Published On: July 6, 2020356 words1.8 min read

Question:

Hi Dr Judy,

Last week I joined Tribe Sober as I am desperate to stop drinking. I have been a binge drinker since I was about 17. I am now 37. During these years, I stopped for 6 months in my early 20s, and most recently in 2018/2019 when I was pregnant. Once my son was born, I slowly started again but before I knew it I was drinking more that I have in the last 5 years.

A few days before I joined Tribe Sober, my body was feeling so beaten up. I couldn’t eat, it was painful to swallow food and it wouldn’t go down. I was nauseous all the time, shaking, had cold sweats, and muscle and stomach pain. I just figured it was a bad hangover every day. What scared me though, was that I developed little skin blotches on my stomach, back and thighs.

So my question is: could this be a sign of liver damage and should it be checked out? I have been sober for 5 days now. All the above symptoms, except the blotching, have subsided. Also, besides stopping the alcohol and eating a healthy plant-based diet, is there anything else that I can do take to speed up the healing process?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Xx
Thanks.

 

Answer:

Congratulations on giving up the booze. It is such a dangerous drug and it damages all our organs, especially the liver, as the liver has to break down the alcohol.
The best way to check for liver damage is to go for a liver stiffness test. Most big centers offer them now. Ask your GP where you could get this. Liver function tests are not accurate and only become abnormal at end stage liver disease.
The pancreas is another organ that becomes damaged, especially with binge drinking. Some of your symptoms can be explained by this. However, severe abdominal pain is the main symptom of pancreatitis.
The skin blotches sounds like an allergic response to me. Hopefully that will subside with time.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Best wishes,
Dr Judy

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