Liver disease in menopause.
There are numerous physiologic and biochemical changes in menopause that can affect the function of the liver and mediate the development of liver disease. Menopause represents a state of growing estrogen deficiency, and this loss of estrogen in the setting of physiologic aging increases the likelihood of mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, declining immune responses to injury, and disarray in the balance between antioxidant formation and oxidative stress. The sum effect of these changes can contribute to increased susceptibility to development of significant liver pathology, particularly nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as accelerated progression of fibrosis in liver diseases, as has been particularly demonstrated in hepatitis C virus liver disease. Recognition of the unique nature of these mediating factors should raise suspicion for liver disease in perimenopausal and menopausal women and offer an opportunity for implementation of aggressive treatment measures so as to avoid progression of liver disease to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.
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