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What Are Liver Cysts?

No one is exactly sure what causes liver cysts, but what doctors do know is that they are thin, walled bubbles that appear in the liver that may or may not always be filled with fluid. However, cysts do often grow to the point where they cause discomfort or outright pain that’s felt on the upper right side of the abdomen. Liver cysts at the point are not dangerous, just painful, but if the cyst gets infected or begins to obstruct the bile ducts, they become very serious. They may also cause the liver to enlarge, which can cause other problems.

Causes of Liver Cysts

Even thou doctors aren’t certain what causes liver cysts to form, they do know that there are a few different types of cysts that do have definite causes. Choledochal cysts, for example, are present at birth. These are congenital abnormalities that appear in the bile duct. Caroli’s disease is another issue that can cause recurring inflammation of the bile ducts. This disease can also be caused by dilation of the intrahepatic bile duct or by kidney stone formation. Finally, congenital hepatic fibrosis, which is a very rare hereditary disorder, actually results in scar tissue forming within the liver or the bile ducts forming in an irregular shape.

There are other causes of liver cysts that are not related to these three, but doctors are not yet certain what they are.

Three Types of Liver Cysts

There are three different types of liver cysts that people have to deal with. One is hydatid cycsts. These are caused by parasites that enter the digestive tract. Most often, this parasite is Echinococcus granulosus. It’s common on farms that raise cattle and sheep.

Then there’s the hepatic or simple cyst. This is a small cyst that often doesn’t cause any major health risk or even hurt that much. However, if it gets larger, it will become an issue.

Finally, there is what’s called a neoplastic cyst or cystadenocarcinoma or cystadenoma. This type of cyst is most often found in women who are over 50.

One way of preventing these cysts from forming is to eat a balanced diet, exercise, and try to stay away from junk food, alcohol, and smoking. 

A Good Diet

What should you eat if you’re trying to prevent cysts from forming? One thing to do is to avoid fatty foods. That’s because the liver doesn’t work as well as you get older, and fatty foods are likely to cause issues. 

You also need to watch how much meat you’re eating and keep the sugar, fried foods, and dairy to a minimum. Adding an acai berry supplement, which studies have backed as having some health benefits, may also be a good idea.  As always, talk to your doctor first before making major dietary changes.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.