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Stressing out about Elevated ALT levels (things other than liver mets?)

Wow, I have been gone from this site for so long I had a hard time figuring out where things were! This place was a godsend, and every time I start to worry about something, the ladies here have always helped, and I tried to do the same.

History - I was diagnosed with Stage IIB back in 2009, had bmx, ACT chemo, radiation, and a hysterectomy/oophorectomy. I've had my fair share of freak-outs over the years, but I've become much more chill these days.

Recent history - I had a terrible spring break vacation because I ended up in the hospital in Mexico for 3 days due to a kidney infection. I'm finally home, and am trying to make an appointment to see my doctor to determine whether surgery follow-up is needed. :(

Anyway, I had a pre-existing lab requisition from my new GP, and an appointment for a blood draw already scheduled for the day I returned (which was 3 days after being released from the hospital). Unexpectedly saw on the online portal that my ALT levels (liver enzyme) were up all the way to 48. (The last blood test I had showed level of 19 about 6 months ago and they usually run in the low teens.)

I know not to consult Dr. Google, but due to the holiday weekend, I couldn't call my GP and Dr. Google was telling me that elevated ALT is always indicative of some sort of problem, one of which can be liver mets. And that there are usually not a ton of symptoms until after the levels start to go up.

I'll be putting in a call to the GP first thing in the morning. Anybody out there know what OTHER things this level might indicate that could be related to my recent hospitalization?

Thanks to those of you who got through this - I'm self-treating my anxiety with cannabis so I know I'm a little wordy!

<3 Shelby



  • mswife
    mswife Member Posts: 66
    edited April 2

    many many things that cause this that are not cancer - particularly antibiotics (also Tylenol, alcohol). Any idea what you were on for your recent infection?

    The commons ones are penicillins (amoxil, amox-clav/clavulin is worse for this), cephalosporins (ceftriaxone, keflex) and sulfa drugs (septra) - all very commonly used for bladder and kidney infections.
    your number is very minimally elevated - there’s a very good chance it will just go back to normal on a subsequent lab test.

    Hope this helps.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,884

    @txstardust , we're sorry you need to have another worry, but @mswife made some good points. High liver enzyme levels may be temporary, a result of a medication or infection, or they may be a sign of a medical condition. Have your doctors talked with you about a liver function test?

  • txstardust
    txstardust Member Posts: 180

    Thanks for the reply, mswife.

    I'm allergic to the -cillins, so I was on Cipro at first, then they switched me to meropenem because the infection was worse than they originally thought. They did give me Tylenol, but I wasn't taking that for the day or two before the test.

    I was able to get an appointment with my GP for Friday, so I'll have to sit on my hands and stay busy with other stuff until then!