From GERD to IBS, digestive diseases affect over 70 million Americans every year. At Knox Wellness Experience in Knoxville, TN, we understand how important your gut health is to your quality of life. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how to tell whether your gut is unhealthy and how to improve the health of your gut. Keep reading to learn more.
How Can You Tell When Your Gut Is Unhealthy?
You Have Abdominal Discomfort
Abdominal discomfort is one of the most common signs that your gut is unhealthy. Some people with poor gut health experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Others suffer from constipation or heartburn. Some people with an unhealthy gut experience general discomfort in the abdominal region. Regardless, it is rare for someone to have an unhealthy gut and not experience an upset stomach regularly.
You Suffer From Chronic Fatigue
There are a number of possible causes of chronic fatigue, but there is a very strong chance that you are suffering from an unhealthy gut if you experience both abdominal discomfort and fatigue. Some people with an unhealthy gut notice physical fatigue. Others notice they are far more mentally fatigued than they once were. Regardless, you should not be surprised if your gut is imbalanced if you suffer from chronic physical or mental fatigue.
You Suffer From Insomnia
There is also a strong possibility that your gut is imbalanced if you suffer from insomnia. Your gut is responsible for most of the production of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is essential for a number of processes, including your mood and ability to sleep soundly throughout the night. Whether you are experiencing gut inflammation or an imbalance between the bad and good gut bacteria, sleep problems are common for people with an unhealthy gut.
You Suffer From Food Intolerances
Another sign that your gut health is poor is an intolerance to certain foods. If you feel sick after eating something with gluten, for example, the cause may be an insufficient number of bacteria in the gut that can break down gluten. Some of the most common signs of food intolerance are abdominal pain, nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea due to the inability to break down certain foods completely.
You Suffer From Sugar Cravings
If you eat or drink too much sugar, you can end up with an excessive amount of bad bacteria in your gut. These bacteria are fueled by sugar, and when they’re hungry, they make you feel like you need to eat sugar. When you try to ignore your sugar cravings, you may go through physical withdrawals.
You Have Trouble Maintaining Your Weight
Another sign that your gut is not currently healthy is unintentional weight loss or gain. The more imbalanced your gut is, the more your body struggles to maintain ideal blood sugar levels, store fat, and absorb nutrients. If your body is struggling to store fat, you may lose a significant amount of weight unintentionally. However, if you have trouble regulating your blood sugar levels, you may overeat and unintentionally gain a lot of weight very quickly.
You Have Poor Skin Health
Poor skin health is another common indicator that the health of your gut is poor. When there are too many bad bacteria in your gut, you may notice such skin problems as acne outbreaks, chronic plaque psoriasis, or eczema.
You Suffer From Migraines
People with an unhealthy gut also commonly suffer from migraines. There is an even stronger possibility that your gut is unhealthy if you vomit or feel nauseous while going through a migraine. Furthermore, your gut may be unhealthy if you have chronic headaches even if you don’t suffer from migraines.
You Have Autoimmune Problems
Autoimmune problems are another sign that your gut may be unhealthy. For example, if you have too many bad bacteria in your gut, you may have such autoimmune problems as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, thyroid problems, or rheumatoid arthritis.
You Suffer From Mood Problems
Remember, your gut produces most of the serotonin in your body. Serotonin plays an important role in keeping your nervous system and mood stable. If you have an insufficient amount of serotonin, in addition to insomnia, you may suffer from such conditions as anxiety or depression.
What Can I Do To Improve My Gut Health?
Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to improve the health of your gut. However, if you feel like you’re having trouble staying hydrated, help from medical professionals may be necessary. For example, you may benefit from IV therapy. IV therapy also may be helpful if your problems are caused by an inability to properly absorb certain nutrients in your diet. Here are some other tips for improving the health of your gut.
Consume More Probiotics
Consuming more probiotics is another very effective step you can take to improve the health of your gut. Some people benefit the most from taking a probiotic supplement. However, other people find it fairly easy to change their diet a little bit to get enough probiotics to support a healthy gut. If you don’t want to take a daily nutritional supplement, consider fueling the healthy bacteria in your gut by eating and drinking more:
Some people have so much trouble absorbing nutrients through their diet that they need IV therapy to meet their nutritional goals. Others benefit from eating slower and shopping smarter. You will absorb more nutrients from your food if you chew your food more thoroughly and eat slower.
Furthermore, shopping smarter will go a long way in helping your gut health. Make sure most of your shopping takes place around the outside of the grocery store. Fruits, vegetables, and certain dairy products are great for fueling the healthy bacteria in your gut. On the other hand, foods found in the middle of the store are generally high in refined sugars and other processed ingredients that fuel the bad bacteria in your gut.
Try To Sleep Better
Even though an unhealthy gut can make it hard for you to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night, it is important that you do your best to get a good night’s sleep consistently. It is generally advisable to sleep for at least 7.5 hours every night. If you get plenty of quality sleep every night, your gut may produce more serotonin. Furthermore, a lot of your body’s digestion happens while you sleep.
If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night, make relaxation a part of your nighttime routine if it is not already. For example, you may want to take a relaxing hot bath before bed or take 30 minutes to journal about any recurring thoughts you’ve been having lately. It is also a good idea to not eat too close to bedtime and avoid vigorous exercise within an hour of when you want to fall asleep.
It is also very important that you do not smoke if you have an unhealthy gut. There are a number of ways smoking can affect your digestive system. Some of the most common side effects of smoking are ulcers and heartburn. However, you can also experience such complications as cancer and liver disease. If you are struggling to quit smoking, ask your primary care physician about what smoking cessation tools may benefit you and your lifestyle.
Even if you don’t have trouble sleeping, it is important that you take steps to reduce stress if you have an unhealthy gut. Research results indicate that chronic stress early in life increases the chance of irritable bowel syndrome. It may take some time to find effective stress reduction methods, but the benefits are well worth the time invested.
Yet another great thing you can do for the health of your gut is to get regular exercise. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, is great for circulation. This is good for the healthy microbes in your gut that help to keep your bowel movements regular.
Feel Like Your Best Self
Signs that your gut is unhealthy include abdominal discomfort, chronic fatigue, and insomnia. To improve your gut health, make sure that you stay hydrated, eat nutritiously, and exercise regularly. Contact us today at Knox Wellness Experience in Knoxville, TN to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about the health of your gut and what you can do for it.