When you’re gut is happy and healthy, the rest of your body will usually follow suit. There have also been demonstrated links between good health and mood, mental health, endocrine disorders, skin conditions and even cancer.
Trillions of bacteria live in our guts – and it’s important to keep them happy, or you could find yourself not only with an upset tummy but feeling ill in a whole host of ways. Bacteria and other microbes, such as fungi and viruses, live in our guts, playing a critical role in digestion, immune function and weight regulation
Every gut is different – but there are some common signs to watch out for and plenty of ideas to suggest for people who want to stay well.
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Signs that something might be wrong with your gut
Bloating and constipation could occur in people suffering from gut difficulties – because an unhealthy gut can be like a blocked drain.
On the other end of the spectrum, people struggling with their gut might not be able to stop their bowel movements.
Perhaps the most obvious sign of an unhealthy gut is having an upset stomach.
Extremely dark, or clay coloured, poos on a consistent basis can be a sign that your tummy needs looking at by a doctor.
Some pass it, some don’t. When it’s particularly smelly, however, it’s worth looking at what you’re eating.
Certain vegetables including sprouts and cabbage come with side orders of sulphur, leading to smellier wind and more troubled tummies.
Having an unhealthy gut can cause sleep disturbances such as insomnia and poor sleep, which can lead to chronic fatigue.
This is because the majority of the sleep hormone serotonin is produced in the gut.
This means that damage and imbalance can impact your ability to get adequate rest and even result in mood swings or changes.
If you’ve recently gained or lost a lot of weight without making any significant changes to your diet or exercise habits, it could be a sign of an unhealthy gut.
If your gut is in imbalance, it could restrict its ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar and store fat.
Weight loss might also occur due to a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
On the other hand, weight gain could be caused by insulin resistance, or your appetite might increase due to decreased nutrient absorption.
Skin irritation and conditions like eczema could be linked to poor gut health.
This is because of increased “leaking” of certain portions into the body which may cause irritation.
What you can do to help
Probiotics are thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut (including your stomach and
Often, probiotics come in yoghurts, but those with sensitivities to dairy can find probiotics in tablet form at health food shops or stores like Boots.
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If you’ve been suffering from an acute vomiting or diarrhea bug, rehydration sachets like Dioralyte are a good option.
Monitoring your diet
If you’re concerned that you may have sensitivities to a certain ingredient such as gluten or lactose, it’s always worth trying to take that out of your diet for a couple of months.
Another common misconception is that more fibre, fruits and vegetables are the answer to all gut problems. In fact, high doses of fiber can make complaints like irritable bowel syndrome worse.