No one is immune from the occasional stomach ache. However, prolonged or irregular issues with your gut and stomach could be the signs of serious digestive problems that require medical attention.
When a common “belly ache” becomes a regular weekly event, it could mean a serious gut imbalance that can have far reaching consequences for the entire health of your body. Don’t just chalk it up to having a “sensitive” stomach, seek out care to avoid compromising your health long-term.
Some examples of digestive issues that go undiagnosed that need medical attention include:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Irritable Bowel Disease
- Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Pathogens and Parasites growing in the gut
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
Symptoms of these conditions along with many other issues can also include:
- abdominal pain
- acid reflux
- neurological issues
- new food allergies
- skin issues.
Dr. Gagnon is expertly trained to discuss the symptoms and causes of your digestive health problems and diagnose an effective treatment plan. These issues can be caused by nutrition issues, an undiagnosed medical issue, increased stress, a gluten allergy, inflammation or infection.
Taking gut issues seriously can mean vibrant health for a lifetime. The gut has many crucial roles in protecting the overall health and wellness of our bodies, starting with the intake and absorption of nutrients and water. However few people realize that gut health isn’t just about having proper digestion and nutritional uptake, a heathly gut plays a huge role in the health of your immune system and your brain.
Recent medical breakthroughs have shown that the balance of friendly gut microbes that live in your digestive system rule the entire health of your body. The good gut “bugs” are your first defense against harmful viruses and bacteria. They also safe-guard proper communication between your brain and gut and your body and gut. They are not only needed for proper digestion but also to regulate mood and manage stress levels.
Many perimenopausal and menopausal women experience hormonal imbalance due to dysbiosis. Not only does your gut microbiome produce hormones, it can also communicate with your endocrine system, letting it know how much of each hormone to make and release into your system.
- Thyroid Hormones: Low microbial diversity has been linked to increased thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) leading to hyperthyroidism (irritability, anxiety, rapid weight loss, irregular heart rate). An imbalanced gut microbiome is associated with decreased TSH leading to hypothyroidism (weight gain, constipation, poor memory, sensitivity to cold). A healthy gut converts Free T4 to the active thyroid hormone Free T3. Dysbiosis decreases this conversion, thus decreases Free T3, leading hypothyroid symptoms.
- Estrogen: Your gut microbes produce an enzyme, beta-glucuronidase, that converts estrogen into it’s active form and allows it to be reabsorbed into your circulation. This can lead to estrogen dominance (weight gain and cancer). Also, there is a specific group of microbes in your gut called your “estrobolome”. Your estrobolome consists of bacteria that are capable of metabolizing estrogens, preventing estrogen dominance. Dysbiosis leads to an ineffective estrobolome.
- Melatonin: Melatonin helps you to fall and stay asleep. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, and testosterone/human growth hormone deficiency. For your body to make melatonin, you need sufficient serotonin (calming/happy hormone). Approximately 90% of your serotonin is produced by the bacteria in your gut. Gut dysbiosis leads to a decrease in serotonin production, thus a decrease in melatonin production.
- Cortisol, Epinephrine, and Norepinephrine: These hormones put your body on high alert; they are your “fight-or-flight” hormones. When your gut is inflamed, it triggers the release of these hormones. When they are too high for too long they cause further inflammation leading to insulin resistance and weight gain.
- Ghrelin: The ghrelin hormone tells you it’s time to eat. An inflamed, unhealthy gut promotes unhealthy bacteria that can increase your levels of ghrelin leading to weight gain.
If you have been experiencing symptoms that may be connected with digestive problems and are looking for answers, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gagnon, D.O. today!