Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver that happens because of chronic liver disease. Scar tissue blocks blood and bile flow through the liver and keeps it from working as it should.
As the largest internal organ in the body, the liver performs many vital tasks. For example, it gets rid of or neutralizes toxins, such as poisons, germs, and bacteria, in the blood and controls infection. The liver makes proteins that regulate blood clotting. It also produces bile that helps your body absorb the fats and fat-soluble vitamins it needs to stay healthy.
You cannot undo the damage from cirrhosis, but it progresses slowly. So early treatment can help prevent more damage. As liver function gets worse, you may experience fatigue, weight loss, swelling in your legs and abdomen, and jaundice. If the disease is severe enough, it can be fatal.
The most common causes of cirrhosis in the United States are:
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of cirrhosis can range from no symptoms to outright liver failure. The most common symptoms include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite, weight loss, and nausea
- Small, red, spider-like blood vessels under the skin
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes, or jaundice
- Redness of the palms of the hands (palmar erythema)
- Swelling of the belly caused by fluid retention (ascites)
- Swelling of the legs, feet, and back caused by fluid buildup (edema)
- Whole body itching (pruritus)
- Mental confusion caused by a buildup of toxins in the blood
- Vomiting blood from enlarged veins in the esophagus due to portal hypertension
The most common cause of liver disease in the United States is alcohol abuse. Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis almost always causes liver damage, although not always cirrhosis. Drinking 32 to 48 oz. of beer, 4 to 8 oz. of liquor, or 16 to 32 oz. of wine every day for 10 to 15 years or longer greatly increases your chances of developing cirrhosis. How much alcohol you drink, how often, and for how many years are more important than what kind of alcohol you drink.
Other causes of cirrhosis include:
- Chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection
- Inherited diseases, such as cystic fibrosis
- Autoimmune inflammation of the liver, when the body's own immune system attacks the liver
- Blocked bile ducts
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), where inflammation and fat deposits build up in the liver and cause scar tissue to form
- Metabolic disorders of iron (hemochromatosis) and copper (Wilson's disease)
- Medications or exposure to toxic substances
Women can develop liver disease even though they may drink less than men. Being overweight may also raise your chances of developing alcoholic liver disease because of fatty deposits in the liver. Other risk factors include:
- Inherited diseases, such as hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease
- Certain medical conditions, such as HIV
- Chronic hepatitis B or C infection
- Male gender
Your doctor will take a detailed history to determine the cause of your liver disease, and to see if your symptoms might be related to something else. Then your doctor will examine you closely for signs of liver disease, including yellowing (jaundice) of your eyes and skin, red spider-like blood vessels just under the surface of your skin, and redness of your palms.
Your doctor will press on your abdomen to feel the size of your liver. In the early stages of liver disease, the liver may be enlarged and firm, but it shrinks as scar tissue forms.
Your doctor may order other tests, such as blood tests to look for certain liver enzymes, a bilirubin test, an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, or a liver biopsy.
Drink alcohol only in moderation.
Take precautions to avoid getting hepatitis B and C, such as being careful if you are exposed to blood or blood products, practicing safe sex, and getting the hepatitis B vaccine.
See your doctor regularly if you have chronic hepatitis.
Cirrhosis cannot be cured. But you can slow down the progression. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Your doctor will also treat complications. In some cases a liver transplant may be needed.
If you have cirrhosis from any cause, it is vital to not drink any alcohol to prevent further damage to the liver. If your cirrhosis is caused by alcoholism, your doctor may suggest Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a good place to start your rehabilitation.
You will also need to stop taking medications that may cause liver damage. For example, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver damage if you take large doses or if you regularly drink alcohol and take acetaminophen. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or Aleve, and ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil, can also damage the liver, as can some herbs and supplements. If you have liver disease, DO NOT take any over-the-counter medication, herbs, or supplements without checking with your doctor first.
You may need to make changes in your diet to treat complications of cirrhosis, such as lowering salt intake.
Medications can treat complications, such as bleeding from veins, infections in fluid accumulated in the abdomen, and damage to the brain (encephalopathy) caused by toxins circulating in the blood.
- Blood pressure medications (beta-blockers). To help lower blood pressure in the portal vein (portal hypertension), which brings blood to the liver from the intestine. Beta-blockers include propranolol (Inderal) and nadolol (Corgard).
- Sandostatin. May be given to stop bleeding vessels in the esophagus or stomach by causing blood vessels to narrow.
- Diuretics (water pills). To help reduce the amount of fluid in your abdomen or legs. Diuretics include spironolactone (Aldactone) and furosemide (Lasix).
- Lactulose. Given for brain and nervous system damage caused by a buildup of ammonia in the blood (hepatic encephalopathy). A damaged liver may not be able to clean the blood of ammonia. Lactulose, a synthetic sugar, can help stop your intestines from creating ammonia.
- Antibiotics. Given to lower infection rates, minimize bleeding, and improve survival.
Surgery and Other Procedures
You may need a liver biopsy to determine the cause of cirrhosis, and to check how much liver damage has occurred. Generally a liver biopsy involves inserting a needle through the abdominal wall to the liver to get tissue samples.
Surgery may be required to stop and prevent certain complications of cirrhosis:
- Endoscopic procedures to stop bleeding from blood vessels in the esophagus
- Placing a shunt to reroute blood from the liver, to lower portal hypertension
- Draining fluid from the abdomen (paracentesis)
- Liver transplant
Nutrition and Dietary Supplements
Malnutrition is often a problem for people with cirrhosis. One of the liver's important functions is to help convert food into stored energy, as well as to rid the body of toxins. For these reasons, eating a healthy diet is an important part of treatment for cirrhosis. You should be eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Your doctor may also talk with you about proper protein balance, and limiting your fluid and salt intake.
High-quality dietary protein may be particularly important for you if you have buildup of fluid in the abdomen or swelling of the feet, legs, or back. Protein also helps repair muscle mass. But too much protein can raise ammonia levels and trigger hepatic encephalopathy. In general, your doctor needs to determine how much protein is right for you. Your doctor may recommend eating vegetable protein such as soy, instead of animal protein.
If you have fluid retention, you may need to eat less sodium since salt encourages the body to retain water. In addition to passing up the salt shaker, avoid foods high in salt, including processed and prepared foods, such as canned meats, soups, and vegetables, crackers, and cold cuts. Eat good amounts of fresh foods because they contain very little sodium. Instead of adding salt to your food, try lemon juice or black pepper for flavor.
Avoid raw shellfish, which may carry a bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus that can be dangerous to people with cirrhosis. If you are not sure how well shellfish is cooked, do not eat it.
It is very important that you talk to your doctor before taking any supplement if you have liver disease, including the following:
- Antioxidants. Preliminary evidence suggests that antioxidants, including vitamin E and selenium, might help in treating primary biliary cirrhosis, a condition in which the bile ducts of the liver are slowly destroyed. However, a later double-blind, placebo-controlled study found no benefit from a combination of vitamins A, C, E, plus selenium, methionine, and co-enzyme Q10. While there is no evidence that taking these supplements will help, you can boost the amount of antioxidants you get by eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Vitamin E. Preliminary evidence suggests that vitamin E, an antioxidant, may help some people with NASH. In the study, people with NASH received either 800 IU of a specific kind of vitamin E, the diabetes drug pioglitazone (Actos), or placebo. Of the people who took vitamin E, 43% showed improvement in all features of NASH except cirrhosis. More research is needed. You should not take vitamin E for NASH without your doctor's supervision.
- Betaine. Betaine is a nutrient that reduces homocysteine levels in the body, which are associated with heart disease and are higher in people with liver disease. Preliminary studies suggest that betaine might be helpful in treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcohol-induced cirrhosis. In one study, 10 people with fatty liver disease took betaine for up to 1 year and had better liver function tests and a reduced amount of fat and other changes in the liver itself. More research is needed, so ask your doctor before taking betaine.
- S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe, a naturally-occurring antioxidant that is involved in many chemical processes in the body, is best known for its antidepressant effects. But it is also involved in the processes of the liver. People with liver disease have low levels of SAMe, and this may in turn lead to low levels of glutathione, a substance that helps the liver rid the body of toxins. Several studies show that taking SAMe may reduce symptoms of liver disease and normalize bilirubin and liver enzyme levels. However, most of the studies have been small and some have used intravenous (IV) SAMe. More studies are needed to determine what benefits SAMe might provide. SAMe interacts with a number of medications, including prescription antidepressants. So ask your doctor before taking SAMe.
- Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs, which are involved in synthesizing protein in the body, have shown promise in treating hepatic encephalopathy, a brain disorder caused by a buildup of toxins in the blood. Some studies suggest that taking BCAAs can help people with chronic hepatic encephalopathy improve liver function tests and motor ability. However, not all studies show a benefit. Ask your doctor before trying BCAAs.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, like medications, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should never take herbs or supplements unless expressly approved by their physicians.
People with liver disease must be particularly careful because the liver processes almost everything you take. For these reasons, you should take herbs with extreme care, and only under the supervision of your doctor.
Bupleurum ( Bupleurum chinense ). The Chinese herb Bupleurum has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used historically to treat liver disorders. In one study, a formulation that contained Bupleurum appeared to reduce the risk of liver cancer in people with cirrhosis. Bupleurum is not appropriate for pregnant women, people who have bleeding disorders, autoimmune disease, diabetes, or people who will be undergoing surgery.
Licorice root ( Glycyrrhiza glabra ) Licorice root has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses, including liver disease. Some preliminary data from Japanese researchers suggests that taking glycyrrhizin (an active component of licorice root) along with cysteine and glycerine might help reduce the risk of cirrhosis if you have hepatitis C. However, the formula was delivered intravenously (IV). It is not known whether taking these substances by mouth would have any effect. More studies are needed. People with high blood pressure or those who take steroids, hormonal medications, digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics (water pills), or blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), should not take licorice. Pregnant women and people with a history of hormone-related cancer should avoid licorice. Men with a history of libido problems or erectile dysfunction should use caution when taking licorice, as should anyone who has issues with their potassium levels. Speak with your doctor.
Milk thistle ( Silybum marianum , standardized to 70 to 80% silymarin). Milk thistle contains components that may have estrogen-like effects in the body. So people with a history of hormone-sensitive conditions should use milk thistle with caution. People with ragweed allergies may be more likely than others to be allergic to milk thistle. The herb has been used since Greco-Roman times to treat liver problems. Several scientific studies lend support to this traditional use. They suggest that a substance in milk thistle (silymarin) can protect the liver from damage caused by viruses, toxins, alcohol, and certain drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). However, the evidence is stronger for some conditions than others:
- Studies are mixed as to whether milk thistle improves liver function tests or the death rate for people with alcohol-induced cirrhosis.
- Studies are also mixed as to whether milk thistle improves liver function tests or quality of life for people with chronic active hepatitis B or C.
- Milk thistle may reduce liver damage caused by mushroom poisoning (due to Amanita phalloides, or death's cap mushroom).
- Milk thistle may help protect the liver against damage from exposure to industrial toxins.
- In a comprehensive review of studies on milk thistle by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), milk thistle improved liver function in people with mild liver disease, but was less effective for those with severe liver disease, such as cirrhosis.
- People with ragweed allergies may also be allergic to milk thistle.
Cordyceps ( Cordyceps sinensis ). A type of mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine to support the liver. Preliminary studies suggest it may help improve liver and immune system function in people with hepatitis B.
Although few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic therapies, professional homeopaths may consider remedies based on their knowledge and experience for reducing the physical addiction to alcohol and to help treat hepatitis. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type, includes your physical, emotional, and psychological makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate treatment for each individual.
Remedies that may be recommended for alcoholism include:
- Nux vomica
- Carduus marianus
Remedies that may be recommended for hepatitis include:
If you have cirrhosis, your doctor will use caution when prescribing medications because many medicines cause complications in people with liver disease.
Talk to your doctor before taking any herb or supplement if you have liver disease. Certain herbs and supplements are known to harm the liver or cause complications that affect people with liver disease, including.
- Kava kava. An herb used for anxiety and tension. It can be toxic to the liver and cause severe hepatitis and even liver failure in high doses.
- Vitamin A. In high doses it can be toxic to the liver.
- Mistletoe ( Phoradendron leucarpum ).
- Germander ( Teucrium chamaedrys ).
- European barberry ( Berberis vulgaris ).
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use milk thistle or licorice.
Prognosis and Complications
Complications from cirrhosis include:
- Portal hypertension, which is the buildup of pressure in the large vein supplying blood to the liver
- Bleeding esophageal varices, enlarged veins at the lower end of the esophagus that have a tendency to bleed (caused by portal hypertension)
- Hepatic encephalopathy (a brain disorder caused by buildup of toxins), which causes forgetfulness and mental confusion; may lead to coma
- Ascites, or abdominal fluid retention, and bacterial peritonitis (infection of the fluid)
- Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening immune system reaction to widespread infection that has spread to the bloodstream
- Liver cancer
- Kidney failure
- Insulin resistance
- Bacterial infections
Cirrhosis can be serious and life threatening, especially if you continue to drink alcohol. The outcome of cirrhosis depends on the stage. The good news is that with proper diet, medical management, and avoidance of alcohol, you can drastically slow down the rate of progression of liver damage.
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Alternative medicines entail a longer treatment and healing time as they heal the problem at its root. They also require you to have an active role in the healing process. Not useful in emergency cases. In case of an emergency, alternative medicines won't do you much good.What is the problem of alternative medicine? ›
Some concerns include: Delaying surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other traditional treatment by using an alternative therapy can allow the cancer to grow and spread to other parts of the body. Some complementary and alternative therapies have been reported to cause serious problems or even deaths.What to do when a patient wants alternative medicine? ›
- Do ask, they'll tell. The first and the most important point is asking patients if they are using herbs or natural health products or visiting an alternative practitioner. ...
- Explain the science.
There are two beliefs that prevent people from trying alternative medicine: Some people simply don't believe in the power of nature, or indeed respecting nature, their bodies, and the connectedness between all things.Why is alternative medicine not covered by insurance? ›
Acupuncture, chiropractic care and massage therapy have one thing in common: They may not be covered by insurance. That's because they may be looked at as alternative treatments, not part of conventional medical care. Alternative medicine goes under many names.What is the most popular form of alternative medicine? ›
Herbal therapy is considered to be the most popular alternative therapy used in the United States. It is used for many conditions. Manual healing methods. Practitioners use touch and manipulation to promote and improve health.Who uses alternative medicine most? ›
The majority of studies thus report that women are more likely than men to use CAM, and this has been found in national surveys in both the UK (1) and US (101). For example in one US study 39% of women and 31% of men had used CAM in the past year.Why do people turn to alternative medicine? ›
People seek out these alternatives because (1) they are dissatisfied in some way with conventional treatment; (2) they see alternative treatments as offering more personal autonomy and control over health care decisions; and (3) the alternatives are seen as more compatible with the patients' values, worldview, or ...How important is alternative medicine? ›
Alternative medicine has helped people for hundreds of years and will continue to help people for years to come. Prices for modern medicine are skyrocketing and there are countless cases of people finding help and relief from alternative medicine.Is alternative medicine scientifically proven? ›
There is a general scientific consensus that alternative therapies lack the requisite scientific validation, and their effectiveness is either unproved or disproved.
Homeopathy is the oldest form of complementary and alternative medicine developed in Europe. Founded by Samuel Hahnemann, it was first practiced in Germany at the end of the 18th century.What are the best natural drugs? ›
- CANNABIS. “Good ol' ganja” is the world's most notorious plant. ...
- PEYOTE. “The Glistening Cactus” - promises an illuminating dream-like state when ingested. ...
- OPIUM. In the river valleys of the first human civilisations, lies the infamous Poppy flower. ...
- AYAHUASCA. ...
- MAD HONEY. ...
Treatments that are used instead of standard treatments. Standard treatments are based on the results of scientific research and are currently accepted and widely used. Less research has been done for most types of alternative medicine.Do doctors like alternative medicine? ›
The majority of medical doctors are quite dismissive of alternative medicine, and many doctors are positively hostile towards it. Doctors say publicly that this is because there is no scientific proof that alternative medicine actually works.What religion believes in no medicine? ›
Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusion. Christian Scientists refuse most medical treatment. Instead they rely on the healing prayers of Christian Scientist Practitioners. The Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Altoona, PA believes that disease is caused by the devil.What religion believes in not taking medicine? ›
By far the largest denomination with objections to medical care is the Jehovah's Witnesses with millions of members.Does Medicare pay for alternative medicine? ›
Medicare doesn't cover alternative therapies or natural medicines. So, those using medical marijuana or CBD can expect to pay out-of-pocket. On the other hand, some therapies like chiropractic care may have coverage.What percent of Americans use alternative medicine? ›
Approximately 38 percent of adults in the United States aged 18 years and over and nearly 12 percent of U.S. children aged 17 and under use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a new nationwide government survey1.What are the dangers in using herbal medicine? ›
Herbal medications can mistakenly be perceived as safe because they are natural products. They may produce negative effects such as allergic reactions, rashes, asthma, headaches, dizziness, agitation, dry mouth, seizures, fatigue, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.Is holistic and alternative medicine the same? ›
In fact, alternative medicine and complementary medicine are different and holistic medicine is a term which tends to embrace the larger definition of a system of treatment and practitioners who do not work within the system of conventional medicine.
Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (mainstream) therapies. Some people also refer to it as “integrative,” or “complementary” medicine.Which is better modern medicine or alternative medicine? ›
Alternative medicines may seem more effective but they may have some side effects too due to their fixed dosage quantities and a specific chemical formula while traditional medicines seem to have zero side effects because they won't have any chemical interaction and they are purely made from herbs.Which country is best for herbal medicine? ›
Also, China, Japan, and India were found to be the top Corresponding Author's Countries for researches on traditional herbal medicine, as Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences and China Medical University were top affiliations.Does holistic medicine work? ›
In fact, holistic care focused on prevention and wellness has been shown to help patients manage their own health more effectively. Many types of holistic medicine techniques are unlikely to cause harm—however, delaying treatment in an attempt to self medicate with these methods alone can be dangerous.How does alternative medicine work? ›
It incorporates treatments including yoga, meditation, massage, diet and herbs; Homeopathy uses minute doses of a substance that causes symptoms to stimulate the body's self-healing response. Naturopathy focuses on non-invasive treatments to help your body do its own healing.Who is the father of alternative medicine? ›
Natural or holistic medicine has been around for over 5,000 years. Hippocrates, who is considered the Father of Modern Medicine, emphasized a holistic approach to medicine, warning doctors not to interfere with the body's ability to heal itself, as well as to treat the body as a whole – mind, body and spirit.What percentage of people believe in alternative medicine? ›
Younger people were more likely to believe in “natural” or alternative therapies, the survey found. It showed that 47 percent of people aged 18-37 and 44 percent of people 38-53 believed in alternative medicine, compared to 21 percent of people 72 and older.Who is the number one medicine in the world? ›
1. Michael Joseph Jackson: Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, India, on August 29, 1958, and died in Los Angeles, California, on June 25, 2009. He was a songwriter, singer, and dancer, among other things.What does alternative medicine focus on? ›
Complementary and alternative medicine includes practices such as massage, acupuncture, tai chi, and drinking green tea. Integrative medicine is an approach to medical care that combines conventional medicine with CAM practices that have shown through science to be safe and effective.Is Chinese medicine an alternative medicine? ›
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an alternative medical practice drawn from traditional medicine in China. It has been described as "fraught with pseudoscience", with the majority of its treatments having no logical mechanism of action.
Homeopathy, also known as homeopathic medicine, is a medical system that was developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. It's based on two unconventional theories: “Like cures like”—the notion that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people.What is a holistic doctor called? ›
Naturopathic physicians: These are also called naturopathic doctors (ND) or doctors of naturopathic medicine (NMD). They usually attend an accredited four-year, graduate-level school.How long has holistic healing been around? ›
The history of holistic medicine goes back 5,000 years ago before medicinal treatments came into the picture.What is the most potent natural drug? ›
1. Berberine. Berberine is a bioactive substance extracted from certain plants. It isn't well known but may be one of the most powerful supplements on Earth.What herbs help nerve regeneration? ›
Herbs that are in the “nervine” category can be very nourishing and soothing to the nerve tissue. Among the best are Chinese skullcap, lemon balm, wood betony, St. John's wort, chamomile, prickly ash and milky oats.What is the 10 Herbal medicine? ›
Ten medicinal plants have been endorsed by the DOH-PITAHC, after they have been scientifically validated to ensure safety and efficacy. These are Acapulco, Ampalaya (Makiling variety), Lagundi (five leaflets), Bawang, Bayabas, Sambong, Niyug-niyogan, Tsaang-gubat, Yerba Buena, and Ulasimang bato (pansit-pansitan).What is one way alternative medicine is different from regular medicine? ›
Unlike prescription or over-the-counter drugs that may contain purified ingredients from plants, herbal medicines contain entire plants or plant parts. Some studies have shown the efficacy of certain herbs as treatment for allergies, chronic fatigue, and premenstrual syndrome.What are the disadvantages of complementary and alternative medicine? ›
Disadvantages of complementary and alternative medicine
Although CAMs may seem more natural and holistic than most conventional medicine, CAMs can also cause side-effects, are often not effective in treating symptoms, and often don't have any effect on your underlying illness.
The benefits of medicines are the helpful effects you get when you use them, such as lowering blood pressure, curing infection, or relieving pain. The risks of medicines are the chances that something unwanted or unexpected could happen to you when you use them.Is alternative medicine better than modern medicine? ›
Alternative medicines may seem more effective but they may have some side effects too due to their fixed dosage quantities and a specific chemical formula while traditional medicines seem to have zero side effects because they won't have any chemical interaction and they are purely made from herbs.
Complementary medicines can have side effects. They can also interact with prescription medicines, alcohol and other drugs, and other complementary medicines to cause side effects.How safe is complementary and alternative medicine? ›
The Safety of CAM. Some CAM therapies have undergone careful evaluation and have been found to be generally safe and effective. These include acupuncture, yoga, and meditation to name a few. However, there are others that do not work, may be harmful, or could interact negatively with your medicines.What is another word for alternative medicine? ›
- faith healing.
- folk medicine.
- holistic medicine.
- natural medicine.
- unconventional medicine.
- unorthodox medicine.
Herbal medications can mistakenly be perceived as safe because they are natural products. They may produce negative effects such as allergic reactions, rashes, asthma, headaches, dizziness, agitation, dry mouth, seizures, fatigue, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe side effects have also been reported.How can I reduce the side effects of medicine naturally? ›
- Ask your doctor if you can take the medicine with food.
- Eat several smaller meals a day rather than two or three large meals.
- Try peppermint candy or gum. Peppermint can help settle your stomach.
- Eat bland foods, such as dry crackers or plain bread. Avoid fried, greasy, sweet, and spicy foods.
The benefits of self-medication include increased access to treatment, increased patient involvement in their own health care, economical choices, and evidence of cost-effectiveness compared to prescription treatments in some situations.What is the difference between holistic and alternative medicine? ›
What mainly distinguishes holistic healing apart from complementary medicine, alternative medicine, and integrative medicine are that physical health is not necessarily the primary focus. However, it is often the experience of physical discomfort that will first prompt a person's pursuit of holistic healing.