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How long does your liver take to recover from alcohol excess?

(8 Posts)
Tansie Thu 19-Jan-17 10:32:43

A discussion got a bit confused and I couldn't find an answer online, but basically my cousin has been sent for 'LFTs' which I have found out means liver function tests. She drinks a bit, but nothing like most people she lives around (she lives in a part of Scotland with a really heavy drinking culture), but I reckon it would be more than the guidlelines.

She told me that if she doesn't drink for 6 weeks, her liver tests would be normal, that 6 weeks off the booze would be long enough for any abnormalities to 'disappear' in her results. Obviously I don't know what the test she either is due to have or has had say, so i don't know whether her moderate-ish drinking will already show up on the test or not.

What do LFTs actually measure?

Anyway, I reckon it would take longer than 6 weeks for your liver to recover (assuming no irreparable damage, which I'd hope wasn't there) if you stopped drinking, but is it 8 weeks? Or 6 months?

Please note I am not lookin for a lecture about how a single glass of wine a day, or whatever will kill her in 2 years or whatever or advice on her joining AA, we were just takling about the physical recovery of your liver if you stopped drinking..

FeckinCrutches Thu 19-Jan-17 10:35:02

How much does she actually drink? I had one last year and it came back completely normal and I drink quite a lot. Why is she having them?

Tansie Thu 19-Jan-17 10:52:19

TBH I don't know. I guess from what she says (and how much she might drink when we're out) 2 or 3 large glases of wine, probably not every night, but she's with a really social gang so they go out way more than me!

I also am not sure why but I think her GP offers one of those middle aged MOT things (she's 49), she mentione dthat so probably that's why. To the best of my knowledge, she hasn't got any other medical problems.

Gottagetmoving Thu 19-Jan-17 13:49:39

It depends on the individual and how much they drink and for how long.
In my 30s I went through a period of very heavy drinking for 2 years ( I had anxiety and depression) I had a LFT and there was no sign of anything abnormal, The results were normal, even though I was terrified I had liver damage.
I should think your friend could abstain from alcohol for a couple of weeks in time for her liver to show a good result providing she has not been drinking a large amount every day.

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Thu 19-Jan-17 13:54:16

In terms of sustained heavy drinking (usually alcoholism), on average it takes your liver at least a month to recover for every year of drinking. So if she's been drinking heavily for 6 years, it'll take 6 months for the histology of her liver to revert to normal.

LFTs measure certain enzymes and inflammatory markers. If she had them done after a period of heavy drinking, her ALT, AST and GGT will most likely have been elevated.

LFTs are NOT conclusive. Somebody can have very severe liver damage, yet their enzymes are at normal levels. It's uncommon, but by no means rare.

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Thu 19-Jan-17 13:55:53

Most surgeries recommend a retest after 3 months, preferably remaining alcohol free in that period of time - if she continues to drink, her liver will still be inflamed when she goes for a retest, and it can skew the results.

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Thu 19-Jan-17 13:58:28

Just to add, the liver's recovery time is dependent on the extent of the damage, if any.

Draylon Thu 19-Jan-17 20:31:09

OK, thanks for that!

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