digestive system structure
digestive system structure

Signs of an Unhealthy Gut and How to Treat It

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An unhealthy gut can lead to a myriad of other health problems and conditions, such as poor mood, skin conditions, declining mental health, endocrine disorders and even cancer.

Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut

There are a number of signs that your gut isn’t working properly. Some of these signs can be obvious, such as constipation, but some signs are not so obvious.

The major things to look for are:

  • Skin irritation: If you begin to get irritated or dry skin and aren’t sure of the cause, it could come down to your gut health. If you have a food allergy or poor diet, this can cause proteins to leak from the gut, which can cause many skin conditions, like eczema.
  • Food intolerance: This is slightly different to an allergy but when you consume certain foods, you may notice that your body doesn’t react well to it. The most common food intolerances are to wheat or dairy. The symptoms of a food intolerance can be diarrhea, nausea, bloating and increased gas. Food intolerances often occur due to poor gut health.
  • Upset stomach: If you get an upset stomach often, you may have an unhealthy gut. The main symptoms of this are similar to that of a food intolerance, as well as other symptoms like constipation and heartburn. When you have an unhealthy gut, your body will find it more difficult to process and eliminate food waste, causing pain in your stomach.
  • Weight changes: If you are losing or gaining weight without much change to your diet or exercise regime, if may be signs of an unhealthy gut. If your gut is unhealthy, it can have a harder time taking in the nutrients it needs, retaining fat, and regulating your blood sugar levels. This may cause weight loss or weight gain. If you find yourself hungrier than normal, speak to your doctor.
  • Fatigue: Gut health is directly linked to fatigue and poor sleep. Serotonin, which is the hormone that impacts both sleep and mood, is created by the gut. If your gut cannot work properly, serotonin will not be produced and you may struggle to fall and stay asleep.

How to Treat an Unhealthy Gut

There are many things that can help with an unhealthy gut, from treatments to lifestyle changes.

Below we look at some of the main ways to treat an unhealthy gut.

Colon Hydrotherapy

Colon hydrotherapy is a treatment where water is flushed through the colon via a tube that is passed through the rectum. This can help to flush out waste. This treatment should only be carried out by a trained healthcare professional.

There are many benefits of colon hydrotherapy, such as relief of constipation, boosting the immune system and regulating your bowel movements.  Before undergoing it, speak to a specialist.

Taking Probiotics

yogurt in a small cup
Photo by Sara Cervera on Unsplash

A probiotic is a supplement that can improve the health in your gut.  There are bacteria that live inside your gut and, usually, these bacteria are good, which means they can help with digestion and the absorption of food.

If you have an unhealthy gut, you may have too many bad bacteria, or not enough bacteria for your gut to work normally. Probiotics can encourage the growth of this good bacteria, improving your gut health.

You can also find probiotic yoghurt drinks, which can be drank every morning to stimulate good bacteria in the gut.

Changing Your Diet

Gut health can be affected by your diet, so if you eat a lot of processed foods, or foods containing a lot of sugar, you could be further damaging your gut. High-sugar and high-fat foods should be kept to a minimum, whereas protein and vegetables can improve the health of your gut.

If you have been struggling with constipation, you may need to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Fiber has been proven to improve gut health tremendously. If you aren’t sure how to change your diet or what you need, speak to your doctor who can guide you. Don’t change your diet too quickly, as a sudden change in diet may make you feel worse.

Lower Stress Levels

man feeling stressed
Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

Stress and gut health are directly linked, and becoming less stressed can improve the health of your gut, and vice versa. Stress can have a significant impact on all our bodily functions and if you live in a constant state of stress, your body will begin to go into survival mode, making it harder to digest foods and go to the toilet.

To lower your stress levels, try to remove yourself from situations that increase your stress levels, meditate, exercise, get out in nature, switch off your phone and remain present, get a pet, diffuse essential oils, go for a walk, or spend time with loved ones.

Keep Hydrated

The gut needs plenty of hydration to do its job properly. This means consuming eight glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated with water can have a positive effect on the lining in the intestines, which can help to process and digest foods.

Staying hydrated will also promote the good bacteria that live in your gut. This is a simple way to treat gut health, especially if you don’t drink enough.

Eat Slowly

Sometimes our gut health is affected by how quickly we eat. If you tend to eat your meals within the space of a few minutes, you likely haven’t chewed your food enough. When this gets down to your gut, your body will have a much harder time processing it.

Eating slowly allows for better and easier digestion, as well as better absorption of nutrients.

Knowing the signs of an unhealthy gut is essential to know when treatment is needed. If you think you have an unhealthy gut and are struggling with your symptoms, find a treatment center or speak to your doctor today.

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