Gut Dysbiosis: What is it and how do I know if I have it?

What is gut dysbiosis?

Gut dysbiosis is another term that has gained a lot more attention in recent years. Gut Dysbiosis is: "an imbalance of bacteria and microbes in our bodies" (1), but it is much more complicated than that. Unlike some microbes, like salmonella, which cause serious and immediate reactions, dysbiosis often goes untreated for a long time.

Most people think it just occurs in the gut but it can also occur on your skin, vagina, nose, sinuses, ears, nails and eyes (2).

Why do we get gut dysbiosis?

There are many things or a combination of things that can lead to gut dysbiosis, such as (1):

  • use of antibiotics

  • poor diet

  • excessive alcohol consumption

  • chemicals in foods

  • unprotected sex

  • poor dental hygiene

  • stress and anxiety

How do I know if I have it?

Truthfully, it can be hard to determine if you have it right away as many symptoms overlap with other conditions. Some of the common symptoms are (1):

  • constipation and/or diarrhea

  • vaginal infections

  • rectal itching

  • gas and bloating

  • food sensitivities

  • joint pain

  • fatigue

  • bad breath

  • difficulty urinating

  • skin issues

  • poor concentration

  • mood changes

Different types of gut dysbiosis:

There are are also some different patterns that may be present depending on the type of gut dysbiosis the individual as. These include (2):

  1. insufficiency dysbiosis: not enough healthy gut bacteria which is common in individuals who have taken antibiotics throughout their lofe and/or have low fiber diets

  2. putrefaction dysbiosis: when there aren't enough digestive enzymes, probiotics and hydrochloric acid to digest proteins in foods. This is an issue because it has been linked to hormone conditions since hormones like estrogen may get reabsorbed into the bloodstream.

  3. fermentation dysbiosis: usually from a diet high in carbohydrates, fruit, sugar, alcohol, grains which make gas worse. Often coupled with bacterial and fungal dysbiosis.

  4. bacterial overgrowth dysbiosis: this is when bacteria from the colon enter into the small intestine and may result in gas, bloating and diarrhea.

  5. fungal dysbiosis: when there is an overgrowth of candida in our microbiome

  6. parasite dysbiosis: when people have parasites

  7. immune-inflammation dysbiosis: when inflammation leads to leaky gut and malabsorption

  8. hypersensitivity-allergic dysbiosis: when there is an exaggerated immune response to normal amounts of yeast and bacteria


There are some testing you can do to see if you have gut dysbiosis, such as (3):

  • organic acid test

  • comprehensive digestive stool analysis

  • hydrogen breath test

I have gut dysbiosis, now what?

Depending on the severity, or the opinion of your health care practitioner, there may be a few different treatment options. These may, or may not, include (3):

  • dietary changes and eating more fresh vegetables, fish, meat, leafy greens and decreasing your intake of refined carbohydrates, some fruit, dairy, and high sugar foods

  • an antibiotic treatment

  • supplementation with vitamins, minerals and herbs



2. Lipski, Elizabeth. (2011). Digestive Wellness 4th Edition. McGraw Hill.


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