7 signs your liver is under pressure during menopause

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

15 April 2019

Today's topic

Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about seven signs that your liver might be under pressure in the menopause.

The importance of your liver during menopause

Alfred Vogel, the founder of our company, said that the liver was the regulator of your health.  It's an extremely important organ and one that we very often tend to completely forget about.

The liver has over 500 different functions that it has to perform on a regular basis. That's a huge amount. So, if you imagine that it has to do that every day, and then when everything starts to change in the menopause, it suddenly gets hit with a lot more things to do.

It's no wonder that our liver can start to protest a little bit. In terms of the menopause, I'll tell you some of the things that the liver helps with. It helps to make and store energy. It helps to keep your blood glucose levels stable. It helps to clean the blood of toxins.

And, if you imagine today, the number of toxins that we come into contact with on a daily basis through our food, the air that we breathe, and the things that we put on your skin, it has a really tough job to do. The liver also helps to make bile, which is very important for your digestion.

Your liver even helps to synthesise hormones too. So, here we are in the menopause where we need all the hormones we can get, and our poor liver is under pressure. This can then affect our hormonal balance quite dramatically. The liver also helps to store certain vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin D, both of which are really important for our daily health.

How to know your liver is under pressure – the signs & symptoms

So, what I'm going to do now is look at seven symptoms that you might get during the menopause that could indicate that your liver is struggling a little bit.

1. Nausea

The first symptom is nausea. You know, when I first started doing this, I was really surprised that nausea is such a common menopause symptom, but during pregnancy morning sickness is a common symptom brought on by hormonal shifts.

When these hormones start to shift again in the menopause it can cause nausea here too. Remember when I talked about the liver producing bile? Bile is a digestive compound, if you like, that helps to control your cholesterol, so that in itself is really important. Bile even helps to emulsify the fats that we eat in our daily diet.

But, bile is also very important for keeping our gut motility nice and smooth. What we find during the menopause is that, if your production of bile decreases, it can have a direct impact on your digestion. It will slow everything down and that will give you symptoms such as bloating, wind, and constipation.

So, we can see here that just by decreasing the production of bile can have quite a big impact on how our digestion is and also whether we get symptoms such as nausea.

2. Skin problems

The liver can affect our skin. Now, we know, again, that for a lot of women, skin rashes, itchy skin, spots and even things like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis are real problems. These things can all pop up during the menopause.

So, if we're taking in toxins, which we all will, even if we have really clean diets, our poor, old liver will have to deal with things. If our liver is overloaded with toxins, what very often happens, especially if our bowel function isn't very good, is that the liver will just throw everything out through the skin. That will give you this whole range of skin conditions.

3. Bowel problems

We can look at, as I said before, bowel function. For some people, you might end up getting things like diarrhoea, which can be a direct result of liver function as well. So, bear in mind that if your bowel habits start to change, in any way, then that can be an indication that your liver is really struggling here.

4. Fatigue

If your liver is helping to make and store energy, and it's really struggling, then that is going to cause fatigue. We know, too, that liver function can also have an effect on foggy brain, so, you know, these two things can definitely be linked.

5. Cravings

We know that the liver can help to stabilise our blood glucose levels, but, if the liver is not working particularly well, our blood glucose levels can fluctuation. This will then trigger things like sugar cravings and contribute to you feeling hungry all the time.

A lot of women tell me they just can't seem to satisfy their appetite; that they just want to eat, and eat, and eat. That then can have an effect on your weight as well.

6. Sleep issues

This is one that not everybody knows about. Your liver's working live, if you like. The time when it's at its busiest is between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. in the morning.

So, if you are already having poor sleep in the menopause, which happens to a lot of women, and then your liver starts to become overworked, that energy that the liver is exerting can be enough to wake you up. Now, you don't feel your liver churning, but there's enough energy movement going on within the liver that can break through your sleep, and that will wake you up.

And the problem here is that you will not be able to get back to sleep until your liver calms down. So, very often, if you wake between maybe 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning, you will find that, very often, it isn't till about 3:30 before you suddenly feel that you can go back to sleep. So, this is a really kind of a horrible one here.

7. Mood swings

We know that liver function can affect our mood. It can bring us down. So, if we're getting things like fatigue and a little bit of brain fog, all these things put together can affect our mood. In Chinese medicine, there is also a connection between liver function and anger.

So, if you're one of those ladies who feel that you're getting angry or irritated very easily, that could be another little clue that your liver is just struggling that little bit. As you can see, all these menopause symptoms could indeed be part and parcel of your liver just being that little bit overstressed at this particular point.

So, what can you do to look after your liver?

I always recommend doing a gentle liver detox in the spring and in the autumn, so now is a really good time to give your liver that little bit of extra TLC.

You need to try and cut out the baddies, and I'm sure everybody knows what they are. It is things like your caffeine intake, your processed foods, so high-salt and sugar foods are going to really stress the liver. And for you coffee lovers out there, it takes your liver about eight hours to process all the chemicals in one cup of coffee. So, if you have more than three or four cups of coffee a day, your liver is going to be practically in overdrive the whole time, never mind anything else it's got to do as well.

Alcohol, too, is another one that's really going to stress the liver. Medication is another culprit too; if you're on any kind of daily medication, very often, the liver has to struggle that little bit harder to deal with the drugs themselves.

So, how can you detox your liver?

You're looking at doing this gently. I am not in favour of these really severe liver detoxes because very often, all that happens is they will make you feel ill, and you will end up giving up before you've even finished it. So, this is a very gentle detox that's going to be kind to your liver. You're looking at having plenty of liver-friendly foods.

That would be things like your fresh foods; plenty of vegetables and a little bit of fruit. Go for calming grains as things like wheat aren’t particularly good for the liver. You can look at things like quinoa, millet and brown rice too. Stay clear of the white foods - that's things like your white bread, your white rice, and your white pasta because, as well as possibly causing bloating, these are a group of foods that can stress the liver as well.

Plenty of water because we want to keep things flushed out of the system, so remember your fluid intake here. I have a nice liver detox plan that's nice and gentle, to help support your liver for a week or two.

Please, take your time with this detox. Your liver will thank you and you might find that, as well as feeling better generally, you will have a bit more energy, you will sleep better, and your mind will be that little bit sharper as well. So, please let me know how you get on with this. Try the detox and then you can let me know if you feel better.

So until next week, have a good week, enjoy your liver detox, and I'll see you then.

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