Some of the symptoms indicating you need a probiotic include ‒ pooping too often, not defecating enough, transit time, appearance of poop, color, and bloating and gas, among others.

Gut health plays a major role in your overall well-being. A healthy gut contains immune cells and diverse bacteria that can protect your body from harm. Your gut’s bacteria and microbes are generally called the gut “microbiome” or “gut microbiota”. 

About 300-1000 bacteria species sustain in your gut and can play a part in nearly 2 million diverse genes. Your gut microbiota has an essential role in digestion and is also linked to immune system function and mental health.

Symptoms Indicating You Need a Probiotic

The following symptoms may indicate you need a probiotic:

1. Pooping too often

If you feel your bowel movements have become more irregular and frequent, the following issues could indicate numerous problems. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Infection: Frequent pooping can be caused by viral, parasitic, or bacterial infection. A bacterial infection can be caused by having spoiled food.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A group of disorders comprising Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease that are caused by your digestive system’s inflammation.
  • Celiac Disease: An autoimmune disorder that involves gluten triggering a serious reaction.
  • Lactose Intolerance: A disease caused by the inability of your body to break down lactose in dairy products.
  • Medication side effects: Some medications are responsible for excessive bowel movements. If you are taking a new medication and experience a sudden or serious change in your bowel movements, ensure you talk to your doctor.

2. Not defecating enough

Not defecating enough, or constipation is the most common gut-related problem. Constipation happens when your body has difficulty getting rid of your poop because it may be too hard or dry, or because your colon may soak up too much liquid.

Many medical and lifestyle factors play a part in constipation. These comprise but are not limited to:

  • Diet: Not having plenty of fiber can result in constipation.
  • Dehydration: Not drinking plenty of water can result in hard and dry stools.
  • Medication side effects: Certain medications like antidepressants, narcotics, iron supplements, and antacids result in constipation.

3. Transit time

The duration your food takes to pass through your digestive system and get defecated, can also be an essential sign of your gut health. Average gut transit time should range between 30-40 hours and should not be more than 72 hours.

Gut transit time is significant to assess since it is linked to the ability of your body to metabolize food. A prolonged gut transit time might indicate a problem with your gut’s potential to digest food. If your colon is not appropriately moving along the digestive material, unhealthy products can gather in your intestines and result in a higher risk of disease.

4. Appearance of Poop

The shape, color, consistency, and texture of your poop can indicate a lot about your gut health. Healthy and normal stools should be soft to solid in consistency, brown, plain in texture, and should be sausage-shaped and long, like your colon.

5. Color

If your stool is any other color than brown, this could be a sign of various issues like infection or internal bleeding. Although different medications and food can modify the color of your poop without pointing towards serious illness, it is still essential to know what the color of your poop means.

Black or red poop can especially cause worry since it can be a sign of tumors or internal bleeding in the digestive tract. This is not always the situation, however, as blood in your poop can also be a sign of mild irritation or even a person’s menstrual cycle. If you have red or black stool together with other symptoms like vomiting and abdominal pain, or if the bleeding is constant, ensure to talk to your doctor.

Bloating and Gas 

Excessive gas or bloating can be an indicator of bad gut health. Excessive gas is caused by the formation of gas in your digestive system and can indicate bloating, consistent belching, or passing gas. Remember that stomach bloating is a very common symptom many people experience. 

Mostly, bloating is not a sign of anything serious. However, constant bloating together with other symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or weight loss that affects your everyday quality of life should be carefully assessed. Bloating can be caused by:

  1. Food intolerance: Some people have problems absorbing compounds such as lactose, carbohydrates, or fructose; this can result in chronic bloating. If you feel that you are experiencing food intolerance, talk to your physician or nutritionist.
  2. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO): People experiencing a growth in the amount of bacteria in their small intestine can have gas and bloating symptoms.
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): A disorder that is identified by abdominal pain, cramping, and excessive gas and bloating.

Taking Care of Your Gut Health 

Below are five ways to start enhancing your gut health:

Taking Care of Your Gut

  1. Start having probiotic supplements or consume more fermented foods. Fermented foods comprise: kombucha, kimchi, miso, kefir, and sauerkraut. You can find probiotics in physical and online grocery stores. Some probiotics may interfere with your medication, so ensure to talk to your doctor before starting probiotics.
  2. Consume prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of fiber to increase your gut microbiota. Fruits and vegetables rich in fiber like apples, onions, corn, and oats can boost your gut health.
  3. Eat foods with less artificial sweeteners and less sugar. The ingredients of an artificial sweetener can modify your gut’s microbiome composition.
  4. Regular exercise can raise your gut’s microbiome diversity.
  5. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to improper gut health.

Conclusion

Some of the symptoms indicating you need a probiotic include ‒ pooping too often, not defecating enough, transit time, appearance of poop, color, and bloating and gas, among others.

Maintaining a diverse and healthy gut microbiome is essential for your overall health. Understanding the symptoms of an unhealthy or healthy gut is a great way to assess and observe your gut health. Moreover, there are various ways to enhance and supplement your gut which can play a part in improving gut health.

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