Your gut has a lot to tell you if you just take the time to listen. It speaks to you in many different ways, some obvious, like gas and cramping. Some others ways may not be as easily recognized as gut issues though. So let’s talk about 10 Clear Signs Your Gut Needs Attention Now.
Walk through this scenario with me:
It’s 8 pm, you’ve just finished tidying up the kitchen and getting stuff prepared for the next day. Now it’s finally time for your favorite activity of the day, TV time! You put on your pj’s and head back to the kitchen for a snack. What do you grab?
1.A glass of water to stay hydrated while you sleep, a handful of cut-up veggies and hummus, and a small bowl of nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips.
2.A soda, a bag of chips, a beef stick, some cookies, and a candy bar just in case.
Be honest with yourself. Which would you actually choose? No one is looking at you, no one will know how you answer. So just be honest.
Obviously, you know which one you should choose, but would you?
I can’t say I would 100% of the time. But that’s okay. Indulging occasionally isn’t why your gut is so unhappy. It’s choosing option #2 all the time that’s caused things to get a little wobbly and a whole lot of irregular.
What is the gut and why should you care?
Digestive problems can affect your entire body and really make your life miserable. From mild symptoms to severe ones, it can be difficult to pinpoint the causes. In fact, you may experience symptoms you don’t realize are related to your gut at all.
The gut refers to the parts of your gastrointestinal tract from the stomach to the intestines. It is the microbiome that is full of bacteria your body needs to properly digest food. The healthy bacteria in your gut helps to break down food so your body can get nutrients from it. The process is only possible when your digestive system is healthy and running smoothly.
Unfortunately, certain foods we eat in our modern world are actually hurting our guts by causing an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria. Too much unhealthy bacteria can lead to digestive discomfort and actually prevent our bodies from getting proper nutrients from the foods we eat.
A healthy happy gut helps your body stay healthy. Your gut does so much more for your body than you may realize. It works closely with your immune system to help you fight off infections, viruses, and chronic illnesses. It produces serotonin so you can fall asleep and stay asleep. Your gut communicates directly with your brain to help keep your mental health and hormones steady and well.
How can you tell if your gut is unhappy?
When your gut is out of whack and unhappy, you will likely notice within a short time. Certain symptoms are easily recognizable as occurring within your digestive tract causing you digestive discomfort.
Diarrhea, stomach pain, gas, or nausea may occur shortly after eating. If these symptoms happen just once or infrequently, you may not need to be concerned, although I suggest paying close attention to the food that triggered the event and consider avoiding that food in the future.
Where you really need to pay attention is when these symptoms and more occur frequently. If you find that every time you eat fried food, you need to run to the bathroom, your gut is trying to tell you something and you need to listen to it.
While some imbalances in your gut may fix themselves after a short time, others may become chronic which can lead to more serious issues and require medical attention.
Now let’s discuss the reason you’re here.
10 Clear Signs Your Gut Needs Attention Now
The signs of digestive problems go further than just some stomach cramping and diarrhea. As I mentioned before, your gut is linked to your overall health and well-being. Paying close attention to what your gut is telling you is the key to living a healthy life.
10 Signs Your Gut Needs Attention:
- Chronic or excessive gas
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Gaining or losing weight unintentionally
- Sugar cravings
- Trouble sleeping
- Skin conditions
- Autoimmune diseases
Bloating. I’m talking about the kind of bloating that occurs while you’re still eating. The kind that makes you feel overfull and miserable. Where your stomach goes from flat to 4 months pregnant in 5 minutes. The kind that is usually followed up by the next symptom in this list.
Excessive or chronic gas. This can be either burping or farting and is likely a whole lot of both. If you can’t control how much gas your body is releasing, you have a problem with your gut. While it’s normal to burp a couple of times after eating, if you’re still burping hours later, that isn’t normal.
Heartburn or acid reflux. I’m referring to that burning sensation in the back of your throat immediately following a meal or that feeling like you burped up a little stomach acid. This type of indigestion is an unmistakable sign something is amiss with your gut. You shouldn’t be popping an acid reducer after every meal. Plus, having stomach acid(see that word? ACID) shouldn’t be in your throat, it can cause serious damage to your esophagus and may lead to chronic disease.
Food allergies or intolerances. How many times have you heard someone say they used to be able to eat walnuts(or insert any other food here) when they were kids, but now they are allergic? A common one is dairy, right? Show of hands who used to drink a glass of milk every day growing up but now you avoid milk and all other dairy products like it’s poison because it essentially is for your digestion. It isn’t “normal” to just grow intolerant to a food. The intolerance is happening for a reason, that reason is your gut is imbalanced and is asking for help.
Headaches. Your gut and brain are linked by different systems throughout your body, your immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. It is called the gut-brain axis. While more research is still needed, many studies have shown a link between digestive problems and headaches. The next time you have a headache, try to take note of any food or drink you had prior to it as well as how your gut is feeling during the headache.
Gaining or losing weight unintentionally. The health of your gut plays a direct role in how much energy you have and how quickly and for how long you feel full. An unhealthy gut affects your absorption of nutrients which can lead to low energy levels, which then can cause weight gain. On the other hand, when your body isn’t getting proper nutrition, you may find that you are losing weight. Also, bloating can make you feel fuller faster, causing you to eat less because now you’re full of gas instead of food.
Sugar cravings. It’s a simple fact, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar your body craves. It’s a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, you consume sugar way more often than you even realize because sugar is hidden within foods you probably think aren’t sugary. Things like yogurt, crackers, bread, and more, adding countless amounts of sugar to your daily intake. Sugar causes your energy levels to spike and then drop quickly leaving your body craving more. Plus, sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever. Instead, your body uses even more energy trying to digest the sugar leaving you feeling unsatisfied and craving, you guessed it, even more sugar.
Trouble sleeping. Research is still being done on the link between an unhealthy microbiome(gut) and sleep problems. However, the gut does seem to affect the sleep-wake cycle and you already know how it affects hormones, including serotonin which helps you feel sleepy. If you’re experiencing sleep troubles, your diet may be to blame.
Skin conditions. Hello rosacea, I’m looking at you. There is a direct link between gut health and skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. As I said before your gut is linked to other systems in your body, including your skin. An unhealthy microbiome can lead to inflammation and excess oil reproduction on your skin, both can lead to these chronic skin conditions.
Autoimmune disease. What is autoimmune disease? It is a condition in which your immune system attacks your body. 80% of your immune system is found within the gut. Type 1 diabetes, lupus, IBS, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and Crohn’s Disease may all be linked to gut health. Without testing from a medical professional, you can’t tell if your autoimmune disease is caused by your gut health or not. If you suspect it could be, seek advice from your doctor.
I have some of these signs. What should I do next?
As a certified health coach, I can help you make some simple lifestyle changes that will improve your gut health as well as your overall well-being.
“Better gut health is a whole body experience”
While you cannot change your gut overnight, it can be done over time with the right mix of happy gut foods and a healthy lifestyle.
Are you ready to make a change?
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illness or disease. The information provided in this article is for general educational purposes, has not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA, and is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. It’s always a good idea to first rule out anything major before deciding to change your habits or diet to improve your gut health. Share your symptoms with your doctor so they can help you rule out a major illness. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices. Participation does not constitute a client-coach relationship.