Among the most common causes of liver enlargement are:

  • Alcoholic liver disease, which includes alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a lifestyle-related metabolic disease
  • Viral hepatitis (hepatitis A, B, C, D or E )
  • Liver cancer, or cancer that has spread to the liver from a different organ

Many less-common liver diseases may also cause liver enlargement, as do some diseases that primarily affect other organs but involve the liver indirectly. A partial list includes:


  • Some types of leukemia
  • Some types of lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma

Genetic diseases

  • Hemochromatosis
  • Wilson's disease
  • Glycogen storage diseases
  • Gaucher's disease

Heart and blood vessel problems

  • Blockage of the veins that drain the liver (Budd-Chiari syndrome)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Narrowing (stenosis) of the heart’s tricuspid or mitral valves


  • Liver abscess, caused by parasites (amebiasis) or bacteria
  • Other parasitic infections (schistosomiasis, fascioliasis)
  • Relapsing fever, which humans catch from body lice or ticks

Damage from toxins

  • Drug-induced liver injury from such medications as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin, Amoclans)
  • Toxic hepatitis from exposure to poisons, such as the industrial chemicals carbon tetrachloride and chloroform

Complex liver and systemic diseases

  • Amyloidosis
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Nov. 27, 2015