Hi and welcome! I believe you posted here previously when you were unsure what was wrong with your liver. It's good that you got a diagnosis and have started treatment. According to Dr. Melissa Palmer, in her book Hepatitis & Liver Disease, agressive treatment in the first 3 years usually prevents AIH from progressing to cirrhosis. It is cirrhosis that causes problems. She also states that severe, active AIH can cause women to stop menstruating. But with treatment, periods return and pregnancy can be achieved. Since it is believed that there is a genetic component to AIH, it is possible that you could pass it on to any children you might have. I see nothing other than that regarding pregnancy, so I think you will be able to have children. Keeping up treatment, getting enough rest, and doing everything you can to become healthier in the next 3 years, should assure that you have a life span equal to that of the general public. There are other diseases associated with AIH, including UC.
I have hep C, not AIH, but I know we do have members here with AIH who can hopefully give you a more personal picture of what it is like living with that disease.
Best of luck to you and please feel free to post whenever you like.
Post Edited (hep93) : 7/27/2009 12:33:44 PM (GMT-6)
I don't think it would be selfish. It's a very minimal risk. Most of us have family medical histories that can possibly be passed on to our children. Even without that, there is always the risk of having a child who is handicapped in some way. So it's something to weigh and talk about with your doctor or a future husband, but right now just concentrate on taking care of your own disease. It's even possible to reverse it.
CJ, welcome to the forum! Your experience with AIH is invaluable to those here with the same disease. I think you raise a valid point: Even if you can have children, will you be able to care for them?
Long-term use of Prenisone can cause tiny stress fractures throughout the spine and other bones. It is the number one cause of avascular necrosis (AVN), also known as osteonecrosis (ON)...literally bone death. I have AVN and have had my hips replaced because of it, and will soon have a revision on the right--but not due to Pred. (They say it's from heavy drinking in the past, but I'm not so sure.) I only took Pred. once and had a psychotic reaction, so if I should ever need it they will have to come up with something else.
Cindy, for those suffering with any type of liver disease, they (we) need to hear all sides, not just the horrible outcomes and not just the good ones--but all of it--in order to get a complete picture of what is possible. Since liver disease is such an individualistic disease, every case is different. However, there are certain things that are common to all. After reading many, many posts and other material, we can get an idea of what is possible. When I was diagnosed with liver cancer, I was not really surprised, as I knew that it was a possible consequence of long-term hep C. I was hoping that it wouldn't happen, but knew that it was possible. What I hadn't read were any good outcomes or survival statistics. That is one reason that I post here and tell people about my experience, since I am still here and cancer free after 2 yrs. 2 mos.
I know that Prednisone is commonly used for inflammation, but I truly wish they would come up with something that is equally valuable but without the awful side effects.
Good to have you posting, Jerry! It definitely would be in your best interest (and that of your liver) to quit drinking alcohol altogether! Just substitute a sparkling water.
Jerry, congrats on your decision and good luck with your levels! I think that milk thistle is pretty widely accepted now for use in liver disease. I took it when I was first diagnosed and it didn't do anything for me. However, the info that I had said one needed to stop drinking carbonated beverages and only drink distilled water. I just wasn't able to follow that.
Chooky, I just wanted to welcome you to the forum. It's fortunate that you are not symptomatic. Enjoy being that way as long as possible!
When you say your enzymes fluctuate...what are the numbers? It's rare they let patients with AIH avoid treatment so I assume they are very low and fluctuate in the normal range at times? The premise behind treatment is to avoid future damage and risk of developing cirrhosis. So it's great you aren't cirrhotic now. I'm not either but the damage I incurred initially was severe and I had to be put on pred and immunosuppressants. I'm currently only on Imuran. The side effects of the meds are after chronic long term use. If you get off pred, that's one you don't have to worry too much about. The increased risk of cancers with immunosuppressants are generally after 20 or so years of use...and it doesn't mean you'll definitely develop it either. I prefer medication to taking the risk of developing cirrhosis but I didn't have much of a choice with that one.