The Ultimate Guide on How to Improve Gut Health

Woman holding her hands in a heart shape over her stomach after learning how to improve gut health

Nearly half of all Americans experience frustrating gut problems that stop them from enjoying their daily activities. Although gut health issues are common ailments many people experience, only 1 in 3 GI symptom sufferers would bring up their issues to their doctor unless their physician asked about it first. 

Gut health is connected with many aspects of our overall well-being. And while most people assume that issues like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating are the main symptoms people feel when they have poor gut health, other ailments, like food sensitivities, skin issues, and more, are also related to your digestive health.

Amy Brenner, MD & Associates provides patients with a team of skilled nurse practitioners, wellness coaches, and physicians experienced in helping patients feel their best. Our providers take a comprehensive approach to digestive care and will assess all your symptoms when creating your treatment plan.

Keep reading our comprehensive gut health guide to discover:

  • Common gut health ailments and treatment options
  • Gut health questions patients ask our medical practitioners
  • How our practice approaches gut health treatment

How to Improve Gut Health: We Take the Whole Body Approach

Your gut encompasses your entire digestive system. This includes your:

  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Mouth

The digestive system is a complex ecosystem that affects everything from nutrient absorption to immune function. Our providers understand that when you experience gut imbalances, you can experience a range of issues that impact your:

  • Digestion
  • Mood
  • Energy levels
  • Immune system

Common Gut Health Issues and Treatment Options

Although each patient’s path to feeling their best is different, the following are some common gut health ailments we treat. 

Our staff will help you assess your needs, address your symptoms, and present treatment options to help eliminate your symptoms. 

Microbiome Imbalances

Your gut is taxed with many complex tasks that your microbiome helps regulate. Everything in this system—including microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites—fulfills different tasks. 

When your microbiome is off, you can experience issues that can impact how your body:

  • Breaks down food
  • Absorbs nutrients
  • Regulates the immune system

When these functions are dysregulated, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms that affect your quality of life and prevent you from engaging in everyday activities:

  • Feeling like you’re bloated all the time
  • Stomach pain, constipation, and gas
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Lowered energy
  • Trouble losing weight
  • Shifts in mood
  • Food sensitivities and intolerances
  • Brain fog

Treatment Option: GI Map Stool Testing

Amy Brenner, MD & Associates offers GI Map stool testing to patients seeking out how to improve gut health while addressing frequent bloating and other uncomfortable GI symptoms. Stool tests are a useful tool our providers use to find out information about your gut health and can determine if your digestive system is affected by:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Insufficiency
  • Imbalance 

The following are some of the issues GI Stool Testing can help us detect:

Pathogen Presence

Pathogens are microorganisms that shouldn’t be in your gut. Our test screens for the following organisms, which can cause heartburn and gastric ulcers:

  • Yeast
  • Candida
  • Parasites
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria (specifically H. pylori)

Good Bacteria Balance

It’s important that your gut’s good bacteria stay in balance. If it becomes imbalanced and overgrown, you can be at an elevated risk for developing autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, as well as small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

The State of Your Digestive Health

Our providers will look at your pancreatic enzymes to get a bigger picture of your digestive system’s overall health. These enzymes can help us determine if you are properly absorbing nutrients and digesting food.

Inflammatory Issues

We’ll also look for inflammation in your intestines, which can be associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and may need to be treated by a gastrointestinal specialist.

Immune Health

Our GI testing can help us see if your immune barrier is working correctly. If it isn’t, you may be experiencing leaky gut syndrome


This enzyme helps your body collect and purge toxins. They also affect hormonal health. 

GI Conditions That Require an Appointment With a GI Specialist

If you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend starting treatment with a GI Specialist:

  • Blood in the stool 
  • Black stool
  • GI symptoms that cause night sweats or unintentional weight loss
  • Intense abdominal pain
  • Vomiting

GI Stool Testing Follow-Up

Before taking this test, we may ask you to eliminate certain medications or supplements from your diet. If this isn’t necessary, you can take the test home, complete it, and submit your sample. Our office will get your results in about 6 weeks.

Two women sitting in a dietician’s office and talking about a new diet plan. Healthy living concept

After receiving your GI test results, our providers will determine what treatments can improve your gut health. Your treatment plan could incorporate the following, depending on your results:

  • Antibiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Supplements
  • Diet modifications

Leaky Gut Syndrome

The small intestine is lined with an immune barrier that helps keep toxins, food, and digestive waste inside. Sometimes, these particles leak out, causing your body to have an immune response that can cause:

  • Pain 
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • General malaise 
  • Skin rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain

What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Several internal and external factors can cause leaky gut syndrome.

For example, autoimmune diseases can elevate your antibodies, which can weaken your small intestine’s mucosal barrier. 

Even chronic or acute episodes of stress can elevate your cortisol levels, lowering your secretory IgA (SIgA). This can impact your ability to fight viral, bacterial, or parasitic invaders.

The following are other issues that can cause you to develop a leaky gut:

  • Food sensitivities related to grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, eggs, gluten, and dairy
  • Gut infections and imbalances, like parasites, SIBO, and yeast overgrowth
  • Medications, like antibiotics, birth control pills, NSAIDS, prednisone, and acid-blocking medications
  • Chemotherapy and radiation
  • Toxic mold

Leaky Gut Testing

There are three types of tests that can help determine if you have leaky gut syndrome. 

Stool Testing

Our team uses GI Map stool testing to look at your secretory IgA. If you have a low fecal SIgA, we can determine that leaky gut issues are likely impacting your immune system.

Food Sensitivity Testing

We use the IgG Food Antibodies profile to determine if your body has delayed reactions to foods you commonly consume. This can indicate certain food sensitivities.

Leaky Gut Treatments

Our team’s Wellness Coach will determine which treatments can help heal your gut. Our treatment plans are tailored to your specific needs and generally include:

  • Digestive irritant and toxin removal
  • Supplements
  • A rotation or elimination diet
  • Lifestyle changes 
  • Mindful eating

What Causes Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?

While good bacteria is a signifier of good health, when it overgrows, it can cause SIBO, resulting in a leaky gut that causes: 

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Other frustrating gut symptoms
SIBO Testing

Our providers test for SIBO with a Lactulose Breath test. This test detects the presence of methane or hydrogen gas secreted by the small intestine.

SIBO Treatment

After we determine you have SIBO, we can treat the issue

Parasite Problems

People can contract a variety of parasites that can cause your gut’s health to fail. 

A woman needs advice on how to improve gut health
Young redhead woman suffering of stomach ache on bed. Keep her hands on underbelly.

Some common parasites we test for include:

  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Pinworms
  • Hookworms
  • Protozoa

Common Parasite Symptoms

People suffering from parasites may experience:

  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Chronic exhaustion or fatigue
  • Issues staying or falling asleep
  • Common digestive issues, like diarrhea, gas, bloating, or constipation
  • Unexplained hives, rashes, skin irritation, or eczema
  • Never feeling satisfied or full after eating 
  • Teeth grinding in your sleep

How Did I Get a Parasite?

It’s common to wonder how you got a parasite in the first place. The truth is that parasites are common in our environment. 

You can get a parasite from:

  • Eating meat that’s undercooked
  • Consuming unclean or contaminated produce
  • Spending time in rivers, streams, or lakes
  • Walking barefoot in areas where animals have defecated 
  • Having close contact with animals, including pets

Parasite Protocol

First, you’ll meet with one of our skilled providers for a one-on-one consultation. During this appointment, we will take your medical history and ask questions about your lifestyle to better understand the symptoms you’re experiencing. 

Next, we’ll have you complete our Comprehensive Stool Testing to find out if a parasite is the root cause of your issue or if your symptoms are related to another gut condition. 

Finally, we’ll start our treatment protocol, which includes: 

  • A specific diet and herbs to holistically kill the parasites
  • A probiotic to help maintain your gut’s health during the process 

How to Improve Gut Health and Heal Your Body 

Maintaining your gut’s health is essential because it impacts every system in your body. A healthy digestive system helps maintain your:

  • Mood
  • Hormone function
  • Immune function
  • Digestion
  • Weight 

Fatigue, brain fog, gas, constipation, and the presence of some autoimmune issues can all be signs that something is off in your GI tract. 

Gut Health Impacts Your Well-Being

When your microbiome is off, it can cause a variety of health issues that can make you feel run down and generally unwell. Different factors contribute to an imbalanced microbiome:

  • Inflammatory foods
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep issues
  • Imbalance of good bacteria
  • Toxin exposure
  • Antibodies from autoimmune diseases
  • Issues with food digestion

GI Map Testing Can Help Pinpoint the Problem

As noted, our team uses the GI Map test to help us determine how to treat your digestive symptoms. 

The GI Map test is a powerful tool that helps us evaluate your gut’s microbiome and determine how your gut issues impact your overall health, including other essential body functions.

While it takes time to correct digestive tract imbalances, our treatments are effective. 

After completing treatment for your GI symptoms, you will experience overall benefits to your well-being that may include:

  • Balanced hormones
  • Energy improvements
  • Boosted immune system
  • Better moods
  • Lessened seasonal allergies and food sensitivities
  • Pain and inflammation reduction
  • Lowered HbA1c

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Improve Gut Health

I’m Wondering How to Improve Gut Health. Where Do I Start?

With a consultation! During your first appointment at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates, your provider will review your current medications and medical history, and they’ll keep a list of the symptoms you’re experiencing. We understand it’s frustrating to feel constant GI stress and are dedicated to helping you find answers.

What Other Treatments Can I Combine With a GI Map Test?

Our team commonly uses GI Map testing and a combination of treatments to help our patients experience quicker results. Your provider will discuss our treatment options and the possibility of combining multiple treatments during your first appointment.

Dr. Brenner offers advice on how to improve gut health

The following are the common gut health treatments we use at our practice:

Food Sensitivity Testing

While food allergies are typically diagnosed by assessing if a patient feels tingling or itching in the mouth or has more serious symptoms like hives or facial and airway swelling, food sensitivity symptoms are subtle.

Knowing how to improve gut health involves knowing what food sensitivities negatively impact your gastrointestinal system. Our team uses the IgG Food Antibodies Profile to detect delayed reactions to foods you commonly consume. These reactions can help us assess which foods your system finds challenging.

Common food sensitivity symptoms include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Joint pain
  • Skin rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Headaches 
  • Mood regulation  

Parasite Protocol

Our experienced practitioners will use the results of our stool test to determine if you have contracted a parasite. Our testing helps us target and eliminate these pests and allows us to restore your gut’s ecosystem.

Medical Weight Loss

Our team often uses our stool test to help patients in our medical weight loss programs. Each program we offer helps patients incorporate lifestyle changes into their daily routine while bolstering results with other weight loss tools. Our providers can help you lose weight through the following programs:

How Do I Know I Need a GI Map Test?

Everyone can benefit from better understanding their gut health. The digestive system helps us maintain our overall well-being, so it’s common to experience chronic dysfunction when it’s off. 

A GI Map test can help patients:

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal distress
  • Get to the root cause of chronic disease
  • Interested in assessing overall health

How Can I Know If Something is Wrong With My Digestive System?

Take some time to think about how frequently you experience the following gut issues:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Acid reflux
  • Burping

While all these symptoms are common, it does not mean that they are normal. You may benefit from gut health treatments if you commonly experience these GI issues.

What Other Types of Conditions Do You Treat?

Amy Brenner, MD & Associates treats many other conditions that affect women’s and men’s health and well-being. 

We commonly see patients for the following health concerns:

Sexual Wellness

Women and men can experience symptoms that impact their sexual desire and performance. These issues can arise at any age. Our providers understand that intimacy concerns may be difficult to discuss and face, but we’re committed to ensuring all our patients receive treatment for their sexual wellness concerns.

We can help women address concerns related to:

  • Low sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal laxity
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Urinary incontinence

Our team can help men receive treatment for:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Low sex drive
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm

Weight Loss Treatments

Our team believes in helping patients achieve sustainable weight loss goals. We know all bodies are unique, and all weight loss plans must be tailored to fit each patient’s needs. 

Before we create your customized weight loss plan, we’ll examine the following information to ensure you get the treatment you need:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Activity level
  • Comorbidities
  • Medication
  • Hormone imbalance

After reviewing your medical history and personal details, we’ll help you build a plan that incorporates some or all of our weight loss programs:

  • Semaglutide Modern Day Warrior
  • Wellness coaching
  • Detoxification
  • MyShape

We also offer the following add-ons if you want to take your weight loss results further:

  • BHRT for women
  • Testosterone Therapy for men
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lipo B and Lipo Mino injections
  • CoolSculpting
  • Evolve
  • Supplements

Our medical weight loss treatment program provides patients with the resources, treatments, and support needed to achieve long-term results. 

Hormone Treatments

Our practice provides hormone treatments that can help men and women as they age. These treatments come in the form of topical creams, subcutaneous injections, and pellet therapy. 

For Women: Bio-identical hormone therapy can treat:

  • Loss of sexual interest
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased concentration
  • Low energy
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia

For Men: Testosterone therapy for low testosterone can treat:

  • Weight gain
  • Loss of libido 
  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability and anxiety 
  • Joint aches and pains, and muscle stiffness
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased drive
  • Depression 

We also treat other hormone concerns related to the thyroid, the adrenals and cortisol, and insulin resistance. 

Aesthetic Services

Amy Brenner, MD & Associates also offers a range of aesthetic med spa treatments designed to help you look your best. We offer our patients:

  • Injectables, including dermal fillers, Botox, and more
  • Face and skin rejuvenation options 
  • A full range of body services
  • Medical-grade skincare products 

Our Practice’s Approach on How to Improve Gut Health

At Amy Brenner, MD & Associates, we start each patients’ journey with a conversation. We understand that no two digestive issues are the same. We value you as a patient and want to ensure all your concerns are addressed during our time together.

Schedule a Consultation

Our team will conduct a comprehensive gut health consultation before starting a patient on a gut health protocol. During this appointment, one of our accomplished providers will ask you about the following:

  • Your digestive system symptoms
  • The treatment goals you want to achieve
  • Background information, including your gut health history

Gut Health Assessments

Sometimes, our providers determine it is in a patient’s best interest to undergo one of our comprehensive microbiome tests or health assessments. These tools help us identify any underlying factors contributing to your digestive symptoms

Start Your Treatment

After your consultation and completion of helpful assessments, our experienced providers will create a customized treatment strategy composed of a combination of therapies to improve your gut and well-being.

See Results

Depending on your digestive symptoms, you may see results immediately or after a period of time. Our team will work with you during your recovery and oversee your progress to ensure you see and feel the results you want. 

Comprehensive Health Resources

Our team knows that our patients care about their health and want to do everything in their power to improve their well-being. That’s why we’ve created a library of online resources to help you traverse your health journey!

HealthiHer Podcast

Amy Brenner, MD & Associates has a podcast that discusses the many conditions that our providers treat. 

We recommend listening to our “GI Map Testing – What the Gut Has to Say” episode and the “Your Stomach Bloat Culprit – SIBO With Gut Health Expert Jessica Dayton” episode to get insights on your digestive health.

Guides to Improve Your Well-Being

Our providers have created a handful of helpful guides focusing on popular health topics:

Treatment Quizzes 

Our team also has created comprehensive health quizzes geared toward helping you find out more about treatment options for common conditions.

Our current quiz offerings include:

Guided Programs

Dr. Amy Brenner also has developed the “30 Days, 30 Ways” guide. This guide is designed to help you kick off your health betterment journey.

AB VIP Program

Our AB VIP Program grants you access to free treatments throughout the year, exclusive promotions, and discounts on services and products. We offer Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels. 

Comprehensive Blog

We also have a blog filled with up-to-date health information about pertinent topics to help you start your wellness journey from the comfort of your home. 

Amy Brenner, MD & Associates Know How to Improve Your Gut Health

Stool testing can improve anyone’s gut health. Whether you always feel bloated or nauseous and frequently experience other frustrating GI symptoms or simply want to know more about your overall wellness, our gut health experts in Cincinnati are here to help.

A woman offers advice on how to improve gut health
Doctor (obstetrician, gynecologist or psychiatrist) consulting and diagnostic examining female patient’s on womanâ??s obstetric – gynecological health in medical clinic or hospital healthcare service center

Patients visit Amy Brenner, MD & Associates from all over the country for expert, transformative wellness services. We offer a friendly environment and provide the highest quality treatments and wellness plans to help you feel your best. 

If you’re ready to finally find out how to improve your gut health, you can get started by using our virtual consultation tool or by scheduling an appointment online