Oct 5, 2021
How To Pinpoint Gut Problems
Everyone picks up some bad bacteria as we go about our daily routine. The difference is that a person with a healthy gut has plenty of positive flora to balance things out, so you feel great! With gut problems, there just aren’t enough healthy microbes, and invaders start overwhelming your defenses. How can you tell if your gut is healthy or not?
What Are the Warning Signs of Gut Problems?
The more of these warning signs you have at the same time, the more likely that something is off in your gut:
- New digestive problems (constipation, diarrhea or bloating)
- Excessive fatigue, tiredness or weakness
- Repeated trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Strange skin rashes or new allergies
- Unexplained anxiety or depression
- Significant weight changes (loss or gain)
- Strong cravings for sugar or junk food
- Frequent migraines
Many serious conditions are also related to poor gut health, such as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and chronic depression. According to the Arthritis Foundation, inflammation caused by gut problems may even trigger autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and gout.
How Can You Find the Source of Gut Problems?
There are four main ways to get to the bottom of things for poor gut health:
- Learn What Your Gut Needs
First, the obvious: making sure you're taking care of your gut’s needs. After all, if you never changed the oil in your car, it wouldn’t be surprising for the motor to start having problems, right? A healthy gut requires four things:
- Prebiotics: Prebiotics are good foods that help positive bacteria thrive. They include whole grains, leafy greens, garlic, onions and bananas.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are actual good bacteria themselves. If your levels of positive bacteria are low, you can take probiotics to make them into a solid fighting force again. Yogurt, sauerkraut and probiotic supplements all help.
- Water: Water helps every step of digestion, from keeping things moving smoothly through the intestines to breaking down what you eat so your body can absorb the nutrients.
- Sleep: Getting plenty of sleep boosts your ranks of positive bacteria.
- Use Your Digestive Detective Skills
Some people are sensitive to specific foods or medications. Other people have gut problems not so much because of what they eat, but when they eat. Skipping breakfast or eating meals at different times every day can mess with digestion.
Try taking notes for a month. What did you eat when you had digestive troubles? Is there a pattern? You may be sensitive to dairy without realizing it, or carbonated beverages may be triggering those bouts of bloating or heartburn.
- Talk With Your Doctor
If any digestive problems scare you, you should call your doctor right away:
- Severe stomach/abdominal pain
- Bloody Stool
- Diarrhea that lasts more than 48 hours
Your doctor can request lab tests that search for harmful bacteria. Imaging tests such as MRIs and CT scans check the digestive system for problems. There are even digital colonoscopies that let physicians look at the structure of your digestive organs without putting anything inside you.
- Always Take Probiotics After Antibiotics
Antibiotics destroy healthy bacteria along with the bad. Only take antibiotics if your doctor insists you need them.
Afterwards, get those levels of healthy bacteria back up as soon as possible with a probiotic supplement.