What Are Symptoms of Gut Issues and How to Treat Them?
When most people talk about “the gut,” they usually mean the stomach. This definition, however, overlooks the true role the intestines play in regulating the human body. While it’s true that the gut is closely related to the stomach, there’s so much more to understand.
Johns Hopkins Medicine says that the gut is “where bacteria and the immune system meet.” Other researchers call the gut “your second brain” due to the high numbers of nerve endings and microorganisms that communicate with the rest of your body. In short, the gut refers to the interplay of nerves and microbiomes that exist throughout your entire digestive tract. The gut supports neurology, digestion, and immune support.
Therefore, gut issues are complex health conditions, and treating them requires more than taking an antacid or avoiding undercooked chicken. Below we’ve included a more in-depth look at gut issues – the symptoms and often what causes them.
Symptoms of Gut Issues
You may be experiencing a gut issue if you have long-standing digestive issues that don’t respond to common over-the-counter treatments. Since the gut can affect the entire digestive system, symptoms might occur in the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Here are some common symptoms of gut issues:
- Unexplained upset stomach – This discomfort cannot be traced back to a specific incident and continues longer than a normal stomach ache. You might experience bloating, gas, cramps, and nausea.
- Unwanted weight change – Weight swings can be signs of an unhealthy gut.
- Fatigue and low energy – Gut issues can lead to inefficient digestion, which means your body does not absorb the proper nutrients.
- Bad Sleep – Both physical discomfort and irregular neurotransmissions can affect a person’s sleep cycles.
- Depression – Serotonin is an important chemical for regulating mental health. Did you know that up to 90% of it, is produced in the gut? A serotonin imbalance combined with chronic gut discomfort can lead to depression.
- Autoimmune inflammation – Remember, the gut is involved in regulating your immune system. If the stomach lining is continually damaged by certain foods or if the gut sends inappropriate signals to the body’s defenses, inflammation can be the result.
Causes of Gut Issues
Just as “the gut” can refer to a broad and complicated set of bodily systems, the causes of gut issues can be equally difficult to pin down. At Five Journeys, we recommend a thorough investigation into your health history, genetic makeup, and current lifestyle choices to get to the root of your gut problems.
However, there are a few common conditions that affect our patients.
- Underlying food allergy – Unaddressed gluten or lactose intolerances, or even a less recognized food, can wreak havoc on the gut. The body often can’t process these foods, which leads to discomfort and inflammation. If you feel sicker after eating certain foods, write down the ingredients and show the list to your functional medicine doctor.
- Alcohol and processed foods – Alcohol and processed sugars also cause inflammation of the gut lining. This inflammation can damage the bacteria that make up your microbiome. Technically, alcohol is poisonous to the body, but we can process it through our livers. Cutting back on these ingredients may help heal your gut.
- Parasites – Do you spend a lot of time outdoors or overseas? Your gut issues may be related to parasites that are living in the digestive tract.
- Ulcers – Stress and certain reactions to foods can cause ulcers to form in the gut. Ulcers are sores related to a breakage in the gut lining.
- Leaky Gut Syndrome – Leaky gut occurs when the gut lining becomes weak and allows foreign substances to enter the bloodstream. Unfortunately, some doctors do not consider leaky gut as a serious condition since there’s still more to learn about the disease. Thankfully, Five Journeys takes leaky gut syndrome at face value and works hard to cure it in patients.
Treating Gut Issues
At Five Journeys, we use a functional medicine approach to treatment. This means getting to the root cause of your illness and taking a holistic view of health. We won’t just prescribe a pill to treat your gut issues. Instead, we will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs so that you can achieve lasting, natural healing.
A functional approach to gut treatment might include:
- Cutting out damaging foods – Our doctors do food sensitivity testing and may recommend cutting alcohol, sugars, and any allergy-related foods from your diet.
- Eating healthy and nutritious foods – Many foods from kombucha to green vegetables work to restore gut health. Your doctor will work with you to develop a personalized meal plan. Need inspiration? We have fun and delicious healthy recipes on our blog.
- Taking Supplements – Five Journeys offers a wide selection of nutritional supplements for order. Probiotics and prebiotics are especially important for gut health. Additional supplements may also be recommended, as sometimes the gut needs an extra boost to reach peak health.
- Reducing stress – Learning mindfulness techniques and getting enough sleep can allow the gut to heal itself.
Are you tired of unexplainable bloating, nausea, cramps, and fatigue? It’s time to get to the root of your gut issues once and for all. Set up a consultation with a Five Journeys doctor so that we can work with you to pursue your most vital life!