Imagine your gut as the gas tank that fuels your body, and your colon plays a crucial role in making sure everything runs smoothly – keeping those fuel lines clean. How do you know when it’s healthy, or when you may need a tune-up?
Visiting your gastrointestinal doctor regularly and going in anytime you have changes in your digestive system (because you have a gastrointestinal doctor on your list, right?) helps keep an eye on things, but here are some tips to help in the meantime:
1. Regularity is Key
Just like a well-oiled engine, a healthy colon keeps things moving regularly. If you’re experiencing normal bowel movements at least once a day (though some people might be fine with slightly less), chances are your colon is happy. On the flip side, irregular bowel habits, constipation, or diarrhea might be signs of an unhappy colon that needs a tune-up.
You diet can help your gut feel (and move) better – and adding fiber is a surefire way to get things more regular. You could take fiber supplements, but a tastier option is to incorporate whole grains whenever you can for white flour (in breads, pastas, oats, and rice) or add nuts, apples and strawberries into your snacks or meals.
And it only takes some simple changes to your diet to help keep it cleaner. With these 5 Easy Ways to Swap Out Processed Foods for a Healthier Gut, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel and how your body is running on the fuel it’s being given.
And the biggest aid? Water. Add fruit to it, or drink it by itself to cleanse your digestive tract.
2. No More Bloat
A bloated belly is like running on low-quality fuel: It slows you down and feels awful. You know that feeling you get when you eat certain foods (like ultra-processed foods, which are bad for your gut and can potentially increase your risk of colon cancer).
A healthy colon keeps gas and bloating in check, so if you’re not feeling like a human balloon after meals, your colon is probably doing its job. If, however, you have bloat after eating often, it’s probably time for a tune-up.
3. The Cleaner, the Better
A colonoscopy is vital to maintaining your colon health.
Once you have hit a certain mileage (45 years old) – or if you have risk factors or family history of colon cancer – it’s time for a scheduled cleaning: A colonoscopy. Not only will it clean things out, but it can detect and remove any suspicious growths or polyps before they turn into something more serious.
A colonoscopy prevents colon cancer. And even if you may not want to think about it, you should know these colon cancer facts to save your life.
4. Listen to Your Gut (and Your Body)
When your car starts making a funny noise, you notice and start paying attention, taking it in if it persists. The same goes for your gut. If you’re experiencing unexplained changes in your bowel habits, persistent abdominal pain, or unintentional weight loss, your gut might be sending distress signals. Don’t ignore these warning signs – think of it as your “check engine” light coming on.
Visit your gastrointestinal doctor so we can take a look and diagnose the issue (and fix it so your body is running more efficiently).
5. A Balanced Diet is Fuel Efficiency
To keep your gas tank happy, you need good quality fuel. The same applies to your colon: A balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits, veggies, and whole grains can do wonders for your gut health. Fiber acts like a gentle scrubber, cleaning out your colon and preventing constipation.
Get a Gut Tune-Up
Contact Gastrointestinal Specialists, P.C. in Troy, Mich. for all your gut needs: From diagnosing pain in your abdomen, bowel irregularities and an uncomfortable stomach, to treating conditions like GERD, IBD, Celiac Disease and more, our knowledgeable and caring doctors can get your body running (and feeling) better. And when it’s time for a colonoscopy, you can have it done here in our surgical center instead of a hospital (saving you time, energy, and money).