Stomach and digestive issues affect a significant number of people across the UK. There is a growing interest in the medical/scientific/health arena regarding the link between the gut and the mind, with reports suggesting that an overload of ‘bad’ gut bacteria could be contributing to certain mental health conditions or symptoms.
We recently chatted to Velile Ndebele – Clinical Director of Aqualibria who draws on almost two decades of experience and treatments to provide expert insight into how Colonic Hydrotherapy forms part of this debate.
Over the years, more and more medical discoveries have been made due to new technologies and the bright minds behind them, allowing us to discover the clear links between gut health and the mind. With interest continuously growing and people becoming more cautious about living a healthy lifestyle in both body and mind, they are now realising that gut health is hugely important for both physical and mental health. This is due to the interconnected neural pathways that directly connect the gut and the brain; the brain controls the chemicals released in the gut, which then triggers the gut to release chemicals in the brain.
Having ‘bad’ gut health simply means there is an imbalance of good bacteria in the gut. However, there are numerous other complications that come with this that most people do not expect. From physical to mental complications, the gut can actually affect almost anything! Physical symptoms can include experiencing unexpected weight loss or gain since your body isn’t absorbing fat the way it usually would. On top of this, people often experience problems with sleeping, restlessness, bloating, diarrhoea and headaches, all because of problems with their gut – since these symptoms can be associated with various other illnesses, they often go untreated.
More worryingly is the mental and behavioural issues that can stem from poor gut health; it has even been found that anxiety and depression can be associated with poor gut health. These two illnesses can hinder an individual’s life significantly, especially if it seems these symptoms are developing out of the blue. On top of this, people may experience indecisiveness, a quick temper, irritability, inability to relax and poor concentration. These symptoms can be difficult to recognise without another perspective, thus resulting in it usually going untreated for a long period of time.
The major impact that gut health can have on your life means it is essential that it is properly looked after. Keep note of when you experience physical or mental flare-ups to help establish if they are connected to gut problems. If untreated, this can lead to more complicated problems such as IBS, which can leave people feeling self-conscious and worried about leaving the house. This may always result in a constant cycle of issues, as the more worried and conscious an individual is, the more chances they will have of encountering mental health issues.
So how can we treat poor gut health to ensure that mental health stays as good as possible? Firstly, it’s important to consider nutrition – the food we eat is crucial when it comes to gut health; fewer red meats and processed fat foods, a varied selection of fruits and vegetables, fibre as well as good proteins. Additionally, hydrate adequately. For every 50 lbs of body weight that you weigh, you must drink a litre of water to help maintain regular and healthy bowel movements.
If nutrition is all correct but gut problems are still occurring, looking at other treatments such as colon hydrotherapy or specialist massages can help further.
However, as previously stated, the link between mental health and gut health is a constant point of discussion. So, just as bad gut health can cause mental health problems, having mental health problems may be causing bad gut health. If you think your mental state may be causing gut issues, looking after your mental health may be the answer; meditate, exercise, speak to professionals or even those closest to you who you trust. All these things can help significantly with mental health.
It is so important that, with increased interest in the link between gut and mental health, people become more aware – this can lead to better overall general health for as many people as possible.
Image credit: Gesina Kunkel