Oh Lord make me chaste, but not just now....
An alcohol counselor told me a few years back that 'a good 10 years' heavy drinking will 'knack' your liver.
Doubt it personally, I drank heavily fo rmore than that and seem ok.
Haven't drank since April, though,
Not everyone who drinks heavily will get liver damage, its probably a genetic thing in the mix too. If you drink heavily regularly then you can get a fatty liver, which is alcoholic hepatitis or sometimes scarring (cirrhosis). I would have thought the younger you are the more damage you would cause to your body from heavy drinking. There is also a bigger chance of cancer of the liver in binge drinkers.

I would have though that detoxing and drinking lots of water would help between the binges.
The liver does indeed repair itself from damage from alcohol, unless you drink so much for so long that you get cirrosis of the liver. That is when the liver becomes so damaged that it turns into scar tissue, and cannot repair anymore. Usually, though, only chronic alcoholics get this... usually older, but sometimes very heavy problem drinkers in their 30s get it! The warning signs of this is your skin or the whites of your eyes turning yellow, and easy bruising that takes a while to heal. If you have those symptoms, hurry up and see a doctor!! Otherwise, though, even if you do drink a lot, the liver can repair itself if you either limit your binges to the weekends, and let the liver rest during the work week (this will likely help you at work, too!!), or if you actually stop drinking altogether for a month or two every year. The liver can completely recover from alcohol damage (if you don't have cirrosis) in 1 - 2 months. I know a man who drinks tons and just goes dry for a month every year, and he's fit as a fiddle, and he's in his 60s. Two months would be even better.
Of course, people, liver damage isn't the only bad thing that being a heavy drinker can do to you!! It can really mess you up and speed up the aging process in many different ways. It also increases your chances of some kinds of cancer. So best to try and slow down on the drinking. I think keeping it to weekends is the best solution, and makes it easier for those of us who like to get more than just a bit relaxed from drinking.

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