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Managing Stress and Liver Disease

Managing Stress and Liver Disease

Stress is not good for any of us, it can lead to serious health issues and depression. Stress is the body’s reaction to a situation that seems harmful. When we get stressed, our body releases hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. Over time, continuous stress can be harmful to our health, and especially as liver patients, to our livers.

Looking at the research

In a recent publication in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers found that when a person is stressed, natural killer cells expand in the liver. In some cases, this contributed to liver cell death and made the liver disease worse. The study also found that stress was found to weaken blood flow in the part of the brain that controls the liver, which could lead to or trigger liver damage. The researchers concluded that there seems to be a negative association between stress and liver disease.1

Let’s look at symptoms of stress:2

  • Difficulty relaxing and quieting your thoughts and mind
  • Feeling agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Avoiding others
  • Low energy levels
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Nervousness
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Grinding Teeth

Tips for managing stress

Finding ways to deal with everyday stress is important to managing your liver health and insuring you are protecting it the best you can. Some strategies include:

Stress and liver health

Many times, we try to manage stress all on our own, not realizing how critical it can become if we remain in a stressed state for long periods of time.  If you are finding that nothing you are trying is helping you ease that stress, talk with your doctor. There are various ways and medications that can assist lowering the effects of stress on your health, and not only your liver health, but also your heart, stomach and other major organs.

Stress is in everyone’s lives. No one is immune to experiencing stress, but when you have a serious health condition like hep C and liver disease, you need to take extra care and do all you can to combat the stress hitting you. If you find yourself in the heat of stress, don’t wait either, get help immediately- That is the only thing you have going for you in protecting your liver from further damage.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Chida Y, Sudo N, Kubo C. Does Stress Exacerbate Liver Disease? Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2006;20:202-208.
  2. American Psychological Association. Listening to the warning signs of stress. American Psychological Association. Accessed October 1, 2018.


  • Davoe
    1 year ago

    Hi 20 days of epclusa ,waiting for reults im 65yrs old on opiate meds for neck problem ,weathers warming up here and noticed im getting a bit of edema feet abdomen ,my dr prescribed fusemide 20mg anybody else get edema in warm weather.??

  • Kimberly Morgan Bossley moderator author
    1 year ago

    Yes most certainly. Edema can be brought on I have found more so in warm weather. I have been given hydrochorothiazide for this as well. Try to stay in the shade and dress cooler. I have also found in the evenings to soak my feet in cooler water. That seems to help mine
    Thanks for reaching out
    Kim Bossley

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