Experts refer to the gut as the “second brain,” as it is responsible for getting the whole body into working order. It stands to reason that you need to make sure your gut is always healthy.
The question now is how can you tell if your gut is healthy and functioning as it should? Below are some signs you need to pay attention to.
1.) You Have a Regular Bowel Movement Pattern.
There are no set rules as to how often you should pass a stool, as it can vary significantly between individuals. Generally, moving your bowels between three times a day and three times a week is considered healthy. You should also be doing it during the day time.
If you notice any major changes in your normal habits, or if you are having to get up during the night to pass a stool, this could be a sign that something’s not quite right and you should speak to your doctor.
2.) You Are Passing Healthy Stools.
The color and consistency of your stools are important indicators of your gut health.
You know your gut is healthy when your stool:
- Has a smooth texture
- Has a sausage shape that passes as a single large stool or in a few smaller pieces
- Sinks in the toilet bowl
Unhealthy stools can be a warning sign of things of a poor diet, dehydration, food intolerances, stress, or underlying health issues. Stools that are lumpy or hard; too soft or runny; or of a different color unrelated to what you just ate usually signify an unhealthy gut. In such case, you should see your GI doctor.
3.) You Have a Good Gut Transit Time.
Gut transit time refers to how long it takes for the food you eat to be digested and travel through your gut. While this can vary widely between people, the ideal gut transit time is around 28 hours.
If your transit time seems too short or too long, you should speak to your doctor, as it may indicate a problem, such as food intolerance, constipation, or dumping syndrome – a condition in which food travels too quickly from your stomach to your small intestine.
4.)You Don’t Feel Any Discomfort During Bowel Movement.
Being able to pass a stool comfortably is a sign of a healthy gut. If you are having to strain or are experiencing pain or discomfort when passing a stool, visit your doctor. It could be a sign of an underlying problem, such as constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
5.) You Are Not Bloated.
Gas, in itself, is a byproduct of the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut and aid in normal digestion. People with healthy gut activity typically fart 10 to 20 times a day.
If you are experiencing persistent bloating, gut pain, nausea, weight loss, or are passing excessive gas, you should speak to your gastroenterologist, as these may signify an underlying digestive condition, such as ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease.
Digestive Health Care in Greater Austin, TX
At Austin Gastroenterology (AG), our board-certified gastroenterologists always take great pleasure in not only delivering outstanding medical care but also in providing patients with useful information, which they believe will empower them to make the wisest decisions about their digestive health.
To find more about our services or schedule an appointment with one of our GI specialists, call us at the location most convenient to you or you can use our online appointment request form.