Watch Out For These 10 Signs Of An Unhealthy Gut

Signs of an unhealthy gut1 are not just limited to your digestive system. Signs of an unhealthy gut can also be some underlying cause of a major disease in the body like – obesity, arthritis, diabetes and even some kind of mental illness or problems. Who knew right?!

It is very important to detect early signs of an unhealthy gut so that you can rectify it before it becomes worse.

Having an unhealthy gut can be very annoying and disturbing. Therefore, to help identify signs of an unhealthy gut, given below are a few pointers and signs that point towards an unhealthy gut.

10 Signs of An Unhealthy Gut

1) Feeling Anxious or Upset Lately

signs of an unhealthy gut
Anxiety and stress can be signs of an unhealthy gut

There is said to be a very strong connection between the brain and the stomach.

Many a times you might have noticed feeling down all of a sudden with added constipation, diarrhea and bloating on the side?

But researchers seem to believe that it is actually the other way round and that these signs of an unhealthy gut may actually be causing the emotional and mental symptoms.

This is because the microbiome in the gut2 has a direct connection with the neurotransmitters of the brain and can impact the emotional health.  Therefore, taking probiotics for the gut can have an anti-anxiety effect3 as well.

2) Sudden Sensitivity to Certain Foods

signs of an unhealthy gut
Food intolerance causes gut problems

People suffering from leaky gut are sensitive and allergic to certain foods.

Leaky gut is causes intolerances and allergies to food. This means that the permeability function of the stomach lining becomes weak and the undigested food enters the blood stream.

The body marks this as a foreign particle and sets off an immune response.

If you keep eating these triggering foods that cause the signs of unhealthy gut, the body would keep setting off these immunity responses and the body would react accordingly.

3) Acne and Inflamed Skin

signs of an unhealthy gut
Acne and red inflamed skin are signs of an unhealthy gut

Your skin has a direct communication with the gut through something called a gut skin axis.4

The gut skin axis plays a role that is significant in skin homeostasis as well as the inflammatory responses of the skin that keep skin health in check. It keeps the skin clear and healthy.

The gut bacteria have a direct connection with the microbiome of the skin and influences greaty. Imbalance in the gut microbiome causes imbalance in skin microbiome which leads to acne and other skin inflammatory problems.

4) Sugar Cravings

signs of an unhealthy gut
sugar cravings an be symptom of an underlying gut health problem

The secretions of the microbes of our gut mimic the hunger regulating hormones of the body which affect not only the hunger and food cravings but also the mood as well.

This also implies that the bacteria in the gut generate cravings for foods that they may thrive on.

Binge eating large amounts of sugar generates more proteins which in turn increases the sugar cravings and thus goes on the cycle.

5) Digestive Issues

signs of an unhealthy gut
Acidity and stomach pain are caused due to digestive problems

It is very obvious that signs of an unhealthy will include having digestive issues.

Acid reflux with acidity and IBS are the most common of all.

Acid reflux is when the stomach flaps fail to close properly, causing the stomach acid to splash out into the gastrointestinal tract. You may feel a burning sensation around your chest and stomach as well. Or you could experience some dry cough.

IBS on the other hand means irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is generally categorized by pain in the stomach along with diarrhea and flatulence.

The exact cause of this intestinal disorder is not known but can be caused due to intolerances to certain foods like dairy or fermented foods.

6) Autoimmune Diseases

signs of an unhealthy gut
Unhealthy gut health can trigger autoimmune response

An abnormally functioning gut has been linked to many autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohns disease and what not.

This is because the gut microbes directly influence the immune system of the body. A healthy gut means a healthy immune system.

Any imbalance in the gut flora directly leads to autoimmune diseases and an autoimmune reaction.

One theory also states that in any case of increased gut bacteria, they can travel outside the gut to the liver or blood stream which causes an autoimmune response from the body.

Celiac disease where the person develops allergies due to eating gluten, is also a part of the signs of an unhealthy gut.

7) Bad Breath

signs of an unhealthy gut
Halitosis is a sign of unhealthy gut

Bad breath is also called as halitosis. The main root of this problem is due to the odor producing microbes present on the tongue, gums and in between the teeth.

Our body needs bacteria to function. A proper balance between the good and bad bacteria is very essential and dictates the overall health as well.

The bacteria present in our mouth is the start of the gastrointestinal system.

Bad breath can be a sign of abnormal activity of the flora of the digestive system. Having bad breath constantly, even after taking proper oral care can be a warning sign of digestive problems.

8) Sudden Change in the Weighing Scale Numbers

signs of an unhealthy gut
Weight fluctuations are caused due to digestive problems

Bloating and inadequate water retention causes weight gain. Digestive problems also cause improper stool formation and cause constipation as well.

Improper absorption of food from the stomach leads to increased weight. Incase of having diarrhea, the stomach fails to digest food and causes excessive stool formation causing loose motions and weakness in the body. This leads to decrease in weight.

This is how weight fluctuations can be one of the signs of an unhealthy gut.

9) Frequent Headaches

signs of an unhealthy gut
Headaches are caused due to stomach problems

Sensitivity or allergic reactions to what you eat can trigger symptoms like headaches. Headache is also a very common symptom of dehydration in the body.

You can find out if your headaches are caused due to food by going on an elimination diet. This includes taking a short and quick break from common allergy producing food items lie diary and gluten.

This will help you figure out your problematic food and elimination of that food can help relieve symptoms.

10) Irregular Sleeping Pattern

signs of an unhealthy gut
Indigestion can lead to insomnia and hampered sleep cycle

Finding it difficult to sleep at night or feeling restless? These may be signs of unhealthy gut.

Irregular sleep pattern and insomnia is caused due to some problems in the gut health. Having less sleep causes tiredness and fatigue in the body.

The exact cause of gut health and restless sleep is not known yet and is still under research but some theories state that the gut brain axis impacts the circadian rhythm5. The circadian cycle or rhythm is responsible for the sleep wake cycle of the body and any misalignment in the gut bacteria can have an impact on this cycle.

Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

These are a few signs of an unhealthy gut that you should look out for. Rectifying these signs of an unhealthy gut can help you relieve many preexisting problems and conditions. The next time you go through any of these problems, individually or together, make sure you also consider that they could be an indicator of an unhealthy gut as well.

On the other hand, make sure to have a healthy high fiber diet  while limiting the consumption of processed foods and other junks. Drinking probiotics can help balance of bacteria in the gut.

  1. Spielman, Lindsay Joy, Deanna Lynn Gibson, and Andis Klegeris. “Unhealthy gut, unhealthy brain: The role of the intestinal microbiota in neurodegenerative diseases.” Neurochemistry international 120 (2018): 149-163. ↩︎
  2. Olsen, Ingar, and Kazuhisa Yamazaki. “Can oral bacteria affect the microbiome of the gut?.” Journal of oral microbiology 11.1 (2019): 1586422. ↩︎
  3. Sarkar, Deepa. “A review of behavioral tests to evaluate different types of anxiety and anti-anxiety effects.” Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience 18.3 (2020): 341. ↩︎
  4. Salem, Iman, et al. “The gut microbiome as a major regulator of the gut-skin axis.” Frontiers in microbiology 9 (2018): 382698. ↩︎
  5. Vitaterna, Martha Hotz, Joseph S. Takahashi, and Fred W. Turek. “Overview of circadian rhythms.” Alcohol research & health 25.2 (2001): 85. ↩︎

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Ayushi Mahajan

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