Practitioners near you who treat gut health

Gut Health refers to wellbeing in the digestive system.

Having good gut health means that all aspects of the gastrointestinal system – from the oesophagus to the bowel – are strong and free from illness. When you have a healthy digestive tract you can easily:

  • Break down food into tiny pieces
  • Extract and absorb nutrients from foods
  • Maintain healthy bacteria in the intestines
  • Excrete waste via the bowels
  • Support immunity
  • Fuel the body and mind.

Poor digestion occurs when one or more aspects of the digestive process are compromised.

This leads to gut health symptoms, like reflux, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation and more. Poor gut health can even contribute to fatigue, inflammation and increased pain sensitivity.

Digestive disorders can also compromise mental health.

This is because the gut, a.k.a. ‘second brain’, has nerve endings that communicate with your actual brain. This complicated gut/brain axis is why having a bloated tummy or long term constipation can contribute to brain fog, mood imbalances, anxiety and depression.

Gut health for women is another important topic.

Estrogen and progesterone play a role in digestion and gut health. This means that women are susceptible to gut issues as their hormones rise and fall.

  • Young women with unbalanced hormones often feel unwell. They may have diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and susceptibility to period pain.
  • Perimenopause and menopause also impacts digestion. Gut health for women during this time may feel ‘off’. It’s common to have more diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and flatulence while estrogen and progesterone levels shift. Prioritising gut health foods can help.

Medical professionals agree that the importance of gut health cannot be overemphasised. It’s the reason that gut health foods and gut health supplements are often in the media.

What about probiotics?

Probiotics are one of the most common gut health supplements discussed.

Walk into any health food shop or pharmacy and you’ll find a whole section dedicated to them. But what are probiotics and why are they one of the most prized gut health supplements?

Essentially, probiotics are live microorganisms. When taken in adequate amounts, they support the balance of good vs ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut. This promotes wellbeing in the digestive tract, hormones, nervous system and brain.

Probiotics also lower systemic inflammation and protect the gut lining. This is good news if you have leaky gut syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Choosing the best probiotic for you can be tricky though.

While all strains have the potential to support gut health, some can exacerbate digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals. Naturopaths understand the importance of gut health and can help you choose the right probiotic for you.

Many gut health foods contain probiotics, e.g. yoghurt, kefir. The best ones contain live and active cultures and can be a useful way to support gut health on a daily basis.

When to see a digestive health expert?

Digestivet health is about much more than probiotics and yoghurt.

Persistent digestive symptoms make it difficult to take part in life. Work, school, social commitments may all be affected. They can also decrease your wellbeing over time, which is why gut issues need to be investigated by a health professional.

While you may think extreme bloating is something you can live with, it could be a sign of coeliac disease.

Also, you could dismiss daily reflux as ‘just annoying’. But, in reality it could relate to a stomach ulcer or gallstones.

Any gut health issue that remains for more than a few weeks needs to be investigated by an expert. This will help you know whether simple gut health foods and supplements are all you need. Or, if more complex gastrointestinal examinations are required.

Signs and Symptoms

Common gut health signs and symptoms include:

Relux, heartburn, bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, food intolerances, weight gain, weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, difficulty swallowing, blood in the stools, pain when passing stools, low energy, skin problems, headaches, anxiety, depression, mood swings.

These signs and symptoms may relate to digestive diseases, like:

Leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, chron’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, coealic disease, haemorrhoids, anal fissure, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD), oesophageal narrowing, liver disease, liver failure, hepatitis, gallstones, gastritis, Helicobacter pylori infection, pancreatitis.


Treatment for poor gut health needs to be individualised for each person and relate to the initial cause/s. Common treatments include:

  • Medications – There are many medications that help with gut health issues, like reflux, heartburn, diarrhoea and nausea. In most instances, these medications are not treating the actual cause and only help with symptom control. NB: Some medications have side-effects that decrease gut health.
  • Stress Reduction – Stress exacerbates most digestive conditions and makes symptoms worse. Taking time for self care, getting adequate sleep and removing yourself from highly stressful situations can improve gut health symptoms.
  • Diet Modifications – Avoid identified food intolerances or food allergies. Continuing to eat these will further increase inflammation and worsens digestive symptoms.
  • Alternative Therapies – Natural healthcare professionals can help you with gut health problems. Talk with a Nutritionist, Naturopath, Acupuncturist or Ayurveda Practitioners.

Causes of Poor Gut Health

Common causes of gut health problems include:

  • Diet: low in fruits, vegetables, fibre; high in sugar, processed foods, fat, protein; food intolerances/allergies; little variety
  • Chronic dehydration
  • Inadequate exercise
  • Poor sleep
  • High stress
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Recreational drug use
  • Medications, e.g. antibiotics
  • Chronic infections
  • Other health conditions
  • Caesarean birth
  • Bottle feeding children

What Works For Gut Health – Natural Options

Here are some natural, drug-free ways to support gut health:

A Healthy Diet that’s full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and clean water supports digestive health. Inflammatory foods to minimise include red meat, processed/refined sugars, gluten, dairy, eggs, artificial sweeteners.

Foods for Gut Health give extra support to the digestive system. Top choices include yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, fresh pineapple, papaya, garlic, ginger, flaxseeds, chia seeds, chamomile tea.

Supplements for Gut Health help to minimise digestive symptoms and promote gut healing. Excellent choices include probiotics for constipation/diarrhoea, slippery elm bark for leaky gut syndrome, meadowsweet for reflux, st mary’s thistle for liver problems, magnesium for sluggish bowels.

Sleep impacts the gut microbiome. If you’re constantly lacking sleep, stress hormones increase and the balance of good vs bad bacteria is disrupted. Getting adequate sleep is essential for gut health, gut healing and overall wellbeing. Aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night.

Exercise helps the digestive system function at its best. It does this by facilitating the movement of energy, nutrients, water, lymph, oxygen and wastes around the body. Gut health issues can develop if any of these substances become stagnant.

Find A Professional

The following health experts can help gut health:

  • Nutritionists
  • Naturopaths
  • Ayurveda Practitioners
  • Acupuncturists
  • Massage Therapists
  • Yoga Instructors
  • Pilates Instructors
  • Personal Trainers

Avaana can help you find a trusted health expert in your area.

Supporting Someone With Poor Gut Health

Here are 3 things you can do to support someone with poor gut health:

  1. Water. One of the simplest things you can do is to offer your friend a big glass of water. Studies show that people who drink more water have lower levels of a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal diseases.
  2. Food Swaps. Many people with unhappy guts also have food intolerances, but they don’t always know it. If you’re the household chef, it’s worth experimenting with food swaps at meal times. Making a sandwich with gluten free bread, instead of wheat bread, may help minimise your friend’s bloating. Similarly, swapping dairy milk for plant milk or coconut milk in a curry could reduce flatulence.
  3. Fun. If your friend is particularly stressed, suggest a fun activity that you can do together. Reducing stress levels helps to decrease gut inflammation, release feel-good chemicals, and decrease digestive symptoms.


How can I improve my gut health?

Eat a predominantly plant-based diet that’s full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. You can also drink plenty of water, get sufficient sleep and minimise your stress levels to support digestion.

What are 5 common symptoms of gut health problems?

  • Reflux
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue.

How do you know your gut is unhealthy?

These signs suggest you may have an unhealthy gut:

  1. You’re bloated most of the time, or you feel bloated after every meal
  2. You feel sick or heavy in the stomach
  3. Oftentimes you feel nauseous or vomit
  4. You have skin breakouts, e.g. acne, rashes, hives
  5. You’re addicted to sugar.

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