Our bodies are covered by bacteria inside and out. We can’t see them, which is good news, but, just like our emotions they can get out of balance. Some will grow larger in population while the others will start diminishing and before you know it, your beneficial bacteria are fighting to survive inside your gut.
Possibly without realizing, you are overfeeding some bacteria with some great tasting sugary foods and carbohydrates, and they are rejoicing and multiplying, and your left wondering why you are having so many digestive disturbances and cravings that never seem to fill up the hunger in your stomach.
Your body is asking for more carbohydrates, chocolate or anything that is sweet, and of course you can’t resist it. It’s the overgrown bacteria that is asking for the constant food supply.
If you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria to balance the overgrown ones, it causes all kinds of health disturbances. Some of the signs are constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies and sensitivities, bad breath, bloating, chemical sensitivities, headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, skin irritations, inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune conditions.
Some of the bacteria that are important to balance out are H. pylori and candida yeast overgrowth’s as well as parasites such as cryptosporidium, giardia, C. difficile, E. histolytica. Some of the beneficial bacteria are lactobacillus and bifidobacter.
How to know for sure?
Firstly, noticing your cravings and possible binge eating patterns then matching them up with associated physical signs and symptoms. Then analyzing your own stool with the help of the Bristol Stool Scale.
Here are some further tips:
- The smell should be odorless, if there is a rotten egg smell it could be parasites and intestinal infection.
- You should pass stool at least 1 x per day to maintain health, up to 3 is good, if only passing stool every few days, there is an increased toxic overload for the gut and possible bacteria overgrowth.
- If it is Type 7 watery, it shows malabsorption, inflammation, allergies, irritation, could be B12 and Iron deficient.
- If it is really thin, there could be bowel obstruction, some being stuck on wall, not coming through, this will add more toxic load.
- If Type 1, look at dehydration.
- If stool keeps floating, it is the gas produced by the bacteria that live in your gut, it could also be an inability to digest fat.
Another option would be to do a Pathological Digestive Stool Analysis
This can be undertaken through pathology labs. A level 1 comprehensive stool analysis can be done for $100 plus $20 initiation fee. This is a laboratory visual detection for beneficial and other bacteria, yeasts and parasites. You would be supplied a kit, and collect the stool sample in the supplied tube. More comprehensive tests are also available.
If you suspect you could have a candida overgrowth (this is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide), a saliva test can determine for sure. The cost is $60 plus a $20 initiation fee.
Contact me at wholisticguidance.com for more information on testing.
How can you help yourself?
It differs from person to person, depending on other factors such as pancreatic function, enzyme deficiencies, Intestinal permeability, inflammation or adrenal fatigue. However, the first step is diet modification, anyone who has any digestive issues in their gut needs to go on a grain free diet, low carbohydrate diet or a paleo diet. Check out my post “Our love of grain, where’s the gain”.
Secondly, an elimination diet, where you eliminate foods for a certain amount of time, usually up to 4 weeks, then reintroduce certain foods and monitor your reactions to them such as bloating, joint pain, headaches and skin breakouts. This is extremely inexpensive and can even save you money. Main foods to eliminate are all sweets, carbohydrates, fruit, dairy, all wheat, corn, barley, spelt, rye, oats, coffee, alcohol, nuts and seeds.
Thirdly, a detox, Check out my post “Does your body need a detox?”. (may not be beneficial if you have adrenal fatigue, only with guidance)
Fourthly, pro-biotics to help the beneficial bacteria grow, a product that includes lactobacillus and bifidobacter or sauerkraut (from fridge only), kambucha or kefir.
Fifthly, take some anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal herbs and supplements such as ginger, coconut oil, turmeric and raw apple cider vinegar.
Fourthly, identify when you crave the sweets and carbohydrates. What are the emotional triggers? when do you eat the most food? Is it a reward? How can you change that reaction?
Finally, find someone to help you on this path, and involve the people you live with, get a support group, it will be easier for the journey towards living with balanced bacteria.
Check out Gut Bacteria is Good for You from Underground Wellness for a great 1o minute explanation of our gut bacteria: