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what a healthy gut looks like.

4 ways your gut talks to you.

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From gurgling and growling to sloshing and gas, the symphony of sounds in your gut is telling you the story of your overall physical and mental health. Are you listening?

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, believed 2,000 years ago that all diseases began in the gut. While not entirely true, it was pretty insightful. Today, medical professionals are finding links between several chronic conditions and the gut microbiome (the 100 trillion microbes that make up your gut’s ecosystem and influence what happens in your body).

All these sounds signal whether your gut is healthy or not. It’s normal to hear and feel your gut doing its day-to-day business. However, digestive diseases are becoming more common, affecting one in five Americans.1 Here are four ways your gut tells you that everything’s okay or that maybe you should talk to a doctor:

  • 1https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/digestive-diseases

1. Rumbling/gurgling.

a person's stomach rumbles

Normal – regular digestion and hunger; can occur any time during and between meals.

Seek care – when gurgling is excessive or accompanied by:

  • Cramping
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and excess gas
  • Abnormal or unintended weight loss

Excessive gurgling can be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances, or shallow breathing.2

  • 2https://www.healthline.com/health/why-my-stomach-makes-fart-noises

2. Burping.

a person burps

Normal – occasional, after eating or drinking.

Seek care – when belching is frequent or accompanied by:

  • Distended belly
  • Stomach pain
  • Burning in throat
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal or unintended weight loss

Excessive burping can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis from medications, heartburn, artificial sweeteners, gallbladder disease, anxiety, ulcer, or helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection.3

  • 3https://www.healthline.com/health/belching

3. Stomach pain/digestion issues.

sharp stomach pain

Normal – slight stomach pain should be very infrequent.

Seek care – when the pain is:

  • New or lasting
  • Begins abruptly
  • Pain radiates to the back
  • Severe or sharp
  • Accompanied by vomiting or nausea
  • Abnormal or unintended weight loss

Stomach pain can indicate IBS, GERD, stress, anxiety, gallbladder disease, diverticulitis, overeating, or kidney stones.4

  • 4https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/common-digestive-conditions-from-top-bottom/

If it sounds like you might be having digestive issues, get fast, reliable care from an MDLIVE board-certified doctor for conditions like acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, gas, GERD, heartburn, and upset stomach. See what we treat here.

4. Gas.

passing gas

Normal – most people pass gas around 14 times a day and emit between a half-liter to two liters of gas in a 24-hour period.

Seek care – when your gas is excessive or:

  • Accompanied by pain, bloating, cramping, constipation, bloody stool, diarrhea, or fever
  • Foul enough to clear a room
  • Interfering with your daily life5
  • Abnormal or unintended weight loss

Very foul or excessive gas can be a symptom of IBS, GERD, food allergies/intolerances, bacteria overgrowth, infection, artificial sweeteners, antibiotics, and gas-producing foods like beans, broccoli, and cauliflower.

  • 5https://www.medicinenet.com/are_smelly_farts_healthy_types_of_farts/article.htm

Healthy tummy. Healthy mind. Did you know your gut contains more neurotransmitters than your brain? Referred to as your “second brain,” your gut produces 70 to 80 percent of your serotonin, which helps regulate mood. An unhealthy gut can lead to conditions like depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.6

  • 6https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6389720/

Taking care of your gut is your first step to improving your overall physical and mental health. You can make your gut healthier by:


Managing and lowering stress levels

a fork, knife, and plate

Eating more slowly

do not eat foods for which you have an intolerance

Checking yourself for food intolerances


Eating a healthy diet, including fermented and probiotic foods, and less sugary or processed foods

If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or not like yourself, have an appointment with an MDLIVE mental health therapist in as little as one week.

Posted date: June 23, 2022

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