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Digestive problems are far from rare. In a recent study, nearly two-thirds of more than 70,000 Americans surveyed experienced one or more gastrointestinal symptoms in the previous week, including heartburn/reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation. The National Institutes of Health estimate that 70 million Americans every year are affected by digestive diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD), and more.
Your gut health is influenced by many factors, some of which you can change to improve how your digestive system functions. While family and genetic history play a role, stress, lifestyle, and diet all have a significant impact on your microbiome and its effect on your digestion. The microbiome—the billions of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in your intestines—ideally helps you process and extract energy from the food you eat, clear toxins, fight disease, and improve your mood. When the balance of the microbiome is off, perhaps after an illness or a course of antibiotics, symbiotic bacteria can be outnumbered by harmful bacteria, stopping the normal helpful interactions and producing uncomfortable symptoms.
What are some of the signs that your gut may be unhealthy?
Upset stomach: If you have frequent discomfort, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and/or heartburn, this can indicate your gut is having trouble processing food and eliminating waste.
Chronic fatigue: If you feel tired all the time, an imbalance in the gut may be a contributing factor. In one study, half of those with fatigue also had IBS.
Food intolerance: Symptoms of intolerance can include gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea when you eat specific foods.
Extreme food cravings (especially sugar): High levels of sugar in the diet can lead to an overgrowth of “bad” gut bacteria, can elevate risk for other diseases, and are linked to inflammation.
Unintentional weight gain or loss: Your body can have trouble absorbing nutrients, regulating blood sugar, or storing fat when the gut is imbalanced, causing unintended weight loss or gain.
Insomnia or poor sleep: Serotonin affects sleep and mood, and most of it is produced in the gut. When there is inflammation or a high level of harmful bacteria in the gut, your sleep may be affected.
Frequent mood changes: Anxiety and depression are associated with gut problems and with inflammation in the nervous system.
Migraines: Studies suggest that those with frequent headaches are more likely to have gastrointestinal disorders too. If you experience nausea or vomiting with your migraines, poor gut health may be to blame for your headaches.
Skin irritations: Conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne can be related to gut problems.
Autoimmune conditions: Certain harmful gut bacteria may trigger autoimmune problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid issues, and multiple sclerosis.
Gut health is fundamental to the proper function of the body’s systems. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s a red flag that an imbalance in your digestive system may be at the root of your troubles.
Much of the work to heal an imbalanced gut may seem like obvious advice: Limiting processed foods and sugar and choosing fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Drinking plenty of water. Eliminating trigger foods that produce painful GI symptoms. Eating slowly. Reducing stress. Adding a probiotic to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. However, if these things were easy, most Americans wouldn’t be suffering from GI symptoms on a weekly basis. It can be difficult to know exactly what your body is lacking, and when trial and error doesn’t work, many people find themselves falling back into old habits.
The Natural Healing Center takes the guesswork out of getting to the bottom of your gut problems. With Nutrition Response Testing, we get immediate and precise feedback on the underlying cause of patient symptoms. We can then create an individualized plan that determines the exact nutrients and probiotics you need to improve your gut function and eliminate painful symptoms, as well as recommending supportive therapies that can promote whole-body healing. Rather than medications that hide problems, you’ll get the coaching and support you need to change your life for the better long-term.
To learn more about how the Natural Healing Center can help your body heal itself, contact us here to schedule your free initial consultation.