Causes of elevated liver function tests

Updated June 13, 2017

Your doctor may order laboratory tests to be done on your blood to determine how well your liver is functioning. Elevated results on your liver function tests may indicate that you have a liver injury or may be caused by a medical condition that is not directly related to your liver. Consider this information from the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Mayo Clinic about the causes of elevated liver function tests.


A mild muscle injury could cause your liver function tests to be slightly elevated, even though there may be no injury to your liver.

Hormone Changes

Hormone changes during pregnancy or menopause may result in elevated liver function tests that resolve after childbirth or hormone treatments.

Bile Duct Disorders

Scarring, inflammation or tumours of your bile ducts may cause your liver function tests to be elevated.

Liver Disease

If you have liver diseases including cirrhosis or cancer of your liver, your liver function tests may be mildly to severely elevated.


Hepatitis viruses B and C can cause you to have elevated liver function tests during the acute or chronic stages of infection.


Using alcohol heavily for a long period of time may cause you to develop alcoholic hepatitis, which can cause elevated liver functions.

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About the Author

Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.