If your gut bacteria were a city, they’d be a giant metropolis since there are more than one-hundred trillion of them living inside you!
In fact, using an advanced microbiology technique called pyrosequencing, Dr. David Relman and a team of scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine estimate that there are between 3300-5700 species of bacteria living in the human gut!
During the last decade, scientists have become increasingly aware of the critical role this diverse community of gut bacteria play in human health.
It is very important to your health to keep your gut bacteria in a good balance. In other words, you need the good bacteria to dominate over the bad bacteria to achieve optimal health.
Below are 7 signs to look for that would indicate your gut bacteria are out of whack.
#1 – Gas, Bloating, and Other Digestive Issues
While it is normal to produce a small amount of gas when you eat, it is not normal to swell up with so much gas you feel bloated after you eat a normal meal.
However, some people don’t realize this because their gut flora has been out of whack for so long, they have adapted to a miserable “new norm.” When your gut bacteria become out of balance, this can lead to a medical problem called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
If you have this condition, the good bacteria that would normally consume the gas your intestinal gas are outpaced by the bad bacteria happily multiplying and producing copious amounts of gas.
SIBO and similar conditions are most common in people who eat a lot of sugar and other highly refined carbohydrates, such as flour, in their diet.
These foods change the pH in your gut which makes the conditions more favorable to bad bacteria. Drinking too much alcohol can also lead to SIBO for the same reasons.
Temporarily cutting these foods out of your diet completely can sometimes cure this problem without having to resort to antibiotics which can actually exacerbate the problem.
Once healed, you can then cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates in general to prevent recurrences of SIBO and similar issues.
#2 – Symptoms Develop After You Take Antibiotics
Unfortunately, many modern doctors are far too trigger happy with the prescription pad and will write a prescription for antibiotics to anyone who has a sniffle.
While these powerful drugs do have their legitimate place in modern medicine, their overuse has led to a epidemic of digestive issues such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, abdominal cramps, belching, flatulence, and acid reflux disease.
For example, ciprofloxacin is a prescription drug that is prescribed for a wide variety of ailments but it is also notorious for killing your good gut bacteria along with the infection the drug is intended to cure.
#3 – Recurring Vaginal Infections and/or Bladder Infections
If you are a woman who suffers from recurrent vaginal infections, this is one of the most common tell-tale signs that your gut flora are out of balance. This is especially true if the problem began after you took prescription antibiotics.
To counteract this problem, try to use natural remedies to cure your vaginal infections.
If you take a prescription antibiotic to cure the vaginal infection, you may feel better temporarily but this usually makes the problem worse long-term since the antibiotics will only disrupt the balance of your gut bacteria even more, i.e. it becomes a vicious circle of negative effects!
#4 – Behavioral Changes
There is a definite connection between you mind and your gut! If you have an unbalanced gut flora, it can manifest in all sorts of changes to your mood and temperament!
Sometimes though, it is difficult to notice these changes in your own self so think back and remember if anyone has asked you recently, “What’s wrong with you lately?”
You can also ask a close friend or family member who will tell you the truth if they’ve noticed any behavioral changes in you.
If you have begun to be more irritable, feel more anxious, or if it seems like you can’t concentrate, it could very well be an imbalance in your gut flora. Try making some minor adjustments to your diet and then note if your condition improves.
For example, if you drink a lot of soda pop, try eliminating these for a month. By eliminating this source of carbonation, and potentially sugar, from your diet. This one relatively simple change may be enough to do the trick.
#5 – Hormonal Problems
When your gut bacteria go out of whack, it is often the case that your hormones will go out of whack too!
You may experience more radical mood swings. Woman may experience more intense PMS symptoms and men may begin to develop male breasts. You may also lose your normal desire for sex.
Before you resort to medication, by all means try improving your diet instead because hormonal medications often don’t work and often times make matters worse. In addition to cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates, try adding a variety of probiotic foods to your diet.
These include yogurt, kefir, kim chi, sour kraut, raw milk, raw cheeses, and kombucha tea. Try to buy these fermented foods from a natural food store or Asian market where you can get them with a wider variety of good bacteria cultured in them.
#6 – Diarrhea and Constipation
If you are not having normal bowel movements every day, this is a good sign that your intestinal flora is out of whack.
Occasional bouts of diarrhea or constipation is nothing to be concerned about. You may have just eaten some contaminated food or swallowed a bit of swimming pool water that caused a temporary problem.
However, if you are experiencing these symptoms more than a few times a month, it is very important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you and take positive action to clear up the condition.
So, how do you fix this problem? Eating a healthy diet will often clear up the problem without medical intervention. In addition to to what has already been mentioned, be sure to eat natural foods rich in fiber every day. High fiber foods include berries, nuts, greens, and sweet potatoes.
#7 – Vitamin Deficiencies
If you go to the doctor for a routine check up and they find a vitamin deficiency in your blood work up, don’t automatically assume it was caused by not eating enough foods with vitamins.
You could just as easily be looking at the effects of an imbalance in your gut bacteria or perhaps a combination of the two factors.
Good bacteria help you digest your food properly and absorb the vitamins from your food.
Without them, in fact, you cannot do so! So, instead of just automatically doubling up on your vitamins, or taking a multi-vitamin, take measures to restore the balance to your gut bacteria, especially if you are experiencing some of the other symptoms listed here.