Liver Abscess

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Liver Abscess (Discharge Care) Care Guide

  • A liver abscess is a collection of pus in the liver caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites. It may occur as a single lesion or as multiple lesions of different sizes. It is commonly caused by an infection with bacteria (germs) or ameba (parasite that causes diarrhea). A bacterial liver abscess often happens after an abdominal (stomach) infection. This may include infections of the bile ducts caused by gallstones, infection in the intestines, or appendicitis. Pain on the right upper part of your abdomen, fever, and night sweats are common signs and symptoms. You may also have loss of appetite, nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up), or unplanned weight loss. Sometimes, cough, trouble breathing, or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, may be present.

  • A liver abscess may be diagnosed by blood or imaging tests that take pictures of your abdomen. These may include x-rays, liver scan, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Treatment will depend on the cause, size, and location of your liver abscess. It will also depend on whether you have a single or multiple abscesses. Medicines may be given to kill the infection and ease your symptoms. Caregivers may drain the abscess or do surgery to help remove the pus in your liver. With treatment and care, your abscess may be cured and serious problems may be prevented.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Do not drink alcohol:

Some people should not drink alcohol. These people include those with certain medical conditions or who take medicine that interacts with alcohol. Alcohol includes beer, wine, and liquor. Tell your caregiver if you drink alcohol. Ask him to help you stop drinking.

Wellness tips:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods: This may help you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

  • Drink liquids as directed: Adults should drink between 9 and 13 eight-ounce cups of liquid every day. Ask what amount is best for you. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juice, and milk.

  • Get plenty of exercise: Talk to your caregiver about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can decrease your blood pressure and improve your health.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Quitting smoking will improve your health and the health of those around you. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.

  • Manage stress: Stress may slow healing and cause illness. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing.

For more information:

A liver abscess may be a life-changing disease for you and your family. Accepting that you have a liver abscess may be hard. You and those close to you may feel angry, sad, or frightened. These feelings are normal. Talk to your caregivers, family, or friends about your feelings. Contact the following for more information:

  • American College of Gastroenterology
    6400 Goldsboro Rd., Ste 450
    Bethesda , MD 20817
    Phone: 1- 301 - 263-9000
    Web Address: http://www.gi.org
  • American Liver Foundation
    39 Broadway Suite 2700
    New York , New York 10006
    Phone: 1- 212 - 668-1000
    Phone: 1- 800 - 465-4837
    Web Address: http://www.liverfoundation.org
  • National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
    2 Information Way
    Bethesda , MD 20892-3570
    Phone: 1- 800 - 891-5389
    Web Address: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have a cough, red or swollen skin, or feel weak and achy.

  • Your skin has a rash.

  • Your wound is tender, swollen, or has pus coming from it.

  • You have questions or concerns about your liver abscess, medicine, or care.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You have vomiting or seizures (convulsions).

  • You have pain in your abdomen (stomach) or it feels fuller than normal.

  • You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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