When Is Your Stomach Ache Serious?

By the team at Speedoc,
December 16, 2021

The gut or gastrointestinal system plays a bigger role in our overall health. Studies have shown a link between gut health with our immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune health, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, cancer, and more.

When our digestive system has enough good bacteria, it is able to ward off the bad ones. The good bacteria, in a healthy environment, multiply to stifle the growth of the unhealthy ones. This is called having a good balance of bacteria in your gut.

Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

High stress levels, getting too little sleep, consumption of processed and high-sugar food, antibiotics, medication, and environmental exposure contribute to unhealthy gut health.

Here's what happens when there's an imbalance in your gut.

1 - Upset Stomach or Bloating

Surefire signs of an unhealthy or unbalanced gut microbiome are gassiness, bloating, nausea, diarrhoea or heartburn. This is your body’s way of telling you that it has problems processing food and eliminating waste.

You could also experience sudden food intolerance. This is not a food allergy but is a condition experienced when there’s an immune system reaction to certain foods.

2 - Skin Irritation

Skin conditions like acne and eczema are sometimes related to a damaged or irritated gut. It can also be caused by the leaking of certain proteins out into the body.

Experts found a connection between gut health, anxiety and depression, and skin conditions.

So, if you’re experiencing a breakout or an episode of bad eczema, maybe it’s time to examine what you’re eating.

3 - Sleep Disturbances or Constant Fatigue

Naturally, when your tummy is not feeling well, you may experience problems falling asleep on those nights. If you start suffering from insomnia or long-term sleep disturbances, it could lead to chronic fatigue.

The main players here are important messengers in the brain - serotonin and dopamine.

The intestinal metabolism connects brain function via the body’s circulatory system and vagus nerve. The network is called the “brain-gut axis”. We need to take this into consideration because our ability to catch a good night’s sleep is linked to conditions like fibromyalgia.

4 - Unexpected Weight Gain or Loss

Unless you’re on a diet, unexpected weight loss may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. Because of the imbalance in the gut microbiome, it may be hard for your body to digest food or absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, or store fat.

Disruption to the digestive system could also indicate Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) which is a rather serious condition. Weight loss, in the meantime, could be indicative of insulin resistance or decreased nutrient absorption.

5 - Autoimmune Conditions

When the gut microbiome is disrupted or there’s inflammation, it could lead to cell damage and/or autoimmune conditions. It is thought that an unhealthy gut increases instances of systemic inflammation and compromises the immune system.

Trusted sources reported that the gut microbiome has an impact on cognitive function, memory, brain development, sleep cycle, and mental health.

How To Improve Your Gut Health

Improving your gut health does not happen overnight. It takes effort and persistence.

1 - Lower Your Stress Level

One simple thing you can begin with is to monitor and lower your daily stress levels.

According to an article published by the World Journal of Gastroenterology, high-stress levels cause disturbances to your brain and gut. This could lead to higher stress and anxiety levels and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

On the other hand, underactive brain signals may slow down activities in the gut resulting in the exact opposite…constipation, gassiness, and abdominal discomfort. So, if you have to indulge in meditation, take a stroll in the park, get yourself a massage, or spend time with your friends, do it.

2 - Squeeze In Some Snooze Time

It’s a vicious cycle - with lack of sleep, there could be gut issues, and with gut issues, you may lack sleep. Having uninterrupted 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is crucial to one’s overall well-being. If it’s recurring, we strongly recommend speaking to a doctor.in Singapore.

Naturally, our bodies are geared to maintaining homeostasis which is a biological system that adjusts the condition of the body for optimal survival.

After a stress response is triggered, there’s an imbalance. Usually, the body returns to its normal state after the stressful trigger is over.

With people who have chronic stress or anxiety, their bodies are unable to return to a state of homeostasis.

3 - Savour Your Food Slowly

The faster you eat, the harder it is for your body to digest it. So, chew slowly and eat more deliberately. Slow meals promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients, thereby reducing digestive discomfort.

A study conducted by Kyushu University, Japan, found that people who took the time to chew their food deliberately have better digestion, feel fuller, have smaller waistlines and lower body mass index.

Heart-wise, a conference of the American Heart Association study found that those who ate fast were 11% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

4 - Taking Your Probiotics or Prebiotics

Prebiotics are known to be the aid we need to supplement our diet and improve gut health. It promotes the growth of good bacteria in our guts while probiotics ARE live good bacteria.

Do note, however, that you should not consume probiotics if you’re experiencing SIBO.

Before you purchase prebiotics or probiotics, get high-quality ones. You can speak with your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider when choosing a probiotic or prebiotic.

5 - Change Your Diet

The obvious change we should all be making to our diet is to reduce the amount of processed, high-sugar, and high-fat food in our diet.

To further promote a healthy gut microbiome:

  • Eat a wide range of food to encourage the growth of a more diverse microbiome

  • Increase the number of vegetables, beans, legumes, and **fruits **you eat

  • Eat more high fibre foods like artichokes, green peas, raspberries, lentils, whole grains, etc

  • Eat fermented food like yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, and soybean milk.

  • To reduce your blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol level, and oxidative stress add more food rich in polyphenols like cloves, dark chocolate, berries, and beans into your daily diet.

Let Speedoc Help You Handle Tummy Troubles At Home

Because Speedoc has the right medical team to handle acute conditions like allergies, gastric pains, fatigue, infections, high blood pressure, diarrhoea, vomiting, and much more, you can always call us at +65 6909 7799, email us at clinic.sg@speedoc.com, or use our app to book a video consultation with one of our doctors to get your tummy checked out.

Download the Speedoc App now for an easy booking experience!