Poor gut health is a major issue in recent eras. Gut health is an important component of human health; if it gets disturbed due to any reason whole body systems get disturbed. Gut health is very necessary for physical growth as well as mental growth. The foods we eat go through our gut and get absorbed in the blood and then in whole body cells. In case of poor gut health whole developmental processes slowed down.
Signs and Symptoms:
Following are the symptoms of poor gut health.
Stomach Pain: The patient feels pain in the stomach, especially after eating. Having stomach pain decreases oral intake. This impacts physical health and growth.
Sluggish Bowel Movement: Movement of the bowel slowed down, which results in delayed digestion of food and nutrients.
Bloating: Bloating is a feeling that the tummy is full of gas. The main cause of bloating is constipation, but it may be due to any other gynecological issues especially issues with ovaries and the uterus.
Acidity: People always complain of a burning sensation in the stomach and esophagus. This is due to over secretion of stomach acid usually known as hydrochloric acid and other stomach secretions. These acidic juices cause irritation in the stomach walls.
Diarrhea: Having loose stools frequently is one of the symptoms of poor gut health. More frequent diarrhea leads to malabsorption of nutrients which further leads to developmental issues.
Constipation: Constipation is a sign of poor gut health, this further leads to many other gut issues such as gas, bloating, headaches, abdominal pain, and fullness. Severe constipation leads to polyps and hemorrhoids.
Sleep problems: People with poor gut health have poor sleep in general.
Feeling nausea and vomiting: The patient will feel nausea and sometimes vomiting with severe constipation and more stomach juices. Some people induce vomit to get relief from pain.
Anxiety/Depression: Poor gut health leads a person to low mood depression or anxiety and vice versa.
Dehydrated skin: Poor gut health leads to dehydration due to low intake.
What are the causes of poor gut health?
Poor gut health may be due to a number of different reasons. Such as
Lower water intake: As water helps in the metabolism and transportation of nutrients in the human body, when water mixes with food it enhances the digestion of food and enhances its absorption, In case of low water intake digestion of food slows down.
Low fiber intake: Lower fiber portions in meals can lead to constipation.
Heavy consumption of sugars:
People using more sugar especially polysaccharides suffer from bloating and diarrhea. This is due to most of the polysaccharides are not digested in small intestines. They are passed into large intestines, where they are fermented by gut bacteria resulting in more production of gas. However, sugar intake should be limited in the diet.
Anxiety and depression: There is a strong relationship/connection between gut health and the brain. People with anxiety disorders experience more gastrointestinal issues, such as heart burning, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Similarly, people with depression have an issue of constipation.
Lack of physical exercise: Lack of physical exercise leads to indigestion, bloating, and constipation. Physical exercise improves digestion and mental relaxation which again have a positive impact on gut health.
Gut Diseases: Some intra-abdominal diseases such as irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and some kinds of cancers disturb gut health.
Use of Medication: The use of medications especially antibiotic disturbs the normal gut flora and cause diarrhea or sometimes constipation.
How to Improve Your Gut Health?
Gut health could be improved by following
Manage stress and anxiety level: Managing stress or anxiety improves gut health. People with severe gut inflammation or gastritis related to stress are well managed through anti-anxiety medications.
High-fiber diet: Use a high-fiber diet in your meals. A diet containing high fiber prevents constipation.
Drink plenty of water: Drinking more and more water helps in preventing constipation and keep the gut healthy.
Avoid Medications: Avoid or limit your medication list especially antibiotics to keep your normal flora in your gut. Anti-biotics kill and shed normal flora in the gut which causes other opportunistic infections. People on chemotherapy are also at risk for disturbed gut health. Constipation or diarrhea is the main side effect of chemotherapy.
Moreover, gut health mostly depends upon external factors such as food, stress, use of medications, poor lifestyle, and living standards. Gut health should be properly assessed by a healthcare professional as it links to too many other factors.