As we learned in the previous blog post (https://thepure.ca/gut-health-101) gut health is extremely important to our overall health. But how do we know that something is off balance in our gut? Are there signs that we should be looking out for?
Our body is always communicating with us via symptoms and when things are off balance in the gut, the body gives us signals. Sometimes those signals are quite loud and sometimes they are subtle. If left unresolved, these gut symptoms can develop into chronic conditions.
Here are 5 ways to tell if your gut needs some TLC (tender loving care)
- You are constipated.
Poop talk is not always fun, but our bowel movements contain a lot of information about the state of our gut. And it is NOT normal to have a bowel movement every few days. We should aim for at least one good bowel movement a day. Our body removes toxins through bowel movements and if you are constipated it means that those toxins are not being removed as readily as they should be.
- You experience gas & bloating
An embarrassing topic for many people but an essential one to discuss for gut health. Gas is produced by the gut bacteria and not our human cells. Some gas is normal but excessive gas and bloating is not. Excessive bloating could mean that there is an excess of bad bacteria in your gut and some of these may have translocated into the small intestines. Most of the gut bacteria live in the colon but if they move into the small intestines and start digesting the food there it can lead to persistent bloating.
- You have diarrhea /loose stools on a regular basis
Just like constipation, diarrhea/loose stools is NOT normal for the gut. It means that the food is moving too quickly through the gut likely leading to malabsorption of nutrients. If you consistently experience diarrhea/loose stools, it could lead to depletion of essential nutrients that our body needs to support itself. Diarrhea could be a sign of inflammation in the gut which if not addressed could lead to more chronic issues.
- You experience heartburn
A very common problem that is also NOT normal for the gut. The standard treatment for heartburn is acid reducing medications which work in the short term to reduce symptoms of heart burn, however, they don’t address the root cause of the heart burn. Acid suppressing medications suppress the symptoms of heart burn but if you want to identify the root cause of the heart burn, it requires a deeper dive into the condition of the gut.
- You have food sensitivities
Food sensitivities can be resolved if you take away the food, but this is not very practical. If you are sensitive to whole foods that are nourishing for the body, it’s quite likely that the issue is not with the food but with the gut. Food intolerances can manifest themselves as sensitivity reactions such as itching, runny nose, hives, joint pain, stomach pain, headache and nausea/ diarrhea after consuming certain foods. A disruption in the gut bacteria and or the lining of the gut has been implicated in food sensitivities. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7346163/ . An elimination diet followed by gut healing should be considered as a treatment for food sensitivities.
These are just few of the more obvious signs the body gives us when it is looking for some attention for the digestive system. By addressing these issues early on we can prevent further damage to the gut and our overall health.
Yours in Health & Wellness,
Aziza Amarshi, BSc, RPh, RHN
Pharmacist| Holistic Nutritionist| Wellness Coach