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What Is Gut Inflammation?

Here's What Gut Inflammation Can Do to Your Body and Why You Should Care

Cropped shot of a woman suffering from stomach pain on the sofa at home

No matter how passionate you are about bread, your body will ultimately decide if gluten is right for you — and let's just say gut inflammation is often the bearer of bad news.

Gut inflammation (which is the body's healing response to something foreign in the digestive tract, like food allergies or intolerances, autoimmune conditions, or infections) can be asymptomatic or symptomatic based on its severity and location, Dr. Rabia De Latour, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine and the director of endoscopy at Bellevue Hospital Center, says.

"The gastrointestinal tract starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, so based on the location of the inflammation, your symptoms can vary," she explains.

"Upper gastrointestinal symptoms of inflammation can include upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, chest burning or pain, and also gastrointestinal bleeding in severe cases. Lower gastrointestinal symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stools."

If you have reason to believe you're experiencing gut inflammation, it's important that you see a doctor. Dr. De Latour says that failing to address or manage your triggers and symptoms could result in worsening health complications from bowel perforation to bleeding to (in more severe cases!) increased risk of gastrointestinal cancers.

With a doctor's permission, limiting the amount of processed foods, complex or refined carbohydrates, and artificial sweeteners you consume and reducing your stress levels could be good options for improving your general gut health, she adds.

"Ingestion of healthy, unprocessed foods packed with prebiotics and probiotics is gaining traction as a potential way to reduce immune-mediated inflammation."

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Image Source: Getty / LaylaBird
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