What is Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring of the liver. Each time your liver is damaged, it tries to repair itself. But in the process, scars are formed. The more scar tissues form, the more difficult it is for the liver to function.

Make an appointment

To make an appointment or to request more information, talk to our consultants at The Liver Centre WA: (08) 6163 2800

Cirrhosis Causes

Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver. The major causes are:

  • alcohol abuse
  • viral infections caused by chronic viral hepatitis (B, C and D)
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • auto-immune diseases damaging the bile ducts
  • inherited metabolic diseases


When signs and symptoms occur they may include:

  • fatigue
  • bruising and bleeding easily
  • itchy skin
  • yellow discoloration in the skin
  • loss of appetite
  • swelling in your legs
  • weight loss
  • vomiting blood (haematemesis)
  • accumulation of fluid in the abdomen (ascitis)
  • confusion (encephalopathy)

When your liver function decreases, fewer proteins such as albumin are produced. This results in fluid accumulation in the abdomen or legs. You may bleed and bruise easily due to a decrease in proteins.


Specialists diagnose cirrhosis based on:

  • identifiable symptoms
  • laboratory tests (liver blood tests)
  • Other Imaging tests like MRI, CT, ultrasound
  • Biopsy to measure the severity

Cirrhosis Treatment

Treatment will depend on the severity and cause. The goal is to delay the progression of scar tissue in the liver and avoid occurrence of complications.

In early stages it may be possible to minimise damage to the liver by treating the cause. People with cirrhosis caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may become healthier if they control their blood sugar levels and lose weight. If your condition is caused by alcohol, you must stop drinking. Hepatitis medications may control damage to liver cells caused by Hep B or C. In advanced cases, when the liver stops functioning, a liver transplant may be the only treatment option.

Cirrhosis Complications

Complications may include:

  • high blood pressure in the veins that supply the liver (portal hypertension)
  • swelling in the legs and accumulation of fluid in the abdomen (ascitis)
  • bleeding of varices of the oesophagus
  • enlargement of the spleen
  • infections
  • jaundice
  • gallstones and bile duct stones
  • buildup of toxins affecting the brain (encephalopathy)
  • increased risk of liver cancer
  • other

Prepare your appointment

  • Write down your symptoms including when they started
  • Take a list of all your medications and write down your key medical information
  • Done a medical test? Bring your results

The Liver Centre WA offers a complete service from diagnosis, assessment and definitive management of all upper gastrointestinal problems surrounding the liver. Call us: 08 6163 2800.

Make an Appointment



  • (08) 6163 2800

We’re located at
McCourt Street Medical Centre
1st Floor, Suite 10, 2 McCourt Street
West Leederville WA 6007

We also operate from
Northam Hospital Health Service
Outpatients Clinic, Robinson Street
Northam WA 6401

patient education

inguinal hernia


There are many online resources. We have collected some useful links for you.

Cirrhosis on Wikipedia
Cirrhosis animation on YouTube
What is Liver Function?
What is Liver Pain?