There are a variety of weak digestive system symptoms to indicate an imbalance in the gut. More often than not the cues are loud, but sometimes they can be subtle enough that we can let things get into a horrendous state before we are forced to take action.
Although a little gas or bloating can be innocent enough, it is important that we listen to our body and respond when action is needed.
This article is going to explore the symptoms of a weak digestive system and provide you with some options for calming the gut down.
I have been in digestive hell for a few years. I know that it is much more than a physical experience.
The anxiety and frustration I have felt at my own body for not responding to the ‘cleanest’ diets, or all the expensive herbal protocols.
I experienced extreme hopelessness in the beginning of my journey when nothing the doc prescribed worked. I continued to blindly take the myriad of prescription meds they would prescribe though because of the belief that the doctor ‘knows best’….
When it comes to gut health, doctors actually do NOT know best.
They will attempt to band aid your symptoms and after a few rounds of drugs that do more harm than healing, they will tell you that you have IBS and that there is no cure.
One thing that is true, is that there is no quick fix. There is also no one method to suit all, but I will not admit defeat.
However, I am now a strong advocate of taking healing into your own hands.
This can be equally as frustrating as it is scary at times. For sure. One of the big challenges to be wary of is falling too deep into any one particular rabbit hole. You can waste a lot of time and energy when you become dogmatic in one belief system and trust me there are many out there claiming to have the found the elixir of life.
Of course if you find something that works, amazing, stick at it.
However, if something is not working for you. Adjust. Always allow room to be flexible and fluid. This is the only way we learn and evolve.
How prevalent they truly are! I don’t know whether I find it comforting to know that so many people are in the same bloated boat as I am, or if it scares me because there really seems to be no healing going on out there!
Most people will have at least experienced some form of discomfort in the belly, but when symptoms are chronic and persistent it can really take its toll mentally and physically.
A lot of people experience relief when they clean up their diet and this is not a surprise when you look at the kinds of foods we are typically eating. Not to mention our relationship to food, where more is more and even MORE is more when we are sad, lonely, bored or looking to connect.
For some lucky people a simple diet clean up can do the trick.
However, when there is something more going on even the cleanest diet can be of no avail and this is frustrating beyond belief. When you are doing ‘all the right things’ (which are often not the right things), and you STILL suffer… this is when a dark and heavy cloak of hopelessness can start to weigh down on your shoulders.
For me the game changer was getting my mind in check. I was obsessed with finding my ‘heal all’ and was looking into all the corners of the internet, trying to find what worked for others.
At first it was trying to find that one pill. Soon that turned into finding that one fast (to rule them all…)
I know, I’ll eat only mangoes for 30 days. That will reset my whole body.
Understanding that my obsession and stress were only making things worse, forced me to stop and breathe. I know this isn’t the advice you want, you want a solution… I know.
In the meantime though you HAVE to get your mind in check. Comprehend that you are NOT your gut health. You are NOT your bloated belly, you are a being in a physical body simply experiencing GI discomfort and EVERYTHING is impermanent and fleeting.
I won’t go on and on about the importance and beauty of meditation (for now), but I will just say that the gut-brain connection is so widely acknowledged that it is something to look into.
Weak Digestive System Symptoms
There are many tell tale signs that the gut is imbalanced.
Sometimes these signs can be obvious and hard to ignore, but other times the cues are more subtle. Some of the most common are;
Even when we are eating all the ‘right things’, if the body is unable to digest and utilise our food we can become malnourished. Low B12 and low iron are both common indicators that the gut is not absorbing effectively what it needs. Many people will be quick to take a supplement but this is not going to treat the root cause of the issue.
Coming back to that gut-brain connection.
Often what is going on in the belly, can have a direct effect on your mental health. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, brain fog… these can also be a sign of gut imbalance.
Another question that no one wants to ask, but is more than informative in regards to gut health;
‘how many bowel movements are you having a day?’
Think about how many meals you are having, the size of those meals and what their transit time through the body is? When you think about it in these terms, maybe you can see that going once a day doesn’t really cut it.
Although once a day would be said to be the ‘norm’, ideally you want to be having 2-3 healthy bowel movements a day (if you are having 2-3 hearty meals)
Plan of Attack
All of these symptoms, your bowel movements and the state of your mental health can tell you a lot about the state of your GI tract.
If you are suffering from any of these, I feel your pain and I want to share with you now what is supporting me when I am suffering.
What can you actually do to ease your woes?
When your symptoms are raging, when suffering is relentless and nothing is easing your discomfort, my advice to you is to fast.
Even it is just for 24hours.
You should navigate this in any way that feels good for you. You can juice or water fast and either one will give your digestive system a break. Even if 24 hours is out of your comfort zone, you could simply push out your first meal of the day and fast for 15 hours… 18 hours.
The aim is to remove everything that is irritating the system and let it settle.
What you do next will be dependant on where you are at and what you are comfortable with. You could continue to fast, really allowing the body to rest or find another healing protocol that suits.
This is where you will want to do your own research. Remember what I said about not getting trapped in any one rabbit hole though…. Keep an open mind, find what resonates and leave what doesn’t.
One option if you are more detox inclined, is to try a more elaborate fasting protocol. You could extend your fast with juice or water. A more intensive fast that I have not done myself, but I see many doing is The Master Fast System. This protocol involves drinking pasteurised grape juice, dry fasting, taking herbal support and doing enemas to help clean the terrain. This fast is not to be taken lightly and would require that you to do the research and have adequate support!
Another option is to onto a herbal protocol and go for mucus free foods.
Another is to do a mono fruit feast.
Other options are experimenting with an elimination diet, or bringing in fermented foods and drinks to try and boost your gut flora.
I know I’ve just thrown a lot of options at you. I am sorry for that. Try not to be overwhelmed as stress is a major gut irritant, just be glad there are options.
The first thing you want to do, is to take a breath. Allow the breath to quieten and find relief from mental suffering.
Take Home Message
When the digestive system is outta whack, it can take its toll mentally and physically. Sometimes symptoms are easy to ignore and other times they are there loud and clear, but regardless you want to take them seriously.
All dis-ease starts in the gut.
It’s not just me saying that… these are the wise words of Hippocrates.
A little bit of food baby bloating or gas can be innocent enough. However, when your symptoms are persistent and seemingly unwarranted some investigation might be due.
Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by the myriad of information out there. Stress is only going to exacerbate your symptoms further and worry adds nothing productive to the situation. I KNOW this is easier said then done, but when you are lost in a vortex of anxiety and depression try to come back to the breath and know you WILL be OK and YOU are NOT you digestive problems.