Diminution in the size of the liver is by no means so common an affection as enlargement of this organ. The most common cause is the use of alcoholic drinks, which occasion what is known as atrophy, or cirrhosis, of the liver. This form of liver is seen in Fig. 290.

Fig. 290. Gin Liver.

Fig. 290. Gin Liver.

It is sometimes called "hob-nail " liver on account of the great abundance of small nodules seen upon the surface. The first symptoms of the disease are those of alcoholic poisoning, which are nausea, retching in the morning, accompanied by a sinking feeling, loss of appetite for solid food, bitter taste in the mouth, pain after eating, irregularity of the bowels, piles, turbid urine, and mental depression. After a time, the patient becomes sallow and emaciated, and reddish spots appear upon the face in consequence of the enlargement of the veins; also in most cases there is a dull pain low down upon the right side, and pain in the right shoulder, Sometimes the roughness of the surface of the liver may be felt through the abdominal walls. If the disease has existed some time, abdominal dropsy occurs from obstruction to the portal circulation; also enlargement of the external veins of the abdomen, due to the same cause. Piles is an almost constant accompaniment of the disease, being produced in the same way. Disease of the kidneys is also quite likely to be present.

The Treatment of Contraction Of The Liver

Total abstinence from all stimulants. The diet must be of the plainest and simplest character, all fats, sweets, spices, pastry, and all other foods difficult of digestion being carefully avoided. Abdominal dropsy should be treated as described elsewhere. The most that can be done in the majority of cases is to palliate the symptoms and improve the patient's general health in every possible manner.