Signs and symptoms of an unhealthy gut, and how to resolve them


Typically, gut health symptoms manifest as bloating, flatulence or belching after a meal. Other gut-related symptoms include a sense of fullness shortly after eating, chronic diarrhoea or unintentional weight loss.

It’s possible to efficiently and effectively assess the signs of impaired gut function through comprehensive gut health testing. This test can pick up on undigested food in your stool, which shows that the body has trouble digesting and absorbing the food consumed. Gut health tests can also identify any inflammation in the gut.


Digestive problems can result from anatomical issues that prevent the system from functioning normally. These anatomical issues may include organs being in the wrong place, shaped abnormally or incorrectly connected.

More commonplace, however, the unhealthy signs and symptoms that people experience result from dietary and lifestyle factors that compromise the gastrointestinal tract leading to an imbalance in the gut bacterial populations, damaging the intestinal walls leading to leaky gut symptoms and inflammation.


There are several signs and symptoms that your gut may need some support:



Regular bowel movements are an essential sign of a healthy gut. Ideally, it’s best if you have more than one bowel movement every single day. A lack of regularity in your bowel movements can lead to constipation and the recirculation of certain hormones, adversely affecting health.


On the other hand, going too often is also an issue for the body. Bowel movements that are too frequent can lead to diarrhoea and signify a short gut transit time. A transit time that is too quick may cause nutrients not to be absorbed, leading to nutrient insufficiency or deficiency.


Abdominal pain, bloating, and feelings of fullness are all acute symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, there are also several other symptoms associated with IBS that may be more subtle.

Abdominal discomfort can also be a sign of a lack of digestive enzymes, as in the case of people who are lactose intolerant. Abdominal discomfort include changes in stool frequency and consistency, abdominal cramping, excessive gas, nausea and heartburn.


Dysbiosis occurs when harmful gut bacteria have taken over. Gut dysbiosis happens over time and can wreak havoc. There are many possible causes of dysbiosis, including stress, antibiotic use, chronic indigestion or acid reflux. This negative change in a healthy, harmonious, balanced gut microbiota can lead to skin rashes, hives and eczema.


Sugar is one of several foods that contribute to inflammation in the body. Sugar is an unstable source of energy and devoid of nutrients, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Yeast and parasites thrive on diets high in sugar and processed foods, and the overgrowth of the Candida (yeast) demand more and more sugar, causing its human hosts to crave and consume more sugar.


When a particular food upsets the functioning of the digestive system or negatively reacts with one of its constituent parts, its effects can be felt all over the body. Symptoms of these effects include brain fog and mood swings.


If the gut-associated immune system is activated constantly, it can lead to body-wide alertness, causing immune cells to secrete messenger molecules that result in inflammation. If uncontrolled, this inflammation can lead to systemic diseases like autoimmune conditions.


The gut microbial populations have been shown to have an impact on weight. Twin studies have shown differences in gut diversity between obese and lean twins. In addition, some studies have also shown how gut microbes influence the production of hunger (ghrelin) and satiety (leptin) hormones.

In addition, the inadequate frequency of bowel movements will result in the accumulation of toxins, interfering with how well you feel and even your ability to lose weight.


Foul-smelling stools can result from malabsorption, infection, certain health conditions, medications and supplements. Malabsorption occurs when the body cannot absorb the nutrients effectively from food eaten.

People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), an autoimmune condition that prevents the intestines from absorbing nutrients, often find that their bowel movements can be foul-smelling.



There are many ways to address gut issues at The Thrive practice. We work through a framework that looks at all of the critical functions of your gastrointestinal tract, such as digestion and absorption, the balance of the gut microbiota, and interactions with the nervous system, to understand our client’s signs and symptoms.

By understanding the underlying cause of our clients gut symptoms, we can then address these issues through our scientifically proven five-step treatment programme. This personalised programme addresses problematic foods, intestinal infections, supports gut wall integrity and stress management for optimal gut health.

If you’re struggling with any of the above symptoms, we’re here to help. You can learn more about our treatment programme and how it could benefit you in our 5 Steps to Optimal Gut Health Masterclass.


Hello, I’m Leah! Functional health consultant and founder of The Thrive Practice. Driven by data and supported by science, I’m unerringly obsessed with exploring your unique biochemistry to methodically get to the root of your health issues. So, you can achieve real and lasting relief.


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