5-Signs You Have Gut Issues
So what is your microbiome anyways?
Our microbiome or your gut is composed of a collection of microorganism’s nearly 300-500 different kinds of bacteria composed of 2 million genes that help protect our gut from other living organisms that enter our body, digest our food and play an important role in our well-being. Every person’s gut biome is unique and is composed from your mother’s microbiota, the environment you were exposed to at birth, diet and lifestyle. The bacteria live throughout our body but also line our digestive system, intestines and colon. Our microbiome affects everything from our metabolism, bowel movements, immune system and can also be tied to many other health issues such as diabetes, obesity, depression and colon cancer. Therefore if someone is experiencing microbiome issues these disturbances can cause a plethora of gut problems that have a snowball effect.
Sign 1: Bloating
When your gut is happy the rest of your body usually is in some sort of synchrony but if it is out of whack issues may arise and this is called gut dysbiosis. One of these signs can oftentimes be bloating. It is normal to experience bloat every once and awhile especially after eating high fiber foods, eating fast or being stressed. However, when someone has had chronic bloat for years, it is a good idea to get a gut biome test done. This test will decipher what type of good and bad bacteria is in your current microbiome. With these results you and a practitioner can decipher what types of supplements such as digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics etc you should be on. From this test your practitioner can decide if something more serious is going on such as small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which is often a culprit for ongoing bloat, and other small intestine related issues.
Sign 2: Diarrhea or Constipation
Occasional, diarrhea or constipation can be normal especially if you experience it after traveling, stress, food changes, lack of water or being sick. People who suffer through constipation usually have some sort of gut imbalance or irritable bowel syndrome. Typically, researchers have found people who suffer from constipation have lower levels of certain types of bacteria in their gut. Therefore when they get on a steady probioitc supplement that specifically gas higher levels of Bifidobacteria it can help improve digestions. When it comes to regular loose stool this could be a sign of a bacterial overgrowth, parasites of an infection. Diarrhea can also make your gut health worse by pushing out the good bacteria in your gut and further contributing to gut dysbiosis.
Sign 3: Autoimmune Conditions
When we leave our gut out of balance for an extended period of time multiple diseases can be exacerbated such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. A lot of this has to do with digestion and absorption purposes as our body has a complicated gastrointestinal system and does not work well when bacteria is out of order. Complications such as nutrients not being absorbed due to a thick biofilm, lack of peristalsis contractions, exposure to bacteria and toxins to name a few. Numerous factors can affect the gut to cause excess inflammation such as poor diet and lack of essential micronutrients, lack of hydration, stress, alcohol, antibiotics and bacterial dysbiosis. How do these factors play into gut dysbosis?
- Poor Diet- a diet with a lack of micronutrients / processed foods and excess sugars can reduce your good gut flora and increase gas-producing bacteria
- Lack of hydration- proper hydration helps your body maintain proper function while a dehydrated state will cause an imbalance of fluids in your gut and contribute to further inflammation
- Stress- when our body experiences stress, it will shut down non-essential activities such as digestion and uses chemical messengers to direct its resources and energy to the brain and muscles. Therefore this can largely influence our microbiome.
- Alcohol- regular and heavy alcohol consumption can encourage an overgrowth of bacteria while reducing good bacteria in the gut. This ultimately leads to excess inflammation and can allow toxins to enter the bloodstream.
- Antibiotics- taking antibiotics can largely change the amount of bacteria in the gut. These changes in the gut can lead to gut dysbosis with associated diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestingal side effects.
Sign 4: Sleep Disturbances
At this point it may seem like every symptom a person can experience may be a sign that something is off in their gut biome. Even your normal sleep disturbances can be attributed to a gut imbalance. When someone’s sleep is off it can contribute to chronic fatigue as well and result in poorer quality of life. The majority of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and affects your mood and sleep. Therefore a damaged gut can impair your ability to have a good nights rest. If there is a gut imbalance some sleep disturbances have also been attributed to fibromyalgia, which is a chronic pain condition.
Sign 5: Food Intolerances
Often times are body will respond negatively if we are eating foods that we are sensitive to which is from an IgG standpoint. Foods that you are truly allergic to are IgE allergies versus foods that you are sensitive to meaning they cause an inflammatory response in your body are IgG. If you are regularly eating these foods they will induce further inflammation in your gut, which can cause various problems. In fact food sensitivies are the main cause of issues such as leaky gut. If you repeatedly leave them in your diet problems will exacerbate.
Author: Tessa Mini owner of Bare Health