Symptoms & Causes of a Microbiome Imbalance

Symptoms & Causes of a Microbiome Imbalance
In the last blog post we discussed what the microbiome is and how it can be impacting your hormones.
Perhaps you aren’t experiencing hormone issues, specifically, but you may still have an imbalance in your microbiome.
Do any of these symptoms resonate with you?
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Stomach Pain
  • Autoimmune Conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Colds or Infections
  • Skin Issues (Rashes, Acne, Eczema)
  • Nausea
  • Allergies
  • Food Intolerances
  • Joint Pain
  • Brain Fog
  • Asthma
     If you answered YES to any of those…well, your microbiome may be out of whack!
     That just means the good and bad bacteria in your gut may not be in the right balance.
Let’s discuss some things that may cause an imbalance in the microbiome.
First up is stress. It can decrease the diversity of the microbiome and you don’t want that! You need a range of species in the gut to function optimally. 
Stress can increase the number of bad bacteria in the gut, while at the same time decreasing the number of good bacteria!
But be aware, stress and the microbiome is a two-way street. Stress negatively impacts the microbiome -- but when your microbiome is off, you are more likely to feel stressed! So it becomes a really vicious circle.
Diet is huge. Eating a diverse range of foods increases microbiome diversity. The food you eat is what feeds the bacteria in your gut. The more diverse your food, the more diverse nutrients you provide, and thus assisting the growth of different types of bacteria. 
This is great as diversity can assist in recovering from things like exposure to infections or antibiotics.
But, a diet diverse in healthy foods is key as refined carbohydrates & sugar can feed the bad bacteria as well as the commensal (neither good nor bad) bacteria. This can push the commensal bacteria from beneficial to harmful. 
Alcohol can cause dysbiosis - an imbalance between the good & bad bacteria. 
Candida, parasites and chronic infections can also cause dysbiosis.
Sleep. This is a big one for so many things - mental health, hormone health...and yes, gut health! That’s because our body has our internal clock - the circadian rhythm. If you aren’t sleeping enough, it disrupts the circadian rhythm - and this not only has negative effects on the gut bacteria, it encourages the microbiome not to act as it should.
Antibiotics. I doubt this surprises anyone. Even when used short-term, they decrease the number of good bacteria and the diversity of the bacteria in your gut. These side effects can last up to two years after use! Pretty scary.
Medications and the OCP also disrupt your microbiome.
What are some things that you need to change to better support your microbiome?