Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) often has no symptoms, especially in its early stages. Symptoms are more likely to occur as the condition progresses to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). These may include fatigue, nausea and abdominal pain.

People who progress to liver cirrhosis are prone to more serious symptoms. They may develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes). The urine may turn a dark yellow or tea color, and the stools may be pale gray or whitish. Fluid may accumulate in the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites), and enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus can lead to internal bleeding. In the most advanced stages, confusion may occur as a result of the liver’s inability to remove toxins from the body, a condition known as hepatic encephalopathy.

Last Reviewed: January 27, 2023