The gut plays a vital role in maintaining the overall health of the body. In fact, an upset stomach is often one of the first symptoms of a health issue in your body. Moreover, unlike in other parts of the body, any issue with the gut is immediately noticeable.
Gut issues can be either temporary or chronic. Chronic issues are usually the worst between the two. Nonetheless, it is imperative to identify the signs and determine the best course of action to make your gut and colon healthy again.
In this article, you will learn how to identify gut disorders and the steps you can take to keep your digestive system fit. Our last tip reveals a simple way to keep your gut flora healthy and flourishing. Don’t miss that.
Let us find out about your digestive system and signs of an unhealthy gut:
1. Keep It Healthy: Your Gut Rules Your Body and Mind
The gut refers to the entire digestive tract of the body. As such, anything you have ingested can affect your body through the stomach and the intestines. It is the responsibility of the gut to absorb the nutrients and prevent the toxins from being absorbed in your blood stream.
A healthy gut provides the necessary nutrition for the body and ensures to eliminate the toxins from your body and they don’t end up affecting your health. The gut also keeps everything moving through it properly.
If your digestive system is inefficient, your health is bound to suffer. Many experts believe that the gut contributes to the overall physiological and physical health. This is because it is possible for the digestive disorders to affect the entire body. It can contribute to numerous health complications, such as:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Liver Disease
- Immunity Diseases
Why Does It Happen?
- The gut acts as a shield for the immune system. Therefore, when your gut is affected, you become more vulnerable to a variety of sicknesses.
- Dietary imbalances, medications or even stress can affect the balance of the bacteria present in the digestive tract. This increases your susceptibility to various health conditions.
Now, that we know why the health of your gut is essential, let’s take a look at the conditions that can arise if the gut is out of sync. These conditions are a sign that your gut is unhealthy. Here we go.
2. An Unhealthy Gut Leads to Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases take place when your body’s immune system begins to look upon the healthy cells of your body as being foreign. As a result, they attack the healthy cells, eliminate them and cause inflammation.
More importantly, the immune system of your body begins to break down completely and leave you vulnerable to different diseases. After all, when the immune system is attacking healthy cells, it becomes incapable of defending against foreign pathogens.
An increase in the numbers of bad bacteria in the gut can cause autoimmune diseases. There can be various other causes of autoimmune diseases; however, medical professionals believe that the gut is one of the major contributory factors. When your doctor diagnose your with autoimmune diseases, it becomes necessary to take proper care of your gut.
Your doctor will create a plan to treat the disease and replenish your gut’s health. Early medical care can limit the severity and extent of the problem.
There are more than 80 autoimmune diseases known to medical science. Many of them share similar symptoms. Therefore, they are difficult to diagnose. Here are a few of them:
- Hashimoto’s Disease: Inflammation of the thyroid gland.
- Graves’ Disease: Overactive thyroid gland.
- Addison’s Disease: Adrenal hormone insufficiency.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues.
- Type One Diabetes: Obliteration of insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
- Pernicious Anemia: Decrease in red blood cells.
- Cohn’s Disease: A chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines.
- Ulcerative Colitis: An inflammatory bowel disease.
Did you know that your gut affects your mood? Check out the link between the two here.
3. Feeling Depressed or Stressed: Your Gut Is to Blame
Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and stress are certainly the result of the fast-paced lifestyle of today’s world. However, most people do not realize that the health of their gut is also responsible for their mental health. Research has conclusively shown the links between the gut and the mental health of an individual. Let us find out about this in more detail.
There are around 500 million neurons present in the intestinal wall. These neurons form the enteric nervous system, ENS. The ENS produces 30 different neurotransmitters. As a result, ENS becomes responsible for bringing balance to the mental health. It can reduce stress and anxiety levels and maintain the overall health of the mind.
Therefore, when your gut health is compromised, your mental state may begin to suffer. Some of the signs of a gut problem are:
- Mental Fatigue
- Brain Fog
Your gut determines your weight. Don’t be surprised: read on to determine how true this is.
4. Take Care of Your Gut and It Will Take Care of Your Weight
Researchers have done many studies to find the link between the amount of bacteria levels in gut and the overall weight of an individual. According to the results, people who have a healthy weight are more likely to have diverse and balanced bacteria in their gut as compared to those with unhealthy weight. In fact, the intestinal bacteria of obese people tend to be quite different from thinner individuals.
According to studies, there are two families of intestinal bacteria, which researchers found to have a link with the body weight of individuals. These are:
- Firmicutes: They are one of those families of bacteria that are present in higher quantities in obese individuals. Firmicutes are more efficient in extracting calories from complex sugars. Your body deposits these calories as fat, which speed up the weight gain process.
- Bacteroidetes: They are the other type of bacteria family, which are present in much lesser quantities in obese individuals.
How Scientists Conducted the Research
- In an experiment, researchers inserted firmicutes into mice with a normal weight. As a result, the mice began to gain weight rapidly, even though their diet had remained the same.
- In another experiment, researchers noted that obese individuals who lost weight had increased amount of bacteroidetes in their gut. At the same time, the amount of firmicutes was lower.
Conclusion: The bacteria present in your gut can affect the way your body store fat and how the glucose levels in the blood are balanced. The bacteria also affect the hormones that help you feel full or hungry.
If the balance of gut flora is disrupted, you can end up suffering from obesity and related issues. In order to get rid yourself of obesity and other diseases, you need to restore the balance out the bacteria in your gut. You can do so by taking a suitable probiotic supplement every day. Read about them in our last tip.
5. The Truth About Your Poorly Functioning Gut and Diabetes
Studies have established a direct connection between type two diabetes and an unhealthy gut. They have discovered that the concentration of hostile bacteria is higher in individuals suffering from diabetes. Weight is another significant factor as well. Experts have found that obesity can significantly increase the risk for diabetes.
We have discussed how the balance of bacteria in your gut makes you prone to obesity. In the same way, your gut bacteria determine your risk factor of suffering from type two diabetes.
Did you know that the gut can even affects your skin? Find out how.
6. Your Skin and Your Gut: Unhealthy Flora Contributes to Spots and Acne
The skin is the largest organ of your entire body. It acts as a fence and prevents the passage of toxins in the body. At the same time, your skin is highly sensitive too, as it can easily fall prey to many skin disorders.
In many cases, gut problems such as acid reflux, bloating, bad breath and constipation are responsible for these skin problems. Some of the common skin ailments caused by a poor gut are:
There are numerous studies that indicate the links between the skin and the gut. According to their results, skin problems can certainly be symptoms of issues in the gut. As per one study, 54 percent of patients suffering from acne were also suffering from a condition called Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth.
Experts have found that it is possible to reduce skin ailments significantly through probiotic supplements, as they help restore the balance in gut bacteria. You will find out more about it later. A healthy diet is equally significant for having a healthy skin. Avoid foods that can cause inflammation, such as diary and hydrolyzed oils. Consume more fruits, vegetables, fluids and water.
7. Nasty Acid Reflux: A Symptom of Gut Issues
Acid reflux is one of the painful indigestion problems. It is the result of an overproduction of acid in the stomach. The excess acid begins to travel up the esophagus and causes a burning sensation in the middle of the chest. An acid reflux can be a major nuisance to the sufferer. It generally occurs after meals or during the night. The astonishing revelation is that the root cause of acid reflux lies in your gut.
Acid reflux, along with bloating, burps and gas occur when the bacteria in your gut assists in the digestive process. The bacteria in the gut break down the food and help in digest them. As a result of this activity, the bacteria releases intestinal gas.
Generally, gas and burps are natural. On an average, people are likely to pass gas around 15 to 20 times daily. However, if you are constantly suffering from burping, bloating or gas, your gut is most likely not working properly.
A recent study suggests that an imbalance of bacteria in the stomach and lower esophagus may cause acid reflux. Usually, there are different groups of bacteria in the lower esophagus and stomach that work to protect abdominal disorders. The concentration of these bacteria is far less in those with reflux.
8. GERD and Your Gut Flora: Is There a Link?
If acid reflux symptoms occur as frequently as twice each week, it can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease. Known as GERD for short, it is a chronic disease of the digestive system. Other symptoms of this disease include the following:
- Tooth Erosion
- Bad Breath
- Chest Pains
- Pains in Upper Part of Abdomen
- Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing
- Persistent Heartburn
GERD is caused by a lack of stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and intestines. Therefore, the right treatment is to restore adequate stomach acid production and eliminate bacterial overgrowth.
You need to consult a doctor if you find yourself dealing with these issues on a regular basis. Your doctor will recommend a change in your diet. You need to avoid the beverages and foods that can trigger these symptoms.
Alternatively, you may have to take antacids or other medicines to reduce the production of acid in the stomach. In some cases, your doctor may recommend medications or a surgery. In order to avoid the problem completely, you need to work on replenishing your gut’s flora.
9. Gut Sense: Imbalance of Bacteria May Cause Constipation
Sometimes, you feel bloated or uncomfortable after meals. Also, you may find yourself with constipation. These are signs that your gut is not working properly. A healthy gut with a proper balance of bacteria is able to make the elimination process easy and smooth.
Constipation is one of the most noticeable signs of unhealthy gut, particularly when the stools are hard or dehydrated. Hard stools indicate that there is less bacteria to loosen up the formed feces and keep them soggy, because, otherwise other stool constituents, bacterial cells retain moisture.
10. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Growing Gut Issue
If you suffer from stomach discomfort or pain at least three times every month for a number of months, you may have developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Also known as IBS, this is a common condition of the digestive tract. The symptoms of IBS can vary. It is possible to suffer from constipation one day and have hard stools the next day. Bloating and diarrhea are also symptoms of this condition.
The exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome are still unknown. However, the fact remains that the health of the gut plays a significant role in our body. Here is why:
- Use of antibiotics may disturb the flora and predispose individuals to IBS.
- Some may have IBS suddenly after stomach or intestinal infection caused by bacteria.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth may cause irritable bowel syndrome.
- Extremely low levels of inflammation may exist in the bowel wall of a few patients with IBS. This usually occurs because of an abnormal communication with bacteria in the gut.
In order to treat this problem, your doctor will alter the bacteria in your gut by prescribing antibiotics or probiotics.
Besides, you will have to focus on following the right diet. You will have to avoid foods that produce gas. Your diet must be low in fat, but high in fiber. Some of the foods you must avoid are:
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Dairy Products
As IBS is a gut issue, you can benefit from the consumption of yogurt as it is full of good bacteria. It is also significant to note that stress can be a trigger from IBS. If this is the cause for you, you can benefit from therapies and antidepressants. Make sure that you consult a doctor before taking the antidepressants.
11. Listen to Your Gut: Imbalances Can Cause Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is caused by the presence of small pouches called diverticula. These are small pouches which can form anywhere in the lining of the digestive system. All they require are weak spots in the lining. Diverticula are commonly present in the lining of the colon.
If you have diverticula but not the symptoms, then you are suffering from a condition known as diverticulosis. This is a mild condition as it rarely causes any problems. On the other hand, if the pouches start to bleed or get inflamed, it becomes diverticulosis. Obesity is one of the major risk factors for diverticulitis.
Doctors think that the inflammation may begin when bacteria or stool are caught in the diverticula. Friendly bacteria are essential in order to properly process the stool to make gut healthy and prevent the invasion of bad bacteria. The drop in good bacteria causes diverticulitis flare-ups.
Some of the symptoms of this disease are:
- Abdominal Pain
- Rectal Bleeding
- Antibiotics help treat mild form of diverticulitis.
- You will have to follow a liquid diet so as to allow your colon to heal up.
- One of the causes for diverticulosis includes a diet low in fiber. Therefore, you may have to start eating foods that can provide you with the fiber during your treatment.
- A therapist can optimize your gut flora and minimize inflammation.
- In the severe cases of diverticulitis, surgery will be required so to cut away the diseased section.
Now, you know how your unhealthy gut can cause numerous illnesses. Let us know simple ways to keep your gut healthy.
12. Dairy Products: Nutritious, But Not All Are Good For Your Gut
Milk and dairy products can be beneficial for the body; however, did you know that they can be addictive and not good for your gut? These products contain casomorphins, which are related to morphine. Casomorphins are protein fragments, produced after the digestion of casein, one of the main milk proteins.
Casein can also be quite harmful to the body. It is capable of raising the levels of cortisol in the body. It is also a contributory factor to leaky gut syndrome. Symptoms of this condition are:
- Sensitivity to food
13. Identify Your Food Allergies: Keep Gut Disorders at Bay
One of the most common effects of food allergies is inflammation. Inflammation can affect all parts of your body, including your gut. Inflammation is certainly bad for your gut. Therefore, you should find out which foods you are allergic to.
The elimination method can be a choice; however, a better option would be to visit a doctor for an allergy panel test. The test will help you discover which food items you are allergic to. You can then create a diet, excluding those culprit food items. Your new diet plan will help you to stay safe from allergies and inflammation.
14. Stay Hydrated: Why Your Gut Needs Water
You cannot underestimate the prominence of water in the optimum functioning of your digestive process. The human body is mainly comprised of water. The body of an average person contains about 60 percent water. Thus, it is extremely essential for the proper functioning of a variety of bodily processes.
Your gut needs water to keep the foods moving and to prevent bloating and constipation. When your body has insufficient water, these problems can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. Give your gut a boost and stay hydrated.
15. Add Some Fiber to Your Diet: Keep Things Moving
Just like water, fiber is important for the digestive process. It has a number of benefits in keeping your gut healthy. Here are some of them:
- It can normalize the bowel movements.
- Fiber absorbs toxins and moves them out from the body through elimination.
- It is capable of helping you maintain a healthy weight.
- Fiber protects the gut from inflammation.
- It reduces the risk of developing diverticulitis.
- Most of all, fiber keeps you feeling full for longer.
16. Restore Your Gut Health: Adding Probiotics
Antibiotics destroy harmful bacteria in the gut. However, they can also end up abolishing the helpful ones. Other medications and processed foods affect the levels of good bacteria in the stomach. Stress is also a factor.
In order to restore the balance of good bacteria in the stomach, you will need to take probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are helpful to the human body, specifically the digestive system. They help to stabilize the balance between good and bad bacteria particularly after you have taken antibiotics
Here are ways to take probiotics:
- There are many foods that are naturally rich in probiotics, such as sauerkraut and yogurt.
- You can take probiotic drinks, but opt only for those that have low sugar content.
- Probiotic supplements are also available.
Keeping the health of your gut in order is absolutely necessary. However, if you are not getting the results even after your best efforts, you should opt for alternative treatment. A colon cleanse is the best way to ensure the optimum functioning of your digestive system.