Gut Health: How Do You Restore It After a Bout with Stomach Flu?

how to heal your gut after stomach virus

After having a stomach bug, your gut health might not be as good as before. This can cause some discomfort and maybe problems later on. But don’t worry! We’ll talk about some easy ways to help your gut get back to normal after dealing with a stomach bug. This will help your stomach feel better and work well again.

What is the stomach flu?

People often call it “stomach flu,” but it’s not the flu at all. It’s more like a tummy bug caused by viruses. These viruses can make your stomach and intestines inflamed, which leads to symptoms like feeling sick, throwing up, having diarrhea, and tummy pain. This sickness spreads easily through contaminated food or water, or by being around someone who’s already sick with it.

How badly does it mess up your gut health?

Stomach flu disrupts your gut health in several ways. First, it alters the balance of good and bad bacteria in your intestines. This imbalance often leads to bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. Additionally, the virus inflames the intestinal lining, hindering your body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients from food. This can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, further worsening your condition.  Finally, repeated vomiting and diarrhea deplete your gut of beneficial bacteria that are essential for fighting harmful organisms and aiding digestion.  Without enough good bacteria, harmful ones can multiply, causing increased inflammation and discomfort.

What can you do to restore your gut health after the stomach bug?

After having a stomach bug, it’s important to help your gut recover. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Probiotics After Stomach Flu: Eating foods with probiotics, like yogurt or sauerkraut, can bring back good bacteria to your gut. These bacteria help balance things out and make your gut healthier. You can also take probiotic supplements to get more of these helpful bacteria.
  • Gentle Nutrition: Stick to easy-to-digest foods at first, like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT diet). These foods give your gut a break and provide important nutrients. As you start feeling better, you can slowly add more foods like boiled potatoes and steamed veggies.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to stay hydrated after vomiting or diarrhea. Coconut water and oral rehydration solutions can also help replace lost electrolytes. Herbal teas like ginger or chamomile can soothe your stomach and keep you hydrated, too.
  • Avoid Irritants: Stay away from foods that might make your gut feel worse, like spicy or fried foods, processed foods, sugary treats, alcohol, and caffeine. These can irritate your stomach and slow down the healing process. Stick to wholesome foods that support your gut and make you feel better overall.

What happens if you don’t restore your gut health after the illness?

Not fixing your gut after a stomach bug can cause big problems. You might keep having tummy troubles like bloating, gas, diarrhea, or belly pain. These issues can make it hard to do everyday things and enjoy life.

If you don’t fix your gut, it could lead to more serious problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or other stomach issues. So, it’s crucial to take action to help your gut get back to normal after a stomach bug. This means making sure you’re eating right, staying hydrated, and avoiding things that can irritate your stomach.

What to do if gut health is not improving

If your gut still feels off despite trying to fix it, it’s important to see a doctor. Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk to a Doctor: If you’re still having tummy troubles that won’t go away, it’s smart to talk to a doctor. They can check what’s going on and suggest ways to help.
  • Try Special Diets: A doctor or a diet expert can help you try different diets to see what works best for you. They might suggest avoiding certain foods or following a special eating plan like the low FODMAP diet. They can also recommend foods and supplements that might help your gut feel better.
  • More Tests: Sometimes, you might need more tests to find out what’s causing your tummy problems. These tests could include checking your stool, doing blood tests, or taking pictures inside your belly with special machines.
  • Special Treatments: Depending on what’s causing your tummy troubles, your doctor might suggest special treatments. These could include taking medicine, trying probiotics, or using supplements that help your gut heal.

Are there ways to prevent stomach bugs?

Even though you can’t always dodge stomach bugs completely, you can take steps to lower your chances of getting sick: 

  • Wash Your Hands: Scrub your hands often with soap and water, especially before you eat or cook, and after you use the bathroom, change diapers, or look after someone who’s sick. Washing your hands well is one of the best ways to stop stomach bugs from spreading. 
  • Keep Your Distance: Try to stay away from folks who have a stomach bug, and don’t share stuff like utensils, towels, or personal items with them. If you or someone you live with gets sick, be careful not to pass the bug around to others. 
  • Clean Up: Regularly clean and disinfect things that lots of people touch, like doorknobs, light switches, counters, and gadgets. This helps keep germs at bay and lowers the risk of spreading sickness. 
  • Drink Up: Make sure to drink plenty of fluids every day, especially when you might be more likely to get sick, like when you’re traveling or hanging out with others who might be under the weather. Staying hydrated helps your body stay strong and kick germs to the curb.

Know how to get gut health back

Restoring your gut health after a stomach bug is super important to keep your tummy happy and healthy in the long run. You can do this by adding probiotics, eating gentle foods, staying hydrated, and avoiding stuff that might bother your gut. If your gut still feels off, it’s smart to talk to a doctor to figure out what’s going on.

To prevent stomach bugs in the first place, prioritize keeping germs at bay.  And remember, maintaining good gut health goes a long way in boosting your body’s defenses and helping you feel your best!

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