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Liver Diseases: 9 Factors Why Liver Inflammation And Hepatitis Are Common in Women

Women are more prone to develop autoimmune disorders than males. Keeping up a healthy lifestyle that combines a balanced diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep, for example, can assist to prevent fatty liver.

Published: August 9, 2023 8:12 AM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Tanya Garg

Liver Diseases in Women
Liver Diseases: 9 Factors Why Liver Inflammation And Hepatitis Are Common in Women

The liver removes toxins, modifies hormone levels, creates proteins, and produces bile, which aids in the absorption of fats, reserves sugar for times when you really need it, and helps you absorb fats. The liver is the only organ that has the ability to heal itself, however, certain illnesses can harm the organ irreparably or partially. Liver ailments are caused by many different things, but certain of them are more likely to affect women than males. Did you know that particular lifestyle choices and genetic factors increase this risk? Autoimmune-related hepatitis and liver inflammation may affect women more frequently. The following are some other reasons and risk factors that might impact more women.

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  1. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): Although women might be at a lower risk of developing NAFLD, they are definitely more susceptible to being affected by its severity or liver fibrosis after developing it. Factors like morbid obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and a lack of prioritisation of health contribute to this condition. NAFLD is one of the leading causes of liver disease in both males and females. It is most commonly found to be associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.
  2. Autoimmune Hepatitis: This is a chronic condition in which our body’s immune system mistakenly attacks liver cells, leading to inflammation and liver damage. Autoimmune hepatitis is more common in females than males.
  3. Viral Hepatitis: Hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, can cause liver inflammation and disease. While viral hepatitis affects all genders, some studies suggest that women may be more susceptible to certain types, such as hepatitis E.
  4. Alcoholic Liver Disease: Excessive alcohol consumption potentially leads to liver damage, inflammation, and cirrhosis. Although alcohol-related liver disease is more common in males, women may be more susceptible to alcohol-related liver damage due to differences in alcohol metabolism and body composition.
  5. Drug-Induced Liver Injury: Certain medicines and toxins can cause liver damage. Women may be at higher risk due to hormonal misbalance. Some medications, such as oral contraceptive pills, can affect liver function significantly. Some alternative medicines are also known to cause acute liver failure.
  6. Pregnancy-Related Liver Disorders: Some liver conditions are specific to pregnancy, such as Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) and HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, and Low Platelet Count). These conditions can cause liver dysfunction and require medical attention.
  7. Wilson Disease: This rare genetic disorder affects copper metabolism and can lead to copper build-up in the liver and other organs. Wilson disease affects both genders but may present differently in females due to hormonal influences.
  8. Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC): PBC is also an autoimmune condition that primarily affects the bile ducts in the liver. It is more commonly seen in middle-aged women.
  9. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC): PSC is a chronic liver disease characterised by inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts. It affects both genders, but men are more commonly affected.

Choose a healthy lifestyle, eat more fibre, add adequate protein to your diet, and manage your stress levels. As far as women’s health is concerned, more awareness needs to be spread in this regard, especially in rural and semi-urban areas of society.

(With inputs from Dr Ankur Garg, HOD and Senior Consultant, HPB Surgery and Liver Transplant, Sanar International Hospitals)

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