It's normal to have fats in your liver, but it should not be more than 5% -10%. If you have more than 10% fat in your liver, this usually refers to a situation called "fatty liver" or "steatosis". The good thing is that fatty liver usually doesn't cause any permanent damage and you usually recover without any treatment, but how long to reverse fatty liver is something that depends on a number of factors actually. Keep reading to learn how long it takes your fatty liver to recover in different situations.
How Long for Liver to Recover
How long to reverse fatty liver? There's no clear answer because the recovery time varies a lot. Under normal circumstances, your liver will recover in 4 weeks or so. You need to ensure that you stop drinking after you've been diagnosed with steatosis. You don't usually notice serious symptoms even if you have a fatty liver, but it may sometimes turn into hepatitis, fibrosis or even cirrhosis. The progression may take 10-15 years, but it is still a good idea to take some steps to reverse and shorten alcoholic fatty liver recovery time.
"You need to understand that your condition has not developed overnight. You may have a fatty liver due to years of drinking, so you're not going to recover overnight either. If you take some initiatives, you may recover in a month or so. I was diagnosed with this condition due to obesity and unbalanced diet, and I am not totally clean even after 3 months. Quite interestingly, you're likely to recover faster if your fatty liver is the outcome of heavy drinking – it usually takes longer if your condition has developed due to other issues. "
"I started to limit alcohol intake 3 months ago and one day when I noticed my tummy go down so quickly because when I completely stop drinking alcohol, I was almost skinny. Besides, due to the fatty liver, I seldom dare to sleep on my right side, but I can spend half night sleep on my right side, which also happens about the 3 month-mark."
Know Your Fatty Liver Type
How long for liver to recover also depends on its type and severity. It is therefore important to determine your fatty liver type and condition to accelerate recovery.
1. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver
This condition develops when your liver cannot break down fats the way it would normally do. It means the fats will start accumulating in the liver tissue and may cause certain symptoms. It is detectable only when your liver fat is 10% or more.
2. Alcoholic Fatty Liver
It's usually considered the first stage of alcohol-related liver disease. Heavy drinking damages your liver and prevents it from breaking down fats efficiently enough, which will increase fat in your liver. Simply abstaining from alcohol will resolve the issue in about 6 weeks or so.
3. Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis
Sometimes, your liver will swell after fat buildup, which could be due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The condition will impair your liver and produce symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting and yellowing of the skin.
4. Acute Fatty Liver During Pregnancy
You may notice this complication during pregnancy and experience symptoms in the third trimester. The symptoms include vomiting, jaundice, nausea, pain in your upper-right abdomen and general malaise. You will, however, recover after delivery.
How to Reverse Fatty Liver
It is definitely important to know how long for liver to recover after steatosis, but it is equally important to take some steps to reverse this condition in the shortest time possible.
1. Avoid Drinking
You need to quit drinking – remember, limiting what you drink won't help. If you have already developed cirrhosis or even alcoholic hepatitis, cutting down alcohol intake only slows the rate of damage, which means your liver continues to deteriorate.
2. Stop Smoking
When you smoke, you inhale many toxics, which have to be processed by your liver. If you do not stop smoking, you may worsen your situation and even speed up the liver scarring.
3. Exercise Regularly
Just exercising half an hour daily will reduce your chances of developing liver cancer, even if you have a history of heavy drinking. It also boosts your immune function and keeps you from dealing with obesity.
4. Mind Your Medications
You should avoid using medicines without your doctor's advice. Overusing OTCs will lead to liver damage because they may interact with any other medications you may be using. Avoid acetaminophen as much as possible – you may think that it's okay to take some Nyquil or Tylenol to deal with general cold, but this will put serious pressure on your liver.
5. Lose Weight
Your fatty liver could be the outcome of you being overweight. Simple lifestyle adjustments will help reduce your body weight. Doing anything that would lead to 7% reduction in your body weight over a one-year period will save you from dealing with this liver disease.
6. Maintain a Healthy Diet
It is important to stay active and exercise to lose weight, but it is equally important to maintain a balanced diet for better results. You need to eat something that contains carbohydrates – you can opt for bread, potatoes and pasta. It is equally important to eat little protein to give your liver more rest to recover. Taking vitamins such as B-complex will also help, especially if you have alcoholic liver disease. Similarly, limiting the amount of salt in your diet will help. Also, avoid raw seafood and anything with high hepatic load, such as food with colors, preservatives and flavoring agents.