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  • David Howell

How To Check Your Liver

Here are 3 simple ways you can use to check on your liver health. As the liver is so important for processing foods, medications and hormones as well as any environmental toxins we're exposed to, liver health is a foundational part of overall good health. Naturopathy has many options available to promote liver health, so if your liver doesn't check out as healthy, consult with your Naturopath and find the most appropriate treatment for you.

1) The 'inspiration & palpation' check

Using your right hand, insert your fingers up & behind the lower margin of your ribcage on the right side of your abdomen.

Take a deep breath while your fingers are inserted in this position.

Now, using your left hand, repeat the process on your left side.

If the right side feels uncomfortable or tight compared to the left side, you may have liver enlargement or disease. (If the left side feels uncomfortable or tight, you may have an enlarged spleen, often seen during or after infections). If you experience such discomfort or tension on your right side, I recommend you see your health professional for blood tests (liver function tests) and a possible ultrasound or other scan of your liver if the tests are abnormal.

2) The stool check

Stools (faeces, motions) often reveal underlying health conditions, so while most people don't want to see what they've passed in the toilet, a quick check may help reveal the state of your liver. Here's what to look for;

  • Pale stools - if your stools are lighter than a milk chocolate colour, you may not be excreting enough bile via the liver/gall bladder. Bile contains pigments that stain stools the typical brown colour, so a lack of bile pigments causing pale stools may indicate underlying liver or gall bladder disease.

  • Floating stools - this may occur when dietary fats and oils are not digested correctly (as fats and oils float on water). Called steatorrhoea, this condition may signify liver or gall bladder disease.

If your stools are pale and floating, especially after eating foods containing fats and oils, I recommend you talk to your health professional and have the correct investigations followed up.

3) The nausea check

If fats or oils aren't being digested effectively in the stomach, they tend to make you feel nauseous (you may even vomit). This may indicate liver or gall bladder disease (or possibly pancreatic disease), so I recommend you talk to your health professional for further investigation and treatment.

NOTE: While this information may help in detecting liver issues, it's not meant to be diagnostic for any individual, and if there's any possibility of you having liver dysfunction, you should be checked out by your GP or relevant health professional.

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