Any detoxification ritual, including a liver cleanse, may illicit a temporary flare-up of illness, according to DoctorOz.com. Following a common, gentle cleanse such as lemon juice and olive oil to flush the liver, you may feel discomfort. Alternative medicine often interprets discomfort positively, as an indication that toxins have vacated the liver, and assumes that it will quickly pass. However, if other symptoms such as pain in the upper abdomen or exhaustion exist, this may mean you have gallstones or cirrhosis, according to the American Gastroenterological Association. Consult your doctor or health care practitioner before you undergo a cleanse, and if the discomfort following a liver cleanse includes pain or intense fatigue, be sure to see your physician immediately.
A liver cleanse performed with naturally occurring ingredients such as milk thistle may help remove harmful substances from the liver and rejuvenate any cellular damage therein, according to the UC Berkeley Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements. However, it is important to realize that toxins do not nest in the liver. The liver constantly excretes them, while constantly regenerating itself. Therefore, lasting discomfort following the cleanse, characterized by weakness, loss of appetite or pain in the upper abdomen, between the shoulder blades, or in the right shoulder may denote the early stages of cirrhosis. Also possibly signified by these symptoms could be the presence of gallstones, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.
Prolonged discomfort and pain following a liver cleanse in the general location of the liver -- the upper right quadrant of the abdomen -- may emanate from either the liver or the gallbladder. The liver and the gallbladder work in close concert, and live in close quarters. The gallbladder rests immediately behind the liver. The liver continuously produces and secretes bile, a digestive fluid necessary for the breakdown of fats, which the gallbladder stores between meals, according to the American Gastroenterological Association. The liver and the gallbladder connect via the common bile duct, and cirrhosis can occur in cases where the bile duct becomes blocked by gallstones that travel from the gallbladder.
Cirrhosis can cause your skin to turn yellow, a condition known as jaundice, which results from a buildup of bile pigment that normally flows through the liver into the intestines, according to the American Gastroenterological Association. Other symptoms may include intense itching caused by bile products accumulating in the skin.
Liver health depends less on a one-time liver cleanse and more on a diet that consistently includes liver-friendly, naturally detoxifying foods such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, and seaweed. According to ShareCare.com, these types of vegetables provide vital enzymes that can assist your liver with the breakdown of foods.
Cirrhosis is an extremely serious health complication, and can lead to liver failure. Gallstone complications sometimes trigger fever, and may lead to a serious infection. If you feel protracted discomfort or pain following a liver cleanse, it is imperative that you see your doctor or health care provider without delay.
- DoctorOz.com: Detox Made Safe and Simple
- American Gastroenterological Association: Understanding Cirrhosis
- American Gastroenterological Association Patient Center: Understanding Gallstones
- UC Berkeley Wellness: Be Wary of Liver Supplements
- ShareCare.com: Top 10 Detox Foods
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Cirrhosis
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gallstones