Millions of tiny microorganisms live in your gut can influence everything from your immunity to your state of mind. There are both good and bad bacteria in your gut, but they need to be balanced. When bad bacteria overcrowds your intestine, your health immediately begins to suffer. In the past, we never had to think about our gut microbiome because it was rarely imbalanced. However, our lifestyle and diet today has thrown this balance into jeopardy. Our over dependence on antibiotics and our diets which are high in processed foods and low in fiber kill good bacteria, allowing the bad kind to take over. So how do you know if your gut flora is imbalanced? Here are six signs to watch out for.
1. Your Digestion Is Getting Worse
Your gut flora has a huge role to play in digestion. They help absorb nutrients from your food and break it down into small particles that can be absorbed by your body. If you have chronic issues with digestion, it might be because there aren’t enough good bacteria in your gut. An imbalanced gut can lead to digestive issues like bloating, flatulence, constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Popping an antacid might treat the symptoms, but won’t tackle the root cause of the problem. Start eating more fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement to start seeing an improvement.
2. You’re Starting To Have Mental Issues
When searching for the cause behind mental disorders, tiny gut bacteria were the last thing scientists expected to find. It might sound surprising, but an imbalanced gut can affect your state of mind. Gut flora produces neurotransmitters which influence your thoughts and emotions. Research shows that most people suffering from depression also have an imbalance of bacteria in their gut. So if your mental health issues are acting up, take a probiotic in addition to seeking a therapist.
3. Your Skin Is Flaring Up
For a long time, there was a misconception that external factors like poor hygiene caused skin conditions like acne. However, that notion is largely false. Acne is an indicator of what is going on inside your body. When your gut flora is imbalanced, one of the most common ways it shows up is in the form of acne flare-ups. Other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis might also become more severe if your gut flora is imbalanced.
4. You Have An Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s are very difficult to treat because your body is literally attacking itself. No one is quite sure what causes the body to react this way. However, research is beginning to reveal that your gut health might be one of the reasons behind your autoimmune disease. In addition to your regular medication, start eating more probiotic foods. This will restore your gut balance and lessen the severity of your symptoms.
5. You’ve Been On Antibiotics For A While
Antibiotics are one of the greatest inventions of our time, but they can also upset your gut flora. Antibiotics completely wipe out all bacteria from your gut, both good and bad. If you’ve been on a long course of antibiotics, your gut flora is almost certainly out of whack. Antibiotics can also enter your system without your knowledge. Most of the poultry we buy today is chock-full of antibiotics. Always take a probiotic supplement and shop organic whenever possible.
6. You’re Stressed
Stress wreaks havoc on our entire body, including our gut. When you’re stressed, your body begins to produce high levels of the cortisol hormone. This hormone upsets the delicate balance of your gut flora. Short bouts of stress are inevitable and have little effect on your gut microbiome. However, if you’re chronically stressed, you can be sure your gut isn’t the healthiest. In addition to taking a probiotic supplement, learn a few stress management techniques to restore the health of your gut.