Having an unhealthy gut can take a toll on your overall health; it can make you question a lot about your health without knowing where the problems lie. Before we can know the signs of an unhealthy gut, let’s take you through what gut health is and the major cause of an unhealthy gut.
What is Gut health?
In medical terms, a gut is the digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal tract–this refers collectively to the stomach, small and large intestine. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells known as “Gut Microbiome” that help fight off infectious bacteria, viruses and fungi. The gut is unhealthy when its microbiome comprises more infectious bacteria than healthy ones. A healthy gut digests your food effectively and is also in active communication with the brain, which helps maintain general health.
Why is gut health important?
Apart from the few reasons above, there are a lot of reasons a health gut is important. The gut plays a vital role in immune function with its wall providing a barrier that prevents infectious organisms from entering but in a condition where the gut is unhealthy, the protective barrier becomes permeable and those infectious organism could pass through into the bloodstream which would then be spread all over the body causing various infection.
Research has also shown that our gut health influences our mental health which is the reason the gut is often known as the “second brain or little pilot” as it has the power to stimulate our nervous system by sending a message to our brain through our nerves. The communication between gut and brain is known as the gut brain axis, having a poor gut health may lead to a miscommunication between the gut and the brain, which may affect your emotions and the way your brain processes things.
Before we know signs of an unhealthy gut, we’d go through what a healthy gut looks like and the best way to tell you have a healthy gut is by;
- How often you poop (gut Transit Time): there isn’t an accepted number of times a person can poop, but it ranges from 3 times a day to 3 times a week
- Consistency of the poop: a perfect poop should not be runny or overly hard
- Pain-free poop: pooping with no pain and struggle shows a good gut health
- Energized and clear-headed: waking up energized and clear headed
Now we’ve gone through the signs of a healthy gut, you should be able to know the signs of an unhealthy gut.
Signs of an unhealthy gut are:
- Upset stomach: regular discomfort, gas bloating, constipation, diarrhea and heartburn could all be signs of an unhealthy gut.
- Frequent tiredness: chronic fatigue could be a sign of an unhealthy gut. In fact, one study found that almost half of the people with irritable bowel syndrome had chronic fatigue.
- Sleep disturbances: an unhealthy gut can cause poor sleeping patterns in some individuals, which leads to fatigue.
- Food intolerance: food intolerance could occur because of the poor quality of bacteria in the gut.
- Unintentional weight loss or gain: when there’s an imbalance in your gut, your body could gain weight because of bacteria over growth and its inability to store fat or lose weight because of its inability to absorb nutrient.
- Skin irritation: an unhealthy gut may lead to some skin condition like acne, eczema, etc.
- Autoimmune problems: When your gut is imbalanced, your body may struggle to absorb nutrients, store fat and regulate blood sugar, which could trigger some autoimmune disorders like thyroid issues, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, etc.
- Constant headaches: studies suggest that people with frequent headaches are more likely to have gut issues.
- Mood swings: gut problems can lead to depression and anxiety.
So what may cause an unhealthy gut? Well, the following are some of the most major cause of an unhealthy gut or a poor gut health.
- Too much stress
- Having too little sleep
- Consumption of overly processed and high sugar food and drinks
- Taking excess of antibiotics
- Poor water intake
- Poor exercise
How do you balance your gut health to make it healthier? Well, by doing the exact opposite from the causes of an imbalanced gut health. Like;
- Reducing your stress level and having regular exercise.
- Having enough sleep about 8 hours of sleep
- Plan meals and choose a healthier option for your health, like fresh and minimally processed foods
- Stop smoking or taking illegal drugs
- Weight management if overweight
At HealthRite, we can help you manage and follow the steps above to achieve not only a healthier body but a healthier mind Click Here to find out more about this service
Dix M., and Klein E. (2022, june 1) Understanding Gut Health: Signs of an Unhealthy Gut and What to Do About It, healthline, accessed 1 August 2022 (https://www.healthline.com/health/gut-health#effect-on-health)
Frederick Health (2021, july 29) 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut Frederick Health, accessed 1 August 2022 (https://www.frederickhealth.org/news/2021/july/10-signs-of-an-unhealthy-gut/)
Patino E. (2020, june 10) 9 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut — and What You Can Do About It, Everyday health, accessed 1 August 2022 (https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/signs-of-unhealthy-gut-and-how-to-fix-it/)