Liver disease is a problem that affects roughly 4.5 million Americans according to the CDC. And while liver problems are sometimes viewed as a “male” problem since men are often more susceptible to certain liver diseases and conditions, women have their own share of particular liver concerns to be on the lookout for!

Here’s what to know about liver disease in women, plus what you can do to bolster your liver health and protect this hardworking organ from harm. 

Why your Liver Health is so Important

infographic showing the stages of Liver Damage: Healthy Liver to Fatty Liver to Liver Fibrosis to Cirrhosis

When it comes to our overall approach to health, we tend to talk a lot about “detoxing”– well, your liver is doing most of that work on its own naturally!

The liver is a large organ found right above your stomach and beneath your diaphragm muscle. It plays a variety of roles including assisting your metabolism and supporting your immune system. But one of its most important jobs is to help detoxify your blood by clearing out drugs and other potential toxins that can otherwise build up in your body (and cause long-term damage if left unchecked).

Unfortunately, since it deals with so many potentially toxic substances, your liver tissue is also subject to damage of its own, which can be serious and even fatal under certain circumstances.

Signs Of Liver Disease In Women

Overall, liver damage is more common in men than women. In fact, men are more likely to need liver transplants and about two times more likely to die from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis than women. [1] However, it’s important to note that women can still be at risk for liver disease and damage, and women have their own unique set of issues that can affect their liver.

For example, women tend to be more susceptive to liver damage from alcohol consumption than men, possibly due to a slower rate of alcohol metabolism. [2] Liver damage also develops faster in women when compared to male counterparts who drink similar amounts of alcohol per week. One study also found that post-menopausal women between the ages of 56-60 were at a higher risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), [3] an accumulation of fatty deposits on the liver that can progress into chronic liver disease.

Liver Cirrhosis in Women

Cirrhosis is a serious scarring of the liver tissue that is often caused by inflammation over time. While men tend to die more from this cirrhosis, females are still more susceptible to developing it. [4] Causes of liver cirrhosis in females include:

  • Alcohol use, which can cause fat accumulation in the liver

  • Hepatitis C, a viral infection that spreads through contact with infected blood

  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (in other words, fat accumulation on the liver)

Liver cirrhosis can progress and present a serious threat to your health if left unchecked. Unfortunately, it also tends to be a “silent” condition that doesn’t always present itself in obvious symptoms until it’s too late. Liver cirrhosis symptoms in females include:

  • Easily bleeding and bruising
  • Nausea
  • Edema
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes)
  • Irregular periods

Another important thing for women to note is that cirrhosis can negatively impact fertility since it can go on to impact hormones and metabolism. [5]

Liver Health infographic explaining symptoms of liver damage in women and herbs to boost liver health

How to Boost your Liver Health

While liver disease in women can be chalked up to various causes, there are certain diets and habits that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to support a strong liver. For example, you can help make your liver healthy by:

  • Minimizing your use of drugs and alcohol, which can contribute to liver damage

  • Maintaining a healthy weight with healthy eating and exercise, which can reduce your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Best Herbs for Liver Health

In addition to lifestyle changes, you can help support a strong liver by adding certain foods and herbs to your diet! Some of the foods and best herbs to improve liver health include:

  • Mushrooms - Looking for ideas on what to eat for liver health? Start with more mushrooms! A 2020 study evaluated the potential benefits of mushrooms for liver health on a large group of Chinese adults. [6] The researchers found that frequent mushroom consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, potentially due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

  • Milk thistle - Milk thistle, a popular flowering herb, is one of the most well-known herbs for liver health. It owes its efficacy to the compound silybin. Studies have found that it may help improve liver function and may be effective for those with cirrhosis, chronic liver conditions, and viral hepatitis.

  • Schisandra - The plant Schisandra is another popular Chinese herb for liver health that is often used as a tonic for viral hepatitis and which may help the antioxidant and detoxifying functions of the liver. [7]

  • Artichoke - Artichoke leaf extract is another promising herbal supplement for supporting your liver health. Studies on mice have found that artichoke leaf extract supplementation may be useful for preventing the progression of various liver diseases due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. [8]

If you’re looking for the best way to support your liver health, LiverEssence™ is a powerful liver health formula that is specifically formulated to boost liver health in both women and men. Featuring a highly-absorbable silybin extract along with the best artichoke extract for liver health, plus other powerful ingredients supported by both Western science and Traditional Medicinal practices like Schisandra and N-Acetyl-Cysteine, LiverEssence™ gives your liver the powerful tools it needs for optimum detoxification support.*

Final Thoughts

Your liver works hard every single day to clear away toxins and support your overall wellness, but all that strain can take its toll over time. Give your liver the support it deserves by being mindful of your alcohol and drug use, watching your weight, and adding in liver-supporting foods and herbs to your daily regimen.

woman holds a paper example of the liver in front of her body showing where the liver is



[1] Guy, Jennifer, and Marion G Peters. “Liver disease in women: the influence of gender on epidemiology, natural history, and patient outcomes.” Gastroenterology & hepatology vol. 9,10 (2013): 633-9.

[2] Durazzo, Marilena et al. “Gender specific medicine in liver diseases: a point of view.” World journal of gastroenterology vol. 20,9 (2014): 2127-35. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i9.2127

[3] Summart, Ueamporn et al. “Gender differences in the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in the Northeast of Thailand: A population-based cross-sectional study.” F1000Research vol. 6 1630. 4 Sep. 2017, doi:10.12688/f1000research.12417.2

[4] Corrao, G et al. “Female sex and the risk of liver cirrhosis. Collaborative Groups for the Study of Liver Diseases in Italy.” Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology vol. 32,11 (1997): 1174-80. doi:10.3109/00365529709002999

[5] Hagström, Hannes et al. “Outcomes of Pregnancy in Mothers With Cirrhosis: A National Population-Based Cohort Study of 1.3 Million Pregnancies.” Hepatology communications vol. 2,11 1299-1305. 25 Sep. 2018, doi:10.1002/hep4.1255

[6] Zhang, Shunming et al. “Association between edible mushroom intake and the prevalence of newly diagnosed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: results from the Tianjin Chronic Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation and Health Cohort Study in China.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 123,1 (2020): 104-112. doi:10.1017/S0007114519002605

[7] Wang, Rubin et al. “A survey of Chinese herbal ingredients with liver protection activities.” Chinese medicine vol. 2 5. 10 May. 2007, doi:10.1186/1749-8546-2-5

[8] Lee, Minhee et al. “Artichoke Extract Directly Suppresses Inflammation and Apoptosis in Hepatocytes During the Development of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 24,10 (2021): 1058-1067. doi:10.1089/jmf.2021.K.0069

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