How do you know if your Gut is healthy?
Learn to read the signs - do you have a healthy gut?
Break the poo taboo - 3 things to check your gut is healthy.
How do you know if your gut is healthy?
If you're reading this, chances are something doesn't feel right. You're not alone.
So how do we know if our guts are healthy? It’s a question we get asked often, and the answer can seem unclear. You should really think about what your normal is as it can be different for everyone. You will know when something isn't quite right.
Firstly, the gut or gastrointestinal tract (GI) tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube. Your gut system is responsible for digesting your food and starts at your mouth and ends at your bum (from chewing to pooing!)
When it comes to your gut, this is one area you don't want to take lightly. Your gut is responsible for absorbing important nutrients into the bloodstream, protecting you from illness and keeping your mood in check.
But how do you know if your gut is healthy?
Gut health is the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Ideally, organs such as the oesophagus, stomach and intestines all work together to allow us to eat and digest food without discomfort
But because it's inside our body it can be hard to tell really what's going on in there - but you can listen to your gut and also learn to read the signs.
How often do you poop?
The aim is to be consistent. There is no ideal number of times per day/week you should be going but it's considered 'normal' if you poo between 3 times per week to 3 times per day.
Also if you find yourself getting up in the middle of night to poo, it could be a sign that something isn't quite right and you should talk to your GP.
Are you pain free?
We all experience discomfort now and again but if you are experiencing pain regularly, this could be an indication that something is not right.
If you do find yourself having some pain or discomfort, or straining too much, that could be a sign of a medical problem that need checking out.
If the pain lasts for more than two weeks or comes with additional symptoms such as bloody stools or poo that's difficult to flush away, talk to your GP.
Don't worry. Your doctor will have seen and heard about this before and will help you get a solution.
Does your poo look and smell 'normal' for you?
We've all probably experienced poops that seem normal, whether they're particularly smelly, very soft, liquidy or hard to pass. But it might be harder to tell what's normal.
If your gut is healthy, it should be making medium-dark brown poops that are smooth, soft-firm sausage-shaped. It might be in several pieces and generally your poo should sink in the toilet.
Other things to watch out for - bloating, gas and how long it takes you to digest your food.
Some people digest their food quickly while others can go for hours before it moves. It should take your body around 24-28 hours to digest food.
If food is rushing through your gut too quickly, it might not be allowing your body to get all the nutrients it needs to give you energy.
If things are too slow you may feel fatigued, bloated and low energy which of course can also affect your mood.
Gas is natural in your body, your gut bacteria creates this as your food passes through your digestive system. If things are working normally, this shouldn't ever be painful.
If you regularly get bloated after meals, it may be a sign that you're eating too quickly, not chewing enough or that you have an intolerance to some foods.
If things don't feel right - you can get to know your gut better and read below for easy changes you can make today to get things back on track.
More gut health resources to help you improve your digestion: