What are the Signs and Symptoms of Liver Problems in Children?

Liver problems

are as prevalent in children as they are in adults. As parents, it is often useful to have some knowledge about the symptoms which indicate a liver disease in children. This helps to detect any serious ailment right at its onset. This is even more important because problems of the discussed organ, if not diagnosed and detected early could even prove fatal.


What are the signs and symptoms of liver problems in children?

  • Jaundice

    – It is a condition in which a substance called Bilirubin is built up in the body. Bilirubin is actually a byproduct of the metabolic process carried out by the organ. The liver breaks down old and inefficient red blood cells in a process known as Hemolysis. This releases bilirubin into the blood stream. If it is not functioning properly, then either too much bilirubin is secreted in the blood stream or it is secreted too fast. When excess bilirubin builds up in the body it causes jaundice. This condition is charaterized by the yellowing of skin and eyes, dark yellowish to brown urine and lightening of the stool color.

  • Abdominal Pain

    – It is also a common symptom of infection and problem in the talked about organ.

  • Skin Rashes

    – Something as innocuous as a skin rash can also indicate problems of the liver. Rashes and itchy skin is a common side effect of having excess bile in the blood stream. This condition is called “pruritus”.

  • Hepatomegaly

    – Detected even with a physical examination of the abdomen, this symptom would indicate an enlargement of the liver and spleen.

  • Ascites

    – This is also caused by liver disease and is the retention of fluids in the abdomen causing it to swell, bloat and block the blood supply to the portal vein of the liver.

  • Gastrointestinal Bleeding

    – Any problems of the said organ could cause pressure to be built up in the portal vein which causes bleeding in the gastric passages and intestine. Finding traces of blood in vomit or having dark tar like stools is a positive signal of gastrointestinal bleeding. This condition ranks high in the severity index and screams out for emergency medical intervention.

  • Encephalopathy

    – Neurological symptoms like confusion, delirium, coma also are severe enough to warrant immediate medical attention. This indicates the build up of toxins in the body which the liver is incapable of flushing them out of the system.

  • Fever

    – Body temperature over 100.4ºF indicates infection.

  • Fatty stools

    – Fat when eliminated with stools and generally floats like a thin layer of fat over the feces could indicate a fat absorption disorder of the discussed organ.

  • Malnutrition

    – Poor growth and development of the child because the liver cannot absorb the fat properly. Fat soluble vitamins too cannot be absorbed by the body leading to vitamin and nutrient deficiency. Loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, weakness and weight loss are also very evident in this situation.

  • Poor bone health

    Liver problems

    cause low bone density (loss of tissue in the bone). Liver disease is a cause of rickets in children. Children having rickets have ribs sticking out from under the skin and have abnormal tweaking of the bones in the legs. The later condition is also known as being bowlegged.

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