General Practice 2022

Intestinal dysbiosis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Intestinal dysbiosis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Intestinal dysbiosis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Intestinal dysbiosis is an imbalance in the intestinal microbiota, which can cause inflammation and lead to a decreased ability of the intestine to absorb nutrients, which can result in nutritional deficiencies, for example. The main cause of dysbiosis is a diet rich in protein, fat or low in fiber, but it can also be a consequence of the use of certain medications or stress.

In some cases, the alteration of the intestinal flora can cause temporary symptoms such as nausea, gas, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea or constipation and, when it occurs for a long time and is not treated, it can worsen and increase the risk. person develops lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

In most cases, dysbiosis is transient and improvement in symptoms can be achieved through lifestyle changes, with a balanced diet or with the use of probiotic supplements, according to the guidance of the gastroenterologist or nutritionist.

Main symptoms

The main symptoms of intestinal dysbiosis are:

  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Gases;
  • Burps;
  • Abdominal distension;
  • Alternating periods between diarrhea and constipation;
  • Pool formed;
  • Tiredness;
  • Headache;
  • Recurring candidiasis.

When dysbiosis goes on for a long time, there may be a greater risk of the person developing more serious diseases such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer of the rectum, or diseases of the system immune system such as arthritis, lupus or type 2 diabetes.

In case of suspected dysbiosis, it is important to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist for an assessment of symptoms, he alth history and, if necessary, tests to confirm the diagnosis and initiate the most appropriate treatment.

How to confirm the diagnosis

To make the diagnosis of dysbiosis, the physician must perform an assessment of signs and symptoms, clinical history and physical examination. However, to confirm the diagnosis of dysbiosis, the doctor may indicate more specific tests, the main ones being:

  • Indican: this test is performed from the collection of the first urine in the morning or concentrated urine for 4 hours. This test evaluates the amount of Indican, which is a substance produced in the body in response to food, being released in the urine. The presence of small amounts of Indican in the urine is normal, but when there is an imbalance of the intestinal flora, the elimination of Indican in the urine is very high, confirming the diagnosis of intestinal dysbiosis;
  • Intestinal microbiome: is a genetic test that aims to identify all bacteria present in the intestinal flora. This test is done by rubbing a swab (swab) in the stool, shortly after elimination, and placing the swab in a tube, which is delivered or sent to the laboratory for analysis.
  • Expired hydrogen test: This test is done to identify the presence of gases produced by bacteria in the intestine. For this, the person must drink a glucose solution and, soon after, breathe in an equipment for an analysis of the expired air. If the exam indicates a large or small amount of gas, it is a sign of an imbalance in the intestinal microbiota.

In some cases, the doctor may also recommend performing a bowel biopsy, which consists of taking a small sample of bowel tissue in which inflammation and/or infection is found, which is sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Possible causes

Possible causes of intestinal dysbiosis are the type of diet and medication use. However, other factors such as excessive alcohol consumption and stress can also generate dysbiosis.

Diet types

Diet is the main cause of dysbiosis and small changes, excesses or restrictions in food can worsen the quality and quantity of bacteria in the gut.

Excessive intake of animal protein such as meat, fish and eggs increases the production of compounds that are toxic to beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can cause dysbiosis.

In addition, diets with a lot of fat and composed of foods rich in saturated fat, such as that present in red meat, milk, cheese and ice cream, contribute to the decrease of good bacteria and increase of bad bacteria, causing inflammation in the intestinal flora. Learn what intestinal flora is, what it is for and how to replenish it.

Some studies show that a diet rich in foods with little or no fiber, such as refined sugar, refined flours, and glucose, found in cookies, sweets and other industrialized foods, also favors the increase of bad bacteria in the intestine, which can cause dysbiosis.

Use of medication

The use of some medications without proper medical supervision can also cause changes in the balance of intestinal flora, resulting in dysbiosis. Some anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, when used with medications that decrease the natural acidity of the stomach, alter the balance of bacteria in the intestine, causing dysbiosis.

Many antibiotics cause changes in the intestinal flora and, when taken for a long time, can generate more serious changes, generating the growth of bad bacteria and resistant to the action of the drug, making it difficult to treat diseases that require the antibiotic, such as intestinal infections.

Other factors

In addition to medications and diets rich in protein, fat or low in fiber, factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, age, anxiety, stress, and some existing intestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis and intestinal inflammation, also favor the imbalance of the intestinal flora and, consequently, cause dysbiosis.

How the treatment is done

In most cases, the treatment of dysbiosis is done through a change in eating habits, however, in some cases it may be necessary to use probiotic supplements and, depending on the severity, a fecal transplant.

1. Changing eating habits

To treat dysbiosis, in addition to medical follow-up, it is important to receive guidance from a nutritionist because the treatment is mainly focused on recovering the he alth of the intestinal flora with an adequate diet. Therefore, it is recommended:

  • Prioritize foods rich in unsaturated fat, such as olive oil, avocado and almond, as they promote the increase of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, improving the symptoms of dysbiosis;
  • Having a diet rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber present in some foods such as oats, garlic, green banana biomass, honey and yacon potatoes, as they are essential for recover the intestinal flora, as they are the essential nutrients of the good bacteria in the intestine;
  • Eating fiber-rich foods such as beans, unpeeled fruits and fresh vegetables daily is essential as they increase the variety of beneficial bacteria in the gut, also improving absorption and production of vitamins and minerals by the intestine;
  • Consume foods rich in probiotics, which are good bacteria for the gut, such as yogurt, kefir and kombucha, promoting the balance of intestinal flora, improving dysbiosis. See the 6 probiotic foods that are good for your he alth.

It is also important to avoid foods with lactose, such as milk and yogurt, foods with simple carbohydrates, such as refined sugar, ice cream, and chocolates, as well as excessive consumption of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, sweets and jellies. These types of foods cause increased fermentation, gas production in the intestine and diarrhea, harming the intestinal flora and worsening dysbiosis.

For the treatment of dysbiosis, in addition to changes in eating habits, regular physical activity, guided by a professional, is also very important.

See which foods are rich in probiotics in the following video:

2. Supplements

The use of probiotic supplements, which contain the appropriate amount and types of good bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the form of capsules, sachets or liquids, can also be indicated in the treatment of dysbiosis.These supplements balance the intestinal flora, help treat symptoms and improve the production and absorption of nutrients by the intestine.

To have the benefits of probiotic supplements, it is important that the intake is daily in the amount and type of bacteria necessary for each symptom or disease caused by dysbiosis. Studies show that 108 to 109 Colony Forming Units (CFU) of probiotics when consumed for 15 days improves intestinal flora.

Probiotic supplements can be easily found at drugstores, he alth food stores and compounding pharmacies. Learn more about what probiotics are and what they are for and how to take them.

3. Fecal transplant

Faecal transplantation, which is the transfer of intestinal flora from a he althy person to another with dysbiosis, is used to balance intestinal bacteria and improve the symptoms of dysbiosis.This procedure is only indicated in cases of very recurrent intestinal infections. Learn more about what a stool transplant is, what it is for and how it is done.

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