5 Signs Your Gut Isn’t Healthy & What You Can Do to Treat It

Some individuals become embarrassed talking about their urinary and bowel habits even with their doctors. This leads to many people living with discomforts that they may not need to suffer.

Dr. Tiffani Fries, DC encourages patients to be open with her on these matters as there are effective treatment options for many gastrointestinal disorders and patients should not have to be in pain.

Here are 5 signs that indicate your gut isn’t healthy and what you can do to treat the problem in a safe and effective manner.

Sign #1: You Do Not Defecate on a Regular Basis

Every individual will have different bowel habits. However, if you are consistently only defecating every few days or fewer, this is a sign that your gut health may not be in the best shape.

If bodily waste is not eliminated in a timely manner, this leaves it inside the gastrointestinal tract where it may be reabsorbed. This can lead to many dangerous toxins remaining in the body for a longer length of time which is harmful.

More importantly, excess estrogen can circulate in your bloodstream posing another health risk.

Some common causes of irregular bowel habits include:

  • SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
  • Low Stomach Acid
  • Vagal Nerve Dysfunction
  • Dehydration Among Others

Sign #2: You Suffer from Daytime Fatigue with No Known Cause

A sluggish or otherwise unhealthy gastrointestinal tract can cause other symptoms that may not seem obvious. These symptoms include ongoing daytime fatigue with no known cause.

As the gut takes the food we eat and breaks it down to be absorbed into our bodies as needed food and energy sources, it is important to remember that the intestines’ purpose is to absorb nutrients and filter out harmful waste byproducts and toxins.

When the gut is not operating in its best capacity, those toxins and other dangerous waste products get absorbed back into the body where they can do damage over time.

Along with daytime fatigue, other symptoms may occur like decreased mental focus, nervousness, shorter attention span, mood swings, abdominal and gastrointestinal upsets, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea/constipation periods.

Other hormonal, body chemicals and other body systems may all be negatively impacted by a sluggish or unhealthy gut in general.

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Sign #3: Your Abdomen Looks & Feels Bloated

Some strains of bacteria that inhabit our gastrointestinal system produce an unusually high level of gas that causes the abdominal cavity and interior intestines to fill with excess air that causes the bloated condition.

It is not uncommon for people that suffer from this symptom to feel as if they were pregnant. That serious bloating feeling is uncomfortable and can lead to stomach upset, belching, increased pressure on the hiatal flap that regulates excess gas that may lead to burping and heartburn sensations.

Sign #4: You Have Underlying Anxiety and/or Depression

As the body becomes unable to absorb nutrients and filter out toxic substances from the body, this can lead to increased stress that may become chronic causing additional hormonal imbalances that may result in endocrine system issues and more.

Underlying anxiety and/or bouts of depression may also lead to stomach and gastrointestinal problems including an unhealthy gut.

In fact, over 90% of the body’s production of serotonin, important for regulating emotions and mood, is produced in the gut. These feel-good hormones help to prevent or resolve stress, anxiety and can improve overall mood in some patients.

Special Note Regarding Estrogen Dominance

The body deactivates estrogen, the female hormone, by the liver, and that estrogen then gets pushed back to the intestines to eventually filter outside of the body via stool. If this is blocked or delayed, the patient may notice symptoms of PMS, ovarian cysts, weight gain, and increased anxiety.

Sign #5: You Have Numerous Allergies and/or Food Sensitivities

It is very common for people with an unhealthy gut to have numerous allergies that include many types of food sensitivities. The main causes of these problems are inflammatory foods like dairy products or those with gluten.

This is often caused by a “leaky gut” where the gastrointestinal system leaks into the blood supply and results in the body triggering the immune system to become hyper-reactive causing discomforts.

A healthy gut should have an important balance of “good microbes” or bacteria. When something causes this gut bacteria or microbial flora to become disruptive, this can also trigger that inflammatory response thought to be an underlying cause of many allergies and sensitivities

Effective & Easy Strategies to Improve Overall Gut Health

Fortunately, there are some easy and effective strategies to improve your overall gut health.

Add More Healthy Nutrients to Your Diet Known to Help Resolve Gut Issues

Try to add gut-healing foods like colorful fruits and vegetables. Choose the ones that are full of fiber and nutrients and try to eat one with every meal if possible.

Decreasing the number/amount of inflammatory foods can also promote better gut health. Another gut health boost is to ingest prebiotic fiber and more resistant starch by way of diet. Select foods that support your body’s immune system and gut health.

These foods include:

  • Asparagus
  • Flax Seeds
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Green Bananas
  • Chicory Root
  • Cooked or Cooled Potatoes & Rice
  • Chia Seeds

Avoid Added Sugar in Your Dietary Routine

Another intriguing symptom of an unhealthy gut is sugar cravings. This happens often if there is an underlying gut infection that causes an overgrowth of yeast. SIBO and yeast overgrowth inside the gut can cause these intense sugar cravings because this is what yeast feeds off naturally.

Consider Taking a Probiotic & Postbiotic

Health experts call good bacteria probiotics, and these microbes are essential for a healthy gut and overall body condition. These probiotics will feed off of what is termed prebiotic fiber that then produces postbiotics.

These postbiotics are metabolites that become the energy source for the delicate cells that line the colon in a healthy person.

Diets that are high in sugar and low in fiber, antibiotic therapy, many medications, and hormonal imbalances can all impact and change this normal microbial balance within the gut.

There are some terrific probiotic and postbiotic products that can help to ensure that your body is getting enough of these important entities.

Get Plenty of Restorative Sleep Each Night

Not getting enough hours of truly restorative sleep each night can also disrupt the normal flora within the gastrointestinal tract leading to poor overall health. Take steps to ensure better sleep, and consider using stress-reducing measures to support a healthy gut and improve your overall health and well-being.

For more information about Gut Health, book your appointment with Dr. Tiffani Fries, DC today!