We’re just starting to understand the importance of good gut health. But, figuring out what our gut is telling us isn’t so easily recognized. Primarily since most of us don’t openly discuss what’s happening with our gut to our friends, so figuring out what’s “normal” is challenging.
When it comes to gut health, the signs of bad gut health are not instantly connected to the gut. After all, who knew our gut was connected to so many aspects of our health? Stay alert for these hidden signs that might be alerting you that something wrong is going on in your gut.
1. You Feel Weird After Eating
Sure, after eating a huge steak, or an overly dressed salad, heartburn and constipation are to be expected. But, if almost every time you eat something you feel bloated, constipated, or have diarrhea, it’s time to seek specialist help. Generally, when we experience these effects after eating, something is happening to your gut.
2. Your Sugar Cravings Are Uncontrollable
Yes, your mid-afternoon sugar craves might signal some bad news for your gut. It turns out. Research has found that gut bacteria secrete proteins that mimic hunger-regulating hormones. Eating a lot of sugar feeds the harmful bacteria that triggers the secretion of these hormones, thus making us crave more sugary treats. Eating more gut-friendly foods can eventually reduce your sugar cravings.
3. Suddenly You Have Food Sensitivities
It seems that suddenly everyone we know has some food sensitivity. People left, and right are claiming to be sensitive to gluten, fruits, carbohydrates, and every other food in the pyramid. Well, all these issues might be related to poor gut health.
When the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, aka leaky gut syndrome, large protein molecules filter back into your bloodstream. The only problem is that these proteins don’t belong outside the gut, which is why your immune systems charge in to destroy them, leading to food allergies and intolerance.
4. You’re Moody, Anxious, Depressed and Everyone Can Tell
Thanks to science, we now have a better understanding of the gut-brain axis. When your gut health is compromised, it can affect your mental health. Serotonin, for example, is mostly entirely housed in your gut. When your gut health is poor, you lose serotonin, which has been associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
5. Your Skin Has Gone Rogue
Beyond the gut-brain axis, scientists also discuss the importance of the gut-skin axis. So far, primary research and clinical studies prove that the state of your gut microbiome can directly impact your skin’s health. Good gut health proved beneficial in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis, eczema, and acne. While there’s more research needed to understand the connection, it appears there’s a direct line between what happens in our gut and our skin flare-ups.
6. You Have an Autoimmune Disorder
Some scary evidence proves that a specific gut microbe can indeed trigger autoimmune disease in mice. The same study found a similar microbe in people with autoimmune conditions. When the lining of the intestine is weak or breached, the bad gut microbe can leak into the bloodstream and nearby organs, which can cause disease.
7. Your Joints Have Seen Better Days
What happens in your gut can lead to joint pain and weakened joints. One study found a relationship between intestinal microbiota dysbiosis and osteoarthritis. Researchers found that people with poor lifestyle habits, poor diets, and obese individuals had greater chances of experiencing gut dysbiosis, which lead to low-grade inflammation that often resulted in osteoarthritis.
However, due to the full range of variables such as age, sex, and lifestyle choices, more research is needed to single out the effects of poor gut health and joint damage.
8. You Have Difficulties Pooping, to Say the Least
Listen, your bathroom trip should be a smooth and comfortable sail. Every time. You shouldn’t have to strain to poop every time. If you have difficulties pooping, it might indicate a fiber deficiency, which affects your bowel movements.
Other poop-related signs include seeing undigested food in your stool. When this happens, it could be the first sign of a gastrointestinal disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or celiac disease. Another not-so-known reality about poop is that if it floats, that signals too much fat in your diet. When this happens, your intestines might be damaged.
9. Your Stomach Hurts in That One Spot
We all experiencing stomach aches from time to time. However, lower abdominal pain should never be ignored. This type of pain could signal diverticulitis, aka intestinal inflammation. Any other stabbing stomach pain is no good either. Those also signs of worrisome inflammation.
10. You Feel Fatigued All-the-Time
Okay, you work 8-hours a day, workout for another hour, walk the dog, play with the kids, prep dinner, make sure lunches are packed and ready to go. You should feel exhausted all the time. If you can’t pinpoint your exhaustion, then something is going on with your body, specifically your gut.
Low energy levels often signal anemia or undetected bleeding somewhere in the intestines. Making sure to speak to your doctor about your fatigue is critical for your health.
11. Your Weight Is on a Rollercoaster
One month you gain weight, the next you lose weight, all without explanation. Weight fluctuations can be an alert that something is happening with your gut. So far, evidence points out that gut microbiota plays a direct role in obesity. It might have to be related to what we eat. Those with a diet high in fat and processed carbs showed increased bacteria linked to obesity.
Also, other studies have found that maintaining proper gut health is essential to treat obesity and reduce body weight, fat, and overall body mass index. If you feel your weight has been on an endless rollercoaster, consider speaking to a specialist.
How to Improve Your Gut Health
If, after reading these alerting signs, you noticed you identify with more than one, speak with a specialist as soon as possible. Make sure you’re making the right lifestyle changes to improve your gut health.
- Eat a diverse range of foods
- Indulge in fruits and veggies
- Add more fermented foods to your diet
- Stay away from sweets and artificial sweeteners
- Add more probiotic-rich foods to your diet
- Eat more whole grains
- Try a plant-based diet
- Incorporate a probiotic supplement
Finally, make sure you’re keeping up with the latest advice and news about gut health here.