The relationship between liver and gallbladder health and libido / reproductive system health may surprise you.

The Surprising Connection Between Hypothyroidism, High Estrogen Levels, and Major Digestive Issues


According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), erectile dysfunction and libido issues can be rooted in liver and gallbladder issues. Though the theory behind how the gallbladder and the liver affect libido is a bit obscure and complex for those who are most familiar with conventional medicine, it’s still relevant to note the connection between reproductive system health and the liver and gallbladder because few people know about the role that these organs play in reproductive hormone production. In this section we discuss how the liver and gallbladder as well as the thyroid gland are connected to each other via estrogen and cholesterol levels. 

The Connection Between the Gallbladder, the Liver, the Thyroid Gland, and Reproductive Organs 


Cholesterol is a major ingredient in the production of reproductive hormones. But cholesterol is also a major ingredient in the production of bile. Every day the body uses about 600 mL of cholesterol in the body to manufacture bile. Bile is then used to digest food as well as to convert other substances


Estrogen levels, in turn, play an important role in cholesterol levels as well. And estrogen levels also impact liver health and digestion. When estrogen levels increase, bile flow is decreased. And , if bile flow decreases, estrogen levels increase. So there’s an inverse relationship between bile levels and estrogen levels in the body. 

So if you have low bile levels, and your estrogen levels increase as a result, gallstones may develop. High estrogen levels are correlated with gallstone development, after all. Pregnancy, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), constipation, and exposure to xenoestrogens in the environment are situations that all involve high estrogen levels and also a heightened risk of gallstone development. 


If you have too much estrogen in your body, it’s likely that you’ll also suffer from reduced bile flow. When your bile flow is reduced, you have an increased risk of developing:


  • Digestive infection
  • SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Constipation


In addition to impacting bile levels in the digestive system, high estrogen levels also damage the bile export pump which can lead to a buildup of bile inside the liver and an increased risk of:


  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inability to digest fats
  • Inability to absorb fat soluble vitamins


And finally, to really drive home the relationship between bile levels and estrogen levels, it’s vital to note that bile has the ability to break down estrogen. 

The Impact of Estrogen Levels on the Gallbladder, Small Intestine, and Thyroid Gland


In addition to slowing down the production of bile in the body, when a patient has high estrogen levels, the gallbladder slows down the release of bile into the small intestine. Normally, because of the function of bile in the small intestines, this organ normally does not contain a lot of bacteria, but when bile levels slow down, bacteria begin to grow in the small intestine. When this happens, patients can experience painful bloating and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Though ox bile can help increase bile levels in the liver and in the intestines, conjugated bile acids can have a bigger impact on controlling bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. 


The thyroid gland is impacted in important ways by high estrogen levels. When there are high levels of estrogen in the body, the estrogen will kick thyroid hormones out of their receptors which leads to hypothyroidism. And hypothyroidism, in turn, causes constipation. And constipation creates a situation where estrogen in fecal matter can be easily reabsorbed into the bloodstream to maintain and even increase estrogen levels even further.


High Estrogen Levels —> Hypothyroidism —> Constipation —> Reabsorption of  Estrogen 


Further, there are thyroid hormone receptors on the sphincter of Oddi, the gallbladder sphincter where bile is released into the common bile duct. The presence of thyroid hormone receptors on these receptors demonstrates that thyroid hormones play a role in the proper functioning of this sphincter. Thus, if you have high estrogen levels that lead to hypothyroidism / low thyroid hormone levels, your bile flow from the gallbladder will be impaired which, in turn, can lead to SIBO as well as chronic constipation, which in turn, can perpetuate and worsen the problem of hypothyroidism and high estrogen levels over time.


An important orthomolecular medicine treatment for imbalanced reproductive hormones (i.e. high estrogen levels) as well as imbalanced thyroid hormones is Lugol’s iodine and/or Iodoral supplementation. Indeed, Lugol’s iodine is considered to be the cure for high estrogen levels in diseases like PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), fibrocystic breast disease, low libido issues, unexplainable weight gain (or inability to lose weight), etc. Lugol’s iodine or Iodoral supplementation is a valuable treatment for both men and women. 

Most people who develop this particular set of health problems (high estrogen levels, low thyroid hormones) are iodine deficient. Note, however, that you cannot take iodine that’s sold in a pharmacy (Povidone Iodine) and you also can’t take nascent iodine to treat both imbalanced reproductive hormone levels and low thyroid hormone levels. Povidone Iodine and nascent iodine won’t work to treat these health problems. Rather, you need both potassium iodine and molecular iodine (Lugol’s iodine or Iodoral) in order to feed both the reproductive hormones and the thyroid gland. Restoring iodine levels to the thyroid gland and to the reproductive organs will help those organs function better. But people who have this particular set of problems (low thyroid, high estrogen), also need the following nutrients at specific doses to ensure that their bodies can properly absorb the iodine:





Start slowly at lower doses of Iodoral (12.5 mg) and work up to 50 mg daily.


Start slowly at 1 drop daily of Lugol’s iodine 2% and increase the dose by 1 drop every week. 


Cholesterol and Reproductive Hormones


Years ago, during my undergraduate studies, cholesterol was just beginning to be a big thing. Everyone was worried about their cholesterol levels. I was taking my 101 level physiology course when I first started questioning the idea that cholesterol levels were worth measuring and that high cholesterol was a “treatable” illness. I couldn’t get the information in my textbooks to make sense with the marketing around cholesterol treatments and people’s obsession over their cholesterol levels.


Today, people are still obsessing about their cholesterol levels and they regard the “good” HDL and “bad” LDL cholesterol with the same black and white thinking that people had 25 years ago. This is so unfortunate because both HDL and LDL cholesterol have an important function in the body. And while measuring cholesterol levels can be useful in diagnosing inflammation or other health issues, treating high cholesterol with prescription medications like statin drugs can have a devastating effect on general health.

Estrogen acts on the liver to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the body while increasing the amount of the so-called “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and decreasing the amount of so-called “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Cholesterol is the basic building block of reproductive hormones so, when people take prescription medications that alter the way the body processes cholesterol, these medications also inevitably alter reproductive hormone levels. 


If you have high cholesterol levels and you’re worried about heart disease, particularly atherosclerosis, you should be taking vitamin K2 supplements with your vitamin D supplements. Vitamin K2 is a relatively new discovery. Most people are familiar with vitamin K1, a nutrient that plays a role in blood clotting, but vitamin K2 does a very different thing in the body. It works intimately with vitamin D to ensure that calcium ends up in the bones and teeth. While vitamin D ensures that calcium is absorbed by the digestive system, vitamin K2 tells the body where to put calcium. Without adequate vitamin K2, vitamin D will just throw calcium into any old soft tissue that happens to be available. But calcium doesn’t belong in soft tissues like the blood vessels, the pancreas, the liver, etc. Calcium deposits in the blood vessels cause the blood vessels to harden. Calcium deposits build up and cause blockages. Vitamin K2 makes sure these calcium deposits are removed and taken to the bones and the teeth which not only improves cardiovascular health, but also the health of bones and teeth.


Vitamin K2 won’t change your cholesterol levels but it will prevent your body from putting calcium deposits in the blood vessels and in the organs. The health impact of taking vitamin K2, which is a fat soluble vitamin that can only be absorbed in the body when there is sufficient bile present to digest it, is huge. A number of major diseases today are caused by vitamin K2 deficiency. Vitamin K2, after all, is only present in the meats of grass-fed animals and in whole, unpasteurized milks, and other food items that most people in the world rarely consume. If you had braces as a kid, you’re probably deficient in vitamin K2. If you’ve had dental cavities as an adult, you’re probably deficient in vitamin K2. 

Estrogen Levels and the Thyroid Gland

When your estrogen levels are elevated, thyroid function can be impeded, leading to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, in turn, causes the movement of fecal matter through the large intestine to slow down. This allows toxins in the fecal matter as well as excess estrogens to recirculate, which maintains and increases estrogen levels in the body.  


Again, the cure for hypothyroidism is Lugol’s iodine or Iodoral. This used to be common knowledge in conventional medicine, but today, most doctors have been taught to be terrified of iodine because they’ve only learned about radioactive iodine. Dr. Guy Abrahams and Dr. Brownstein are the go-to experts on Lugol’s iodine therapy to cure hypothyroidism and restore normal reproductive hormone levels.


If you have high estrogen levels, taking Diindolylmethane (DIM) may help you lower your estrogen by binding to the estrogen and escorting it out of the body. Eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower can also help you lower your estrogen levels. In turn, lowering your estrogen levels can help balance thyroid hormones if you have hypothyroidism or any of the corresponding digestive issues that go along with it like constipation.

Prescription Drugs: Statins and Cholesterol Levels

Statins are cholesterol-lowering medications that decrease the formation of cholesterol. As such these drugs contribute to:


  • Coenzyme Q10 depletion 
    • CoQ10 is a nutrient that every cell in the body needs in order to make energy
    • CoQ10 depletion can cause muscle pain and joint soreness
    • CoQ10 depletion causes blood sugar issues and raise the risk of diabetes
    • NOTE that taking a CoQ10 supplement doesn’t reduce your risk of heart disease because just replacing the lost nutrient doesn’t rebalance the other aspects of the system that has been thrown off-balance. It would be better to stop taking the statins. Talk to your doctor about discontinuing these medications if you have reproductive hormone imbalances, thyroid hormone imbalances, or digestive system issues.
  • Low testosterone levels in men and in women
    • Increases risk of heart disease
    • Increases risk of heart attack
    • Causes low libido and sexual dysfunction



Let’s say that your doctor prescribed bioidentical hormone treatment as a way to boost your libido. Maybe you had digestive problems prior to administration of the bioidentical hormones or maybe you developed constipation or bloating or some other digestive issue shortly after the bioidentical hormones were administered. If this is your story (or if you have a different story completely), remember the following relationships:


High Estrogen Levels —> Low Bile Levels —-> Hypothyroidism


But maybe you didn’t receive bioidentical hormone therapy. Rather, maybe you’re simply arriving at middle-age (male or female) and your reproductive hormone levels have changed. You may be able to rebalance your reproductive hormone levels, restore thyroid hormone levels, and also improve digestion by taking conjugated bile acids

Conjugated bile acids may be able to help you restore normal reproductive hormone levels even if you’ve had bioidentical hormone treatments, but it probably won’t help to take a conjugated bile acid supplement unless you are no longer receiving the bioidentical hormone injections. Consider doing enzyme therapy

Symptoms of High Estrogen Levels

Do you have high estrogen levels? Below are symptoms of high estrogen levels that may be correctable by taking conjugated bile acids and Diindolylmethane (DIM).


  • Bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Breast pain and tenderness
  • Benign breast lumps
  • Increased symptoms of PMS
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Symptoms of Low Bile Levels

Do you have low bile levels? Below are symptoms of low bile levels that may be correctable using conjugated bile acids as well as digestive “bitters”:


  • Liver disease
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Rickets (Vitamin D Deficiency)
  • Liver inflammation
  • Spleen inflammation
  • Poor growth (in children)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)
  • Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Constipation



The Gallbladder and Beyond: A Curious Organ at the Core of Digestive Health –
The Alive-N-Healthy Digestive Health Series, Volume 1 – NOW AVAILABLE!


Other Important Links:

How to Use Enzyme Therapy for Better Digestion, to Prevent Cancer, Cure Autoimmune Disease and Reclaim Your Health

Get Rid of Gallstone Pain and Dissolve Gallstones with These Home Remedies

Dissolve Gallstones At Home Using Apple Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Malic Acid

Dissolve Gallstones At Home Using Apple Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Malic Acid

Is Morning Sickness Caused by Gallstones? The Gallbladder’s Role During Pregnancy

Iodine Deficiency and the Gallbladder: The Gallbladder-Thyroid Connection and How Iodine Therapy Can Help