Gut flora and digestive tract microorganisms diagnosis tiny person concept

From Sharp Health News, a publication of Sharp HealthCare

There’s lots of buzz about gut health and how you can improve it, but probiotics are not the cure-all for gastrointestinal (GI) issues, as some may believe. 

However, probiotics are considered safe for most people — except for people who are significantly immunocompromised — and may be worth using if they help with mild to moderate GI symptoms. 

More ways to help common GI symptoms include: 

  • High-fiber foods for people with symptoms of hemorrhoids or digestive conditions. 
  • Hydration and fiber for those with constipation. 
  • Avoidance of food triggers, such as caffeinated beverages, for people with reflux symptoms. 
  • General healthy lifestyle choices, including eating well, exercising, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol can also help. 

When to get help 

Unlike other organ systems, the GI tract can be taboo. Few individuals like to talk about their colon and bowel issues. However, it’s important to feel comfortable enough to discuss your digestive issues with your doctor so that you can find treatments to address potentially serious concerns. 

Symptoms that may indicate more severe GI tract problems include: 

  • Chronic diarrhea 
  • Rectal bleeding 
  • Black, tarry stools 
  • Unexplained weight loss or rapid weight gain 
  • Jaundice 
  • Iron-deficiency anemia 
  • Severe abdominal pain 

Talk with your doctor if you have new or concerning symptoms. Additionally, it’s important to get GI screening tests done at the proper age, such as colon cancer screening at age 45 for those who are at average risk. 

Not sure what preventative screenings you should be getting at your age? Download this infographic! 

Read this blog to learn more about colon cancer prevention. 

Learn about nutrition and holistic ways you can support your gut microbiome in VEBA’s Cooking & Nutrition classes led by Chef Leslie and Healing through Natural Medicine classes led by Dr. Ioanna Vouloumanou (Dr. V.) DAOM, LAc. Visit the class calendar to sign up for these educational classes.