Gut Health

Shahla Rah, MD, FACG

Gastroenterologist located in Newport Beach, CA & Irvine, CA

Your gut is filled with trillions of microorganisms that play a pivotal role in your overall health and wellness. Gut health refers to the status of these microorganisms, both good and bad, and often mirrors your own health. Board-certified gastroenterologist Shahla Rah, MD, FACG, with offices in Newport Beach and Irvine, California, understands the connection between gut health and overall health and can determine if your health issues and symptoms are related to an imbalance in the microorganisms in your gut. For an evaluation, call the office, or click the online booking button today.

Gut Health Q & A

What is gut health?

Gut health refers to the ecosystem of microorganisms found in your digestive tract, also referred to as your gut microbiome. These microorganisms include a mix of good and bad bacteria. 

The good bacteria help extract energy from food, rid your body of toxins, and support your body’s fight against viruses and harmful bacteria. These good bacteria also produce serotonin, which is a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. Good gut health means there’s a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria.

If there isn't enough good bacteria in your gut, the bad bacteria thrive and lead to poor gut health. Your gas, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea may all be signs that your gut microbiome is out of balance. Poor gut health also causes sugar cravings, fatigue, unexplained weight changes, and alternations in mood. 

In addition to your symptoms, poor gut health may also lead to inflammation and increase your chronic health conditions such as the risk of heart disease and diabetes.  

What is small bowel intestinal overgrowth (SIBO)?

SIBO refers to an increase in bacteria or a change in the type of bacteria found in your small intestines. In most cases, SIBO develops because of an overgrowth of bacteria from your colon.

Common symptoms of SIBO include:

  • Gas 
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Weight loss

SIBO can affect both the structure and function of your small intestines and lead to poor digestion and malabsorption of nutrients. The alterations in bacteria may also damage the tissue that lines your small intestines and lead to a condition referred to as leaky gut, which causes your normally tight intestinal mucosa to be more permeable, allowing large molecules and toxins to leak through your gut into your body. 

How can I improve gut health?

Dr. Rah develops personalized treatment plans to improve gut health, promote tissue healing, and restore microorganism balance. Your treatment plan may include diet modifications aimed at restoring bacterial balance. She may also recommend a probiotic, which is a nutritional supplement filled with good gut bacteria.

For SIBO, Dr. Rah may prescribe antibiotics or suggest you follow the low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet to improve bacterial balance and support the healing of your gut.

Gut health is often a reflection of your overall health. For an evaluation and treatment plan to see if your gut is causing your health issues, contact Shahla Rah, MD, FACG, by phone or online today.