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Unhealthy Digestive System: 7 Signs to Watch Out For

Unhealthy Digestive System: 7 Signs to Watch Out For

The digestive system is made up of various organs that all work together to help us digest food and provide nutrition and energy. Because of this, having an unhealthy digestive system can have a large impact on your overall health.

But how exactly do you know if something’s wrong?

7 Signs of an unhealthy digestive system

It’s not uncommon for us to experience various problems affecting our digestive tract. Some people feel bloated, acidic, constipated, or even have loose stools. Typically, these symptoms go away after some time, since they’re usually caused by an infection or illness. However, if these symptoms frequently come and go, or if you regularly experience these things, you might have an unhealthy digestive system1.

One interesting thing about the digestive system is that it relies on bacteria in the gut to help break down food. This means that aside from having proper organ function, the key to having a healthy digestive tract is finding the right balance of helpful bacteria.

This also means that if the balance of good bacteria is off, then you can experience some problems with digestion. In fact, there’s a good chance that if you’re having chronic digestive problems, then the balance of good bacteria is off in your gut2.

Here are the 7 signs you need to watch out for:

1. You frequently experience stomach discomfort

A number of things can cause stomach discomfort. Eating too much, eating too little, indigestion, bloating, as well as constipation and diarrhea are just some of the things that cause stomach discomfort.

It’s normal to experience some of these symptoms if you’re sick, but if you regularly experience these symptoms, then it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it.

2. Constant fatigue

If you’re feeling constantly tired, worn out, or fatigued, then it could be a sign of an unhealthy digestive system. It’s possible that these symptoms could be a sign of IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, as well as other imbalances in the gut.

Either way, you should never ignore fatigue since it could be a possible symptom of a more serious illness.

3. Difficulty sleeping

One interesting fact about the gut is that serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is mostly produced in a person’s gut. This means that if you’re having difficulty sleeping, then you might have a problem in your digestive system.

4. Sugar cravings

It’s perfectly fine to crave something sweet every so often. But if you constantly find yourself looking for sugary treats, then you might have an unhealthy digestive system.

In particular, eating too much sugar can cause the “bad” bacteria in your gut to grow out of control. This upsets the balance of bacteria in your gut, and leads to digestive problems. Another thing about sugary foods is that eating too much has been linked to inflammation, and can potentially lead to more serious illness.

5. Chronic diarrhea

Do you find yourself regularly going to the toilet? Do you have loose stools? Then you might have chronic diarrhea, and possibly an unhealthy digestive system.

On average, people go to the toilet about once or twice a day. But if you go beyond that regularly, even if you’re not sick, you might want to talk to your doctor about it as it might be a sign of a problem in your digestive tract.

6. Chronic constipation

Just as chronic diarrhea is a problem, chronic constipation is also a problem. People’s toilet habits can vary widely, and some people can go a couple of days without having to use the toilet.

But if you find yourself not going to the toilet for longer than that, or constantly having hard stools, you might have chronic constipation.

7. Hemorrhoids

Lastly, hemorrhoids, or enlarged veins around the anus, are another sign of an unhealthy digestive tract. The usual culprit for hemorrhoids is chronic constipation, but chronic diarrhea can also be a cause for this condition.

Hemorrhoids can be very painful, or even cause bleeding. It’s always a good idea to visit your doctor if you feel you have hemorrhoids.

Learn more about Digestive Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  1. What is ‘gut health’ and why is it important?, https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/what-is-gut-health-and-why-is-it-important/2019/07, Accessed September 6, 2021
  2. Family Physician Shares Signs of Poor Gut Health | Piedmont Healthcare, https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/signs-of-poor-gut-health, Accessed September 6, 2021
  3. 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut, https://www.frederickhealth.org/news/2021/july/10-signs-of-an-unhealthy-gut/, Accessed September 6, 2021, Accessed September 6, 2021
  4. The Scope Blog – 6 Common Digestive Disorders – Tanner Health System, https://www.tanner.org/the-scope/6-common-digestive-disorders, Accessed September 6, 2021
  5. 7 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut: It May Not Be Indigestion | 1MD, https://1md.org/article/7-signs-symptoms-unhealthy-gut, Accessed September 6, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated a week ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza