GUT HEALTH 101: 7 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

My Doctor Finder
June 06, 2022

Ever heard the term "gut health" and wondered what it meant? Isn't a healthy gut just one that digests food properly? While this is correct, your gut health plays a key role in your overall health. You might think everything is going well, you probably just don’t think about it. In this article, we’ll find out what an unhealthy gut is, how to know if you have one, and what you can do about it.


What is Gut Health?

Gut health encompasses the health of the whole digestive system, from the esophagus to the intestine - the sections of our body responsible for breaking down food into specific nutrients that we use to run our bodies. Each area of the gut has a specific function, and various colonies of microorganisms break down food into more digestible forms.

Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms existing in the digestive system. Taking care of the gut and keeping the proper balance of these microbes is critical for physical and mental health, immunity, and others.

These trillions of bacteria, yeasts, and viruses are also referred to as the "gut microbiome" or "gut flora." Many of these microorganisms are helpful to human health, and some are even necessary for survival. Others can be dangerous, especially if they multiply.

7 Common Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

An unhealthy gut is a result of built-up toxins. Your diet has a big influence on the imbalance of different bacteria and the proliferation of fungi, both of which lead to an unpleasant environment in your gut. Low-fiber, high-sugar processed foods, and other nutrient-deficient, high-calorie alternatives are likely to contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast that all contribute to poor gut health.


1. Upset stomach

Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and heartburn can all be symptoms of an unhealthy gut. A healthy gut will have less trouble digesting meals and removing waste.


2. High-sugar cravings

A diet heavy in processed foods and added sweets can reduce the number of beneficial bacteria in your stomach. This imbalance can lead to increased sugar cravings, which can wreak even more havoc on your gut. High intakes of refined sugars, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, have been related to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a risk factor for a variety of illnesses, including cancer.


3. Unintentional weight gain or loss

Gaining or losing weight without making any adjustment to your diet or exercise routine might be an indication of an unhealthy gut. Poor gut health can hinder your body's capacity to absorb nutrients, control blood sugar, and accumulate fat. Also, the desire to overeat as a result of poor food absorption can cause weight gain.


4. Sleeping problems or constant fatigue

An unhealthy gut can cause sleep problems including insomnia or poor sleep, which can lead to chronic exhaustion. It is the gut that produces the majority of the body's serotonin, a hormone that influences mood and sleep. So, gut damage might hinder your capacity to sleep well.


5. Skin irritation

Eczema and other skin disorders may be linked to an unhealthy gut. Inflammation in the stomach caused by a poor diet or food allergies may result in increased "leaking" of specific proteins into the body, which can irritate the skin and cause illnesses such as eczema.


6. Food intolerances

Food intolerances occur because of difficulties in digesting specific foods (this is different from a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods). It is considered to be caused by poor gut health and might result in problems digesting the trigger foods as well as unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, and nausea.


7. Autoimmune Conditions


Medical experts are always discovering new evidence on the influence of gut health on the immune system. An unhealthy gut is considered to induce systemic inflammation and interfere with the immune system's appropriate functioning. This can result in autoimmune illnesses, in which the body attacks itself rather than external intruders.


How to Keep Gut Healthy

Keeping a healthy gut contributes to improved overall health and immune function.

By making a shift to a healthy lifestyle and dietary changes, you can maintain and improve the number of microbes in your gut for the better.

To improve your gut health, the key is to eat whole, unprocessed foods high in fiber such as veggies, beans, nuts, whole grains and to take probiotics or digestive enzymes as prescribed by your doctor. Also, it is important to avoid the consumption of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Developing good sleeping habits, managing stress, and exercising regularly can also help. If you have any health issues that you believe are related to your gut health, talk to your doctor about them. 


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