Signs of Bad Gut Health

When your gut is functioning properly, you have a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria, your body produces digestive enzymes, absorbs nutrients effectively, fights against bacteria and infections, and eliminates waste and unwanted substances efficiently. But what happens when your gut is not functioning as it should be and you have an imbalance of bacteria?

Here are 10 signs that you may have an unhealthy gut:

  1. Upset stomach. Frequent discomfort, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn could be signs that your gut is having a hard time processing food and eliminating waste. It could also be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which research suggests could be linked to imbalances in the gut bacteria, called dysbiosis.
  2. Feeling Tired. People with chronic fatigue may have imbalances in the gut. One study found that almost half of people with fatigue also had IBS.
  3. Trouble Sleeping. An unhealthy gut can cause insomnia or poor sleep. The majority of your body’s serotonin, which affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So, when there’s an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, your sleep may be affected as well.
  4. Allergies. Food intolerances may be caused by the poor quality of bacteria in the gut. Research suggests that an unhealthy gut can play a role in allergic conditions including respiratory allergies, food allergies, and skin allergies.
  5. Sugar Cravings. Eating too much sugar can cause too many “bad” bacteria in the gut and dysbiosis. Research has suggested that one way to change your eating habits is by changing what is present in the microbiome.
  6. Unintentional weight gain or loss. When your gut is imbalanced, your body may struggle to absorb nutrients, store fat, and regulate blood sugar. Weight loss or gain may be caused by bacteria overgrowth or lack of nutrients.
  7. Skin irritations. Some skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis may be related to gut issues.
  8. Migraines. There may be a link between headaches and gut health, especially if you experience nausea or vomiting with migraines. Studies suggest that people with frequent headaches are more likely to have gastrointestinal disorders too.
  9. Autoimmune problems. Some “bad” gut bacteria may trigger autoimmune conditions like thyroid issues, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.
  10. Mood issues. There is a well-documented link between the gut and the brain, which may extend to your mood.  Studies suggest that gut disturbances and inflammation in the central nervous system may be potential causes of anxiety and depression and that probiotics may help treat these conditions.

Luckily, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to positively affect your gut health.  Lowering your stress levels, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and including prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods and/or supplements can go a long way to maintaining good gut health which in turn will have positive effects on your overall health.


Dix, M. (2020, August 25). 7 signs of an unhealthy gut and 7 ways to improve gut health. Healthline. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from

Frederick Health. (2021, July 29). 10 signs of an unhealthy gut. Frederick Health. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from

Pitino, E., Rapaport, L., Dyckman, R., Welch, A., Marks, J. L., Upham, B., Patino, E., & Phillips, Q. (n.d.). Signs of an unhealthy gut and what you can do about it. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from