7 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut: It May Not Be Indigestion

7 minute read

You gut does so much more than process the food you eat. Along with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and expulsion of waste, your gut plays an important role in your overall health.

With the majority of your immune system living in your gut, and these friendly microbes promoting health, it is essential to maintain optimal gut health to avoid serious disease. Being able to identify when your gut is not operating the way it should is an important part of solving this problem.

Going Above and Beyond Your Gut

Your gut is where digestion occurs, but the health and function of your gut also impacts the rest of your body. Any imbalance in the gut microbiome can cause a chain of negative reactions throughout the body.

Overuse of antibiotics, poor diet, poor dental hygiene, stress and anxiety, and a lack of exercise can all cause the bacterial balance in your gut to get out of whack.

It is critical to your health to understand when your gut is in need of attention. Ensuring that you maintain a balanced and happy gut can benefit your body in several ways:

♦ Enhanced immune system to fight invading pathogens

♦ More energy is made available from the digestion of the food you eat

♦ Levels of feel-good chemicals, like serotonin, are increased in the brain

♦ Your body is more efficient at detoxifying and expelling waste

♦ Improved digestion and nutrient absorption

While it may seem odd to take care of bacteria and fungi, the ones living in your gut are beneficial and neglecting them can lead to an impaired immune system. Because the health of your gut impacts the health of the rest of your body, signs can appear anywhere telling you that your gut is in distress.

Listen to Your Gut

There are a few key symptoms you can look out for to identify if you gut is unhealthy and in need of attention.

1. Unhappy Stomach

When you notice frequent diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or heartburn, your stomach could be trying to tell you that something is not right. Eating meals high in carbohydrates often triggers upset stomach when you have digestive troubles.

Too many carbohydrates are difficult for an unbalanced gut to process. Without correction, this can lead to inflammatory bowel disease or colitis.

2. Unexpected Changes on the Scale

There are certain strains of gut bacteria that can cause weight gain or loss when they colonize in your small intestine. This bacterial overgrowth means there are too many microbes interfering with nutrient and fat absorption, and this can cause you to lose weight.

There are also bacteria strains that interfere with the harvesting of calories from your food, which can cause you to gain weight. If you are noticing unexpected changes in weight, you may need to get your gut bacteria back in check.

3. Not Sleeping Well

Gut bacteria imbalances can also contribute to fatigue and fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as insomnia. A lack of serotonin prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, and this can be related to bacterial activities in your gut.

While a lack of sleep can be caused by a number of things, you may want to check on your gut, just in case it needs some probiotic help.

4. Changes in Your Skin

You may notice increased rashes or breakouts, as well as eczema when you have an unhealthy gut.

| Related: The Gut-Skin Axis—How Gut Bacteria Can Relieve Skin Allergies |

In addition to this, bad bacteria increase your risk for leaky gut syndrome, which allows toxins to travel through your bloodstream. These toxins are a major contributor to skin breakouts.

5. Feeling Blue

Serotonin affects your mood as well as your sleep habits. Since this neurotransmitter is produced in the gut, an unhealthy gut will impact your mood.

Reduced serotonin levels can cause negative moods and even depression. The gut-brain axis allows for direct communication between your brain and gut and when one is unhealthy, the other is affected.

If you are feeling down more often, it may not be the circumstances around you. It may be an imbalanced gut.

6. Unhealthy Cravings

The occasional sweet tooth is one thing, but if you find that you regularly crave sweet and sugary foods, you may have a gut flora imbalance.

Overgrowth of certain bacteria causes increased sugar cravings, as this is the food that the bacteria desire most. Typically a course of antibiotics can cause your gut balance to get out of whack, and this is when harmful strains take over.

When they start craving sugar, you start craving sugar, and it could be time to get things balanced in your favor again.

7. Autoimmune Conditions

The development of autoimmune disorders has also been linked to an unhealthy gut and bacterial imbalance. Rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis have both been linked to gut bacteria and imbalance can cause or worsen symptoms.

| Related: Probiotics Give Your Immune System a Big Boost |

Much of this has to do with the role gut bacteria plays in your immunity. An unhealthy balance triggers an inflammatory response which causes and contributes to the development of many serious diseases, including autoimmune disorders.

The Bottom Line

Your gut plays many more roles in your body than just digesting food. Because of the invaluable community of beneficial bacteria living in your gut, your overall health depends greatly on them.

Make sure you pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. Keeping your gut bacteria in balance and ensuring that harmful strains do not take over is the best way to promote optimal digestion and optimal overall health.

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