Unhealthy Liver? 7 Signs It's Not Working Properly

Do you think your liver might be unhealthy? Find out common symptoms of an ill liver in the article below.
Unhealthy Liver? 7 Signs It's Not Working Properly
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

The liver is one of the largest and most essential organs in your body. Its functions range from protein production, glucose metabolization, iron, and cholesterol to detoxification of all toxins and foreign substances in your body. Do you want to know the main signs of an unhealthy liver? We will show you.

Symptoms of an unhealthy liver

With the exception of the brain, the liver is the second most complex organ in the body. Because of this, you need to keep it in good shape and healthy. A balanced diet and healthy lifestyle habits define can greatly improve its overall state.

An active, healthy life, where there is no tobacco, sedentary habits, alcohol, or the consumption of excessive medications will greatly help you get rid of the substances that can harm it.

1. Stomach Cramps and Bloating

Woman with stomachache


Has this happened to you before? You feel especially bloated: hands, ankles, feet, abdomen, etc. First of all, don’t let these symptoms alarm you if you have them occasionally. There is nothing to worry about if they happen once in a while.

However, if the problem becomes recurring, when you have gas every day, when your digestion becomes slower, and you feel abdominal pain, you should be careful. 

These may be signs of an unhealthy liver that is not working well. This is true because the liver might not be detoxifying properly and thus accumulates toxins in your body. You run the risk of having ascites; so, if you notice that these symptoms are recurring you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

2. Change in Urine and Feces Color

Woman at the bathroom

Is your urine whiter than normal? Are your feces also somewhat pale and sometimes even have traces of blood? To get rid of any doubt, it’s best to see your doctor.

It is true that these kinds of symptoms can be due to other diseases, but they are often related to the liver or kidneys. In regards to urine, it can also look darker as well as lighter due to an accumulation of bilirubin.

3. Jaundice


This is perhaps the most evident symptom and the one that should put you on alert. Jaundice refers to having a  yellowish color on the skin, eyes, and nails. It is basically due to the accumulation of this bile pigment called bilirubin in your body. This element is basic for digestion.

However, when your liver is not working well, it can’t get rid of those substances that are not useful after digestion is finished. They stay in your body and give you that yellowish tone that is so common with liver diseases.

4. Skin Sensitivity

Itchy skin

A continuous itchy feeling, as if something is tickling you from inside. This is an annoying and concerning feeling, but what causes it? This is basically from an accumulation of toxins in your body, the ones your liver doesn’t filter, and they cause a reaction on your skin.

If you are constantly struggling with this, you should go to your doctor immediately. He will be able to determine whether it has something to do with the conditions of your liver.

You might also like: 8 Foods that Improve Your Skin Health

5. Gastric Reflux

Gastric reflux

Feeling full, having gas that squeezes you and doesn’t let you breathe, and what’s worst, suffering from acid reflux, can all be signs of an unhealthy liver.

And, since we already know that this organ is associated with the digestive process, we know these symptoms can be related to a liver condition. To rule it out and know for sure, it’s best to see your doctor.

6. Diarrhea

Woman with cramps

It is very common. What you ate makes you feel sick. You feel gas, reflux, and a feeling of malaise. Often, this is followed by diarrhea, which may show a poor functioning of your digestive system.

However, if this scenario becomes recurrent, it could be the sign of something more dangerous. In order to rule out any issues with an unhealthy liver, seek professional help.

7. General Fatigue

Exhausted woman

It’s very common. And it’s not only fatigue, but malaise, weakness, and a continuous feeling of lethargyYour liver may be working more than normal. Being sick makes it work more and the energy from this essential organ may take energy from you.

Be mindful of these symptoms. If, besides the fatigue, you experience any others from the list, go with your doctor to get a final diagnosis. Your liver may be suffering and it’s important to treat it as soon as possible.

Remember that if you have any doubts or symptoms, it’s best to see your doctor so that they can give you a precise diagnosis. Your health always comes first.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • De Vilanova C. Guía para limpiar el hígado, la vesícula y los riñones. Editorial Sirio.
  • Romero A, Zeinsteger P, Teibler P, Montenegro M, et al. Lesiones hepáticas inducidas por componentes volátiles de Senecio grisebachii (margarita del campo o primavera) en ratones.Rev. Vet. 2001–2002;12(13):1-2
  • Andrade R. J., López-Ortega S.. Hepatitis tóxicas. Rev. esp. enferm. dig. 2006; 98( 9): 701-701.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.