Many people experience abdominal discomfort and digestive issues, but they aren’t sure what steps to take to heal their gut.

And many people end up classifying their discomfort as “normal,” but it’s important to note that your pain and discomfort is your body’s way of communicating with you that something isn’t right.

Here are seven common causes of digestive issues and what to do about each.


Your diet is the No. 1 cause of digestive issues. This might sound obvious, but many people don’t know what to eliminate from their diets to help heal their gut.

It’s important to consume whole, natural foods, and stay away from any “faux foods” that are nutrient-poor, prepackaged, full of sugar or refined ingredients, or that contain additives and preservatives.

Aim to eat foods that have been grown, not processed or packaged.


Many people have food intolerances and are unaware that their bodies can’t process something properly.

Most people are aware of the common intolerances such as gluten, dairy and peanuts, but there are many more common food intolerances that you should be aware of.

Some of these are the following:

  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Fructose
  • Sulfites
  • Yeast
  • MSG or Monosodium Glutamate
  • Sugar

If you’re experiencing discomfort and think you might have food intolerances, try eliminating these one by one to see whether you experience relief!


It’s common to experience digestive issues when taking antibiotic treatments or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

These drugs include common over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

If you take any of these drugs regularly and experience abdominal discomfort, take note and talk to your doctor about your options.


When you are stressed, your body reduces stomach acid, reduces blood flow to the gut and reduces gut motility.

Stress also prevents the parasympathetic nervous system from activating and has been shown to contribute to leaky gut.

If you’re chronically stressed, take measures to reduce your stress by incorporating breathing or meditation exercises into your daily routine.


Leaky gut (or leaky gut syndrome), intestinal permeability or intestinal hyperpermeability results when tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the intestinal lining, do not work properly.

Although this condition is still poorly understood or not recognized by many health-care professionals, there is now considerable data showing that leaky gut may be associated with many diseases inside and outside the gut.

If you believe you might be experiencing leaky gut, talk to your doctor and seek out a certified transformational nutrition coach who can help you assess your gut health and provide you with an action plan to promote healing.


Heavy metals are known to cause inflammation when in contact with the intestines, a contributing factor to leaky gut.

Therefore, heavy metals can easily make their way into the bloodstream and anywhere else in the body. What is especially concerning about heavy metals is that we are all exposed to them every single day. They’re in the polluted air we breathe, the water we drink, cosmetics, cookware and even cleaning products, deodorant and dental fillings.

Some of the most common and dangerous metals that should be avoided are mercury, arsenic, aluminum and lead. Take measures to buy clean, natural products that do not contain these metals.


Environmental toxins also can cause quite a bit of digestive issues.

Toxins such as BPA often found in plastic, phthalates, formaldehyde, chlorine, genetically modified organism (GMOs) and pesticides are considered environmental toxins and should be avoided.

Avoid GMOs and pesticides by purchasing organically grown produce, try to purchase glass containers instead of plastic or canned containers to avoid BPAs, and purchase natural, environmentally friendly products to avoid a variety of other environmental toxins.

Taking measures to learn what is in the products you purchase and how they can negatively impact your health will help you more easily avoid toxins wherever you can.

Your digestive health is incredibly important and is even considered your second brain. If your gut is unhealthy, odds are it doesn’t end in your gut.

Take measures to eliminate these common causes of digestive issues so you can experience improved health and comfort!

Photo credit: nensuira, Thinkstock