10 Stubborn Gut Health Wellness Hurdles
Gut health is a complicated aspect of health. It would be nice if we could reset the gut like a computer – “Have you tried turning it on and off again?” Or it would be nice if we could swap out a new gut for a brand-new model every few years. But alas, that isn’t the case.
The gut has to be cared for and managed over time. If you’re on this journey, you may have noticed that you’ve come up against a few gut health wellness hurdles. Perhaps you still notice regular bloating and nausea. Perhaps you have lingering brain fog. What’s going on?
In this article, we will explore ten common gut health hurdles and provide insights on how to overcome them.
When it comes to the gut, you need a personalized wellness plan based on your specific needs. Functional medicine may be the key. Learn more about our gut health services today.
1. Poor Dietary Choices
One of the most significant wellness hurdles to gut health is a diet rich in processed foods, high in sugar, and low in fiber. These dietary choices can disrupt the balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut. To overcome this hurdle, focus on a diet that includes plenty of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Incorporate fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, which can introduce beneficial probiotics into your gut.
2. Antibiotic Use
While antibiotics are essential for treating bacterial infections, they can also disrupt the gut microbiome by killing both harmful and beneficial bacteria. To mitigate the effects of antibiotic use, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, complete the prescribed course, and consider taking probiotics to restore the balance of gut bacteria after treatment.
3. Chronic Stress
Chronic stress can harm gut health and is one of the most prevalent gut health wellness hurdles. Over the years, researchers have shown that the gut-brain connection is real, and stress can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and exacerbate conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). To combat stress, practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.
4. Lack of Sleep
We all need sleep to support overall health, including gut health. Poor sleep patterns can disrupt the gut microbiome and lead to digestive issues and inflammation. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night to support a healthy gut.
5. Overuse of NSAIDs
Depending on your other health issues, you may take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. These are commonly used for pain relief and headaches, but they can harm the gut lining as well. You may end up with leaky gut syndrome. If you need pain relief frequently, discuss alternative options with your healthcare provider and use NSAIDs sparingly.
6. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol intake can irritate the lining of the digestive tract, leading to inflammation and an imbalance in gut bacteria. Limit alcohol consumption, and if you choose to drink, do so in moderation. Otherwise you may not be able to get past this gut health wellness hurdle.
7. Lack of Physical Activity
Sedentary lifestyles can negatively impact gut health. Regular physical activity promotes healthy digestion and helps maintain a diverse gut microbiome. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to support your gut.
8. Food Sensitivities and Allergies
Undiagnosed food sensitivities and allergies can cause chronic inflammation in the gut. If you suspect you have food sensitivities, consider an elimination diet or seek advice from a healthcare professional to identify and manage them.
9. Chronic Gastrointestinal Conditions
Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and celiac disease pose significant hurdles to gut health. Managing these conditions often requires dietary modifications, medication, and ongoing medical care. Consult with a gastroenterologist for personalized treatment strategies.
10. Environmental Toxins
Exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides and pollutants, can negatively impact gut health. While it’s challenging to completely eliminate exposure, you can reduce it by choosing organic produce, filtering your water, and minimizing contact with toxins in your environment.
Functional Medicine Can Help You Overcome Gut Health Wellness Hurdles and Much More
So how can you overcome some of these gut health wellness hurdles? Many people have turned to functional medicine for relief. Functional medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on uncovering and addressing the root causes of health issues. This includes issues related to gut health.
You probably know that conventional medicine tries to mask gut symptoms such as bloating, cramps, and weight gain. But functional medicine practitioners try to understand the underlying factors that contribute to an individual’s gut health problems. They recognize that every person is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach may not be effective in addressing complex gut issues.
If you decide to work with Integra Health and Wellness, we will begin by taking a comprehensive and in-depth look at your medical history, lifestyle, genetics, and environmental factors. Through advanced testing and analysis, such as comprehensive stool tests, food sensitivity assessments, and microbiome profiling, Julie Helm can identify imbalances, dysfunctions, and triggers in the gut.
By understanding the specific factors contributing to an individual’s gut health issues, we can develop personalized treatment plans that target the root causes. These treatment plans often include dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and other therapies aimed at restoring balance and promoting healing within the gut. The ultimate goal of functional medicine is not just managing symptoms but achieving long-term gut health by addressing the underlying issues that lead to digestive problems and related health conditions.
Get Started Today
Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health. It’s not always easy since all of us face some combination of gut health wellness hurdles, such as poor dietary choices, antibiotic use, chronic stress, and more. These hurdles can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in your digestive system.
However, with awareness and proactive steps, you can overcome these challenges and support your gut health. Remember that small changes can lead to significant improvements in your gut health and overall quality of life. For maximum impact, begin working with the Integra team today!