Let me introduce you to one of my favourite clinical nutritionists who specialises in gut and digestive health, Carissa Mason. I've asked Carissa to share with us some of the common signs your body is showing you signs that your gut needs some attention and healing. If you experience any of the following symptoms please don't try to treat these yourself, go and see a qualified practitioner who can support your individual health journey. Remember, "if you listen to when your body whispers, you wont have to hear it scream."

Gut Health + Five Digestive Symptoms That Are NOT OK

Gut Health, it’s all the rage right now and for very good reason. I mean let’s face it, natural medicine practitioners have been screaming it for centuries – good health begins with a healthy gut and now thanks to modern science and research, we have the literature to back this up.

So Where Do You Start?
With the plethora of information that’s out there it’s pretty easy to get confused and overwhelmed. I mean we have probiotics, probiotics, modbiotics, fermented foods, colonics, grain free, paleo, Keto, GAPs, low carb:high fat – the list goes on with specific diets and interventions all claiming to be the holy grail of gut health and longevity. They all have their place and their specific applications but I’m going to let you in on a little secret, it’s not about what works for everyone else’s gut, it’s about what works for yours.
Now, I spend a good majority of most days discussing this topic with my clients and what’s come to my attention is that most of you really don’t know the basics of what is ‘normal’ or ‘ok’ when it comes to gastrointestinal function but you want to know, which is great. In short what I look for in a healthy functioning gut is this: regular daily bowel motions that are easy to pass and well formed with minimal gas, bloating and/or reflux. Sounds pretty straight forward right? You’d be surprised how many of you are probably living with a few gut symptoms that are NOT ok and are probably a bit of a warning sign that something isn’t right.

Here Are Top Five Signs And Symptoms That Your Gut May Need a Bit of TLC

  1. Irregular bowel motions. Now this can go both ways, in the ideal world what we want to see is 1-2 well formed bowel motions each day. What we don’t want is frequent visits to the loo with urgency and looseness to your stool. On the flip side – not punishing the porcelain for days on end {constipation} is also not ideal – especially if this accompanies lots of straining and a feeling of incomplete evacuation ie: it didn’t all come out.
  2. Blood and or Mucous in your stool. This is a pretty big warning sign that there’s something a little bit nasty going on down there. Mucus is sign of increased immune activity and/or infection. This is typically caused by eating foods that do not agree with us and/or bacterial imbalances / infections. If you have a pretty funky smell happening as well that’s also not cool.
  3. Hyperactivity. Lots of bloating, gas, cramping, gurgling and strange noises. These are all little GIT alarm bells going off trying to tell you {the human in charge} that something isn’t quite right. You don’t have to experience all of these, just one or a combination frequently is enough to pay attention to the ring-a-ding-ding .
  4. Reflux, heartburn and indigestion. These are all a sign that something may be going on with your upper digestive tract. If you get burning sensations in your rib cage and stomach area, acid reflux and/or lots of burping then we need to look into that. If things aren’t great at the beginning of the digestive process then there’s going to be downstream effects as well.
  5. A general feeling of being unwell. Like I said earlier, if our health begins in our gut, then this is the first place to start when we don’t feel great. If you experience random nausea, you get sick frequently and lack energy or you feel like you’re starting to react to all different types of foods then best start looking into what is going on at the gut level.

If you’ve been doing a few ‘head-nods’ reading this then perhaps it’s time you had a bit of a think about your gut health. The good news is that at the JCN Clinic we love this stuff and we are so happy to help you get down and dirty with your gut issues and sort them out once and for all. Gut health is as individual as you and I and is mostly determined by a combination of our genes, our bacteria , our life experiences and what we do or don’t do to help it out.
About Carissa Anne Mason

Nutritionist {BHSc} – The JCN Clinic Carissa is an accredited and practicing nutritionist at the JCN Clinic in Brisbane. The JCN Clinic is renowned for their focus on Digestive Health and an individualised, balanced approach to eating and nutrition. Carissa is available for Nutritional Consultations in person or via Skype or phone. To find out more contact the Clinic via email [email protected] or you book online here

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