There is constant competition in our digestive system between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria — and when the good guys outweigh the bad guys, you have a healthy gut. On the flip side, when gut flora is out of whack, your health may suffer. You may notice a few symptoms if you have reduced gut health. Here are seven of the most common signs.
Bloating is generally described as a feeling of fullness or discomfort, accompanied by swelling of the stomach. While feeling bloated after eating a large meal is normal, frequent distention that lasts for more than an hour after a meal may be an indicator your gut flora isn’t functioning optimally.
Evidence indicates that an imbalance of bacteria may contribute to constipation — a condition where you may have fewer than three bowel movements a week and stools that are hard, dry, lumpy or difficult to pass. Constipation is usually successfully countered by eating a diet high in fibre. Other factors that contribute to constipation include a low fluid intake, lack of regular exercise and certain medications.
3 You’re often run-down
A huge proportion of your immune system resides in your gut. So, if the ‘bad’ bacteria are crowding out the ‘friendly’ types, they may affect and compromise immune function, reducing the likelihood of warding off bugs and germs.
4 Unintentional weight changes
There are numerous factors that impact weight. But, in addition
to those, a gut imbalance can cause problems with nutrient absorption, blood sugar regulation, fullness ‘signals‘, and fat storage.
5 Skin irritations
New research is showing how a variety of common skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, may be a sign of
poor gut health.
6 Mood swings
The gut microbiome also has the potential to influence our mental state. Up to 90 per cent of serotonin — a key happiness neurotransmitter — is produced by our gut bacteria, which is why the gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain’.
7 Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Experiencing a cluster of digestive issues, including wind, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation and abdominal pain, can be signs of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common condition that affects as many as 30 per cent of Australians and Kiwis. These symptoms are also common in several other bowel conditions, so it’s important to consult a doctor to rule out other causes before IBS can be diagnosed.
For advice on improving your gut health, we recommend: Your complete guide to boosting your gut health and 10 ways to reset your gut health.