The intestinal flora is the entirety of the microorganisms that colonize the intestine. Around 400 different types of intestinal bacteria live in the large intestine and support digestion. Other tasks that our intestinal flora take on are the production and absorption of vitamins and the breakdown of pollutants. However, our intestinal flora can quickly get out of balance – for example due to gastrointestinal diseases, the use of medication such as antibiotics, an unhealthy diet or stress.
A disturbed intestinal flora is noticeable through various physical signs and diseases.
Disturbed intestinal flora: These diseases can threaten
A common symptom of a disturbed intestinal flora is abdominal pain. Due to the bacterial overgrowth, pathogens can multiply more easily and cause infections, which in turn cause abdominal pain. However, these can also indicate diseases of other organs in the abdomen. Our stomach can also hurt due to stress or after a large meal.
Our intestines have a great influence on the regulation of the water and electrolyte balance. This means that it can both absorb and excrete large amounts of fluids. If the intestinal flora is disturbed, this function is impaired. The result: the large intestine can withdraw too much water from the intestinal contents. It will make the stool harder and you may become constipated.
It can also be the other way around and the large intestine can no longer properly withdraw water from the intestinal contents, which can lead to diarrhea. However, diarrhea can not only be a sign of a disturbed intestinal flora, but also indicate other diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, a fungal infection or inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. Therefore: If symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor to find out the exact cause.
A damaged intestinal flora is not limited to the gastrointestinal tract. Other possible diseases are:
If the intestinal flora is disturbed, the intestinal fungus Candida can multiply. Relocation can occur especially after taking antibiotics, which kill our “good” intestinal bacteria. The fungus can colonize the intestine, but it can also affect the vagina, for example.
Changes in the intestinal flora can, among other things, contribute to the development of allergic asthma.
An intact intestinal flora can also cause diabetes. If the protective intestinal bacteria decrease and the pathogenic germs increase, a persistent inflammation develops in the intestine. These inflammatory cells can attack your pancreas, which can lead to diabetes.