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The Signs and Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut

misc image

The Signs and Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut

Jan 12, 2021

Researchers have revealed that gut health is crucial to our overall health. Your gut influences everything from your immune system to digestion and even your brain. Therefore, keeping your gut healthy is highly important. An unhealthy gut is associated with a wide range of health problems ranging from skin issues to hormonal imbalance, anxiety to diabetes, and even depression and various other issues. To keep your gut healthy, it is important to understand key signs of an unhealthy gut and how you can get your gut back on a healthy track.

Common Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

Weight gain

Weight gain or loss without even trying is one of the most common signs of gut imbalance. If your gut is not working properly, your body will be unable to absorb nutrients properly. Even more, it will keep your body from storing fat and controlling blood sugar. As a result, you may overeat to make up for lost nutrients, and this will ultimately lead you to weight gain and potentially obesity.

Increased Stress

The microbiome plays an important role in your mental health as well as the way you respond to stress. An imbalanced gut can impact hormonal balance and contribute to stress, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Skin irritation

Are you experiencing skin flare-ups? Various studies have linked a number of different skin problems such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and acne to an unhealthy gut.

Bloating and gas

Even though gas is a normal part of the fermentation and digestion process in our body, bad bacteria strains can lead to excessive gas, leading to uncomfortable and even painful situations. Gas trapped in the gut can cause bloating and heartburn.


Diarrhea, whether acute or chronic, is known to be a sign of an unhealthy gut as well. Diarrhea can even make your gut health worse as it may cause the good bacteria to flow out of your gut, which will lead to even more gut dysbiosis.


Constipation is also linked with an imbalanced gut. People suffering from constipation usually have a lower level of gut bacteria, which impacts digestion and can lead to constipation.

Sleep problems

Did you know that a majority of the hormone serotonin, which is responsible for your sleep and mood, is produced in the gut? As such, an unhealthy gut can lead to sleep problems such as poor sleep or insomnia. As sleep problems begin to mount and extend over a period of time, chronic fatigue and other health issues can set in and complicate things even further.

Sugar cravings

A diet with added sugar can reduce the number of good bacteria in your gut. This will increase sugar cravings and can damage your gut even further.

Bad breath

Bad breath can be attributed to a number of things, like poor dental hygiene or opting for smelly food choices like fresh onions or garlic pasta. These aren’t the only culprits of bad breath, though, as chronic heartburn and even the bacteria in your microbiome can encourage your friends and family to want to keep you at arm’s length.

How to Fix an Unhealthy Gut

If you feel like you are suffering from the effects of an unhealthy gut, then it is wise to schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist, where they will be able to diagnose your problem and lead you towards better gut health. In the meantime, here are a few effective methods of improving your gut health and getting back on a healthy gut track.

Intake gut-friendly food

Gut health and diet are very closely linked with each other. You can ensure a healthy gut by avoiding processed food, foods with high and refined sugar, and also foods that are high in fat. These foods, which can be quite tasty, are actually bad for your body, as they destroy good bacteria that contribute to a healthy microbiome while promoting the development of damaging bacteria in the gut.

Instead, try to consume various food options that promote beneficial bacteria growth and contribute to your overall health. These highly effective food options include:

  • Collagen-boosting foods such as salmon and bone broth.
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Fermented food including yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.
  • High-fiber foods such as peas, beans, berries, bananas, oats, leeks, asparagus, etc.

Reduce your stress levels

Stress can do a number on your physical, emotional, and mental health. As such, it is highly important to reduce your stress level as much as possible. If you are dealing with stress or stressful situations, try including activities in your daily routine that can bring you peace and respite. These activities can include:

  • Walking
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Massage

Stay hydrated

Water consumption is incredibly important in regards to all areas of your body and life – including in promoting a healthy gut. Dehydration can decrease the number of good bacteria in your gut, leading to an environment suitable for bad bacteria to grow and create problems. Thus, staying hydrated greatly improves the balance of bacteria in your gut. For some, proper hydration may have to come as a conscious effort at first. If this is you, then you can try a few things that have helped others stay hydrated. Set alarms on your phone to drink a cup or bottle of water. Leave water bottles around the house or office as reminders to get a drink. Get rid of sugary drinks in the refrigerator and replace them with pitchers of water, water bottles, or other drinks that hydrate and replenish the body.

Eat slowly

When it comes to chewing your food, the best thing to do is to just slow down! Chewing your food slowly and purposely is essential for improved digestion and nutrient absorption. It makes it much easier for the food to be broken down in the stomach and used properly than food that is chewed and swallowed quickly. This will help in reducing digestive problems and help in maintaining a healthy gut.

Get plenty of sleep

In general, it is recommended that adults get a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Having an uninterrupted sleep of 7 to 8 hours will have a positive impact on your overall health. Sleep gives the body time to heal and relax. Sleep allows the mind to rest and recuperate. Sleep also allows for a time of fasting to occur, which has great benefits for gut health and balance. 

Overall, the human gut is a pretty complex place that can impact whole-body health. An unbalanced gut can lead to various health problems, while a healthy gut can benefit your heart, immune system, mood, brain, skin, and more. While the lifestyle changes above can be difficult to address on your own, they are certainly worth the effort. Schedule a visit with your gastroenterologist today to discuss your gut health as well as options for treatment.