Signs & symptoms of liver stress

Updated July 19, 2017

Liver stress refers to a liver that may be sluggish or overworked. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center website, a healthy liver has many essential functions. It produces bile for waste removal, creates proteins, regulates blood clotting and removes impurities. Although it doesn't normally manifest in blood tests, liver stress can cause health signs and symptoms. However, they could be an indication of a different more serious health problem and should be addressed by a health practitioner.

Digestive Problems

According to Paul Pitchford, author of the book "Healing with Whole Foods," a sluggish or congested liver may lead to digestive discomfort. Constipation, distended abdomen and ongoing indigestion all relate to liver stress. The stomach may feel bloated and uncomfortable, especially after a meal. The liver is supposed to release bile that helps to break down food and lubricate the intestines. In weak or stressed livers, this process may be compromised leading to these digestive problems.

Aches and Pains

The liver helps to purify and produce new blood. When it isn't working in a balanced manner, sufficient amounts of healthy blood may not be reaching tendons, muscles and tissues. This may result in a lack of flexibility of muscles, tendon and muscle problems, tension in the upper back and dry eyes. This constant discomfort can lead to tiredness.


If energy through the liver has become stressed or stagnant, this can correlate to the rest of the body. Just as constipation can develop from a slow liver, the body may feel stagnant when the liver is compromised. The liver is also responsible for storing excess glucose for energy usage later but may not be functioning as well as it could. Additionally, if the liver is not removing wastes efficiently, those toxins could also bog down other organ processes.

Mental and Emotional Signs and Symptoms

The emotions can become stagnant just like the bodily functions. Feelings of depression or anger are common with liver stress. Stagnation of the liver can lead to resentment, negativity, irritability, tension and mood swings. People with liver stress may have a difficult time making decisions and could feel that they have poor judgment and brain fog. Liver stress can even appear as mental rigidness, aggression and explosive outbursts of emotion or violence.

Other Signs and Symptoms

Liver stress can affect all parts of the body. Some people may have ringing in the ears, blurry vision, dizziness and conditions of the toe or fingernails. Menstrual and menopausal problems can also arise.

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About the Author

Based in Colorado, Jacqueline Lerche has been writing alternative health, natural science and environment-related articles since 2009. Lerche holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and an Environmental Affairs Certification from Colorado State University.