Our processed and fast-paced work, home, and social demands have transformed our regular diets, exercise patterns, and lifestyles. And as we’ve become an increasingly stationary, increasingly starch and processed sugar-fed people, we’ve also discovered that our gut health directly impacts our health and wellness.
You may be asking how to heal your gut because of all the signs pointing to it being the root issue. And when you're surrounded by a world of potential digestive health problems, the task can be a little scary at first.
If you have just started looking into gut health — don’t get overwhelmed! Listen to your body and know that you can find solutions to ease your symptoms and improve your overall health.
How to Heal Your Gut
Oh the love-hate relationship with our bellies. We need that space to process nutrients, carry the 300-500 micro-biome species that live in our bodies, and fuel our bodies 24 hours, seven days a week.
But for so many women, it’s a rollercoaster of constipation and cramping to nausea and loose stools. No matter how “healthy” you eat or what you do, you may still be struggling with how you feel and why you can’t get out of the digestive rut.
We’re going to go over why a woman’s digestive health is so important, why we struggle with our stomachs, how our digestive systems are impacted by hormones, and what you can do to help your body.
Why is Gut Health So Important?
Gut health is increasingly in the spotlight because it affects so many different physical systems. Our gut health affects —
- Our immune systems
- Digestive diseases like IBD and IBS
- Cardiovascular Health
- Skin issues like eczema
- Endocrine and hormonal issues
- Central Nervous System, mood and mental health
- Autoimmune Disease
- Cancer Development
Beyond our own physical wellness, we also impact our children’s wellness through our intestinal flora. If you’re in the child development years, be sure you’re limiting your sugar intake, eating whole fruits and veggies, and taking herbals and prebiotic supplements and probiotics to fill in the gaps.
Why do we struggle with gut health?
Our digestive systems are incredibly complex, and you can spend a lot of time researching the various strains of bacteria, probiotics, and the like. There’s a wide range of what’s considered normal or regular bowel movements — but if your struggling emotionally and physically and feel like your digestive system's woes are at the root, there is most likely a connection.
The digestive system is system control for our bodies from day one. From when a baby grows in vitro and is birthed, to when she ingests mom’s breastmilk and then takes her first bite of food, their micro biome is growing. Your gut health is established by things out of your control — but you can do something to help your gut naturally heal and grow in health.
Gut Dysbiosis is a persistent imbalance of your guy’s microbiome. Sometimes, an illness or some life changes can impact your body for a while before correcting itself. But sometimes, your body gets stuck in this rut.
When you live with an overgrowth of bad bacteria, you may find yourself struggling with digestive upset as well as many other physical issues. Some risk factors include —
- Eating highly processed foods
- Ingesting chemicals from unwashed products
- Chemical absorption through the environment
- Taking antibiotics
- Maintaining high levels of stress and anxiety
Ultimately, we struggle with our digestive tract health because of things that are both in and out of our control. But you can choose to improve your lifestyle and wellness routines to help your body improve digestion.
Can hormones affect your bowels?
Hormones and gut health are interesting things. An unhealthy gut can contribute to unstable hormones and an increase in cortisol or stress. But added stress and anxiety can also cause stomach issues. While we don’t fully understand the connections between our gut and our brains, we know they are intrinsically connected.
Can female problems cause digestive problems?
Like we just mentioned, our hormones and our digestion are intertwined. So you may notice a slowed system, more constipation and bloating — or loose stools and increased flatulence — depending on estrogen and progesterone levels.
Thank you again, that time of the month!
From your period to perimenopause and beyond, estrogen and progesterone directly affect how you feel. Progesterone can make you either feel constipated or give you diarrhea. It’s also the hormone that makes you crave chocolate and sweets, which will slow down digestion.
And estrogen helps keep your stress response or cortisol lower and move things through your digestive system.
So when you hit the last two weeks of your period and estrogen drops, you may notice you struggle to be regular more. It's a great time to up all the things you should be doing to keep your gut healthy and microbiome in tact.
How to Be More Regular and Even Out My Hormones
Ultimately, holistically caring for your body will help you heal your gut, minimize symptoms from hormone swings, and keep your body on the right track. Exercise, stress levels, and eating well all impact how your hormones function.
Eating foods high in fiber, prebiotic, and probiotic elements can start to impact how you feel in a positive way. You can also take herbal and adaptogenic supplements to help your body’s physical systems.
Focus on foods like —
- Dark greens, like spinach and kale
- Fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha
- Fish (wild-caught salmon)
- Fresh grass-fed meats and bone broth
- Celery juice with lemon
- Herbals like licorice, marshmallow root, slippery elm, and ginger
If you have food sensitivity or have the leaky gut syndrome, you may need to stop eating FODMAP foods like —
- Processed meats
- Carbs and fruits like corn, bread, bananas, and apples
I personally have used our chai tea and celery juice and lemon to help cleanse and reset my gut health successfully! Take cold-pressed organic celery juice with a squeeze of lemon first thing in the morning for a tremendous gut-health boost — that can also help regulate your period!
You can also up your intake of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and zinc to help your body regulate digestion and hormones.
And if you feel like you’re having consistent stomach issues coupled with signs of yeast, bloating, rashes, and an increase in anxiety and depression, see a functional medical professional to help you navigate getting your body back to health.