You’ve likely been hearing more and more about how important gut health is to the body. But what does “gut health” even mean? And could it possibly be connected somehow to my bladder leaks? The research is still emerging, but the answer is yes.
What is Gut Health and how does it affect the body?
The gut is involved in everything related to the food we consume and how we digest it. But when we talk about gut health, we are really talking about the balance of bacteria in the microbiome.
What is the microbiome?
You may never have heard of the microbiome, but it’s a pretty big deal – so big in fact that it’s labeled as a supporting organ since it plays such an important part in keeping the body running smoothly. The microbiome is found throughout the body, but primarily in the large and small intestines. It contains trillions of different types of microorganisms, both good and bad. These microorganisms typically co-exist peacefully in a healthy environment. However, things like illness, poor diet choices, or the use of antibiotics can disrupt this balance, leading to all sorts of reactions in the body and making us more vulnerable to disease.
Why good gut health is important.
When your gut health is poor (meaning that the bacteria in your microbiome become unbalanced), it becomes harder for your body to absorb nutrients, store fat, and regulate blood sugar. Not only can poor gut health lead to illness, but it can also wreak havoc on everything from your immune system, skin, heart health, mood, sleep quality, brain health, and digestion. What’s more, keeping your gut healthy may even help to prevent certain diseases like cancer or autoimmune diseases.
How is gut health connected to my bladder leaks?
So, now that we know how important the microbiome is to the body, is it possible that your gut can also have an effect on bladder health? It turns out that may be the case.
Urine was long considered to be sterile. However, new research has shown that urine actually contains its own microbes. A review of studies that looked at the urine samples of women with different types of urinary incontinence compared to control groups found that those with UI contained a different make-up of bacteria in their urinary microbiome than those who did not have urinary incontinence. What’s more, that makeup varies by type of urinary incontinence.
While the research is still very limited, it is possible that further exploring the makeup of urinary bacteria in the urinary microbiome may lead to both a better predictor of urinary incontinence, a better classification of the various types of incontinence (OAB/UI/SUI/MI), and potentially better treatments that can be used to target the condition.
Research has also shown that the presence of urinary tract infection-causing bacteria is more prevalent in the gut of those prone to UTIs. And, conversely, reduced risk of UTIs was found in those who have a high amount of beneficial bacteria, namely Faecalibacterium and Romboutsia in the gut.
How Do I Know If My Gut Is Unhealthy?
You may not realize it, but because your gut can impact so many things in the body – from your mood to digestion, and even your skin, poor gut health can manifest in all sorts of ways. Below are a few things that may indicate the balance of bacteria in your gut is a bit off:
Digestive issues, such as gas, bloating, constipation, or upset stomach
Trouble sleeping or generally poor sleep
Feeling tired and sluggish all the time
Skin rashes or irritations
Unexplained weight gain or loss
Mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression
How To Improve Your Gut Health
There are a few simple things you can do to promote good gut health. (Bonus – these are all great for your overall health too!)
Choose Your Food Wisely.
Loading up on healthy probiotics (like Keifer, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi) and prebiotics (high fiber vegetables, fruits, and whole grains) can help provide your gut with the “good” bacteria it needs to stay balanced. Cut back on processed foods, which contain loads of sugar and harmful bacteria. How you eat is important too – take your time to enjoy your meal and chew slowly to ensure your body is able to properly digest what you’re eating and can absorb the nutrients. (Note: What you eat can also have an impact on your bladder and potential leaks. Click here to download a list of common bladder irritants.)
Get Plenty Of Sleep.
Sleep can disrupt the gut in all sorts of sneaky ways. Too little sleep can alter your hormones, making you more stressed which can lead to gut issues. It may also make you choose more unhealthy foods or eat closer to bedtime, both of which can affect your gut health.
Exercise can benefit the body in all sorts of ways, but studies have found that it can actually change the makeup of bacteria in your gut.
Avoid Antibiotics If You Can.
Antibiotics can destroy both good and bad bacteria that are found in the gut. Don’t take an antibiotic unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Drinking plenty of water helps you stay regular, and also aids in digestion.
Practice these tips regularly for a healthy gut, and healthy life.
Really I was not aware of “gut health” and I have never heard of this word before. But as I have gone through this blog I got to know that if we are taking good food, staying hydrated, getting proper rest, exercise regularly and taking care of our body, mind and soul, then we will stay healthy and not only incontinence but other diseases will not make any impact on us.