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For the longest time, I thought that it was rare to suffer from chronic stomach problems such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which could lead to symptoms including bloating, nausea, stomach cramping, and acne. My stomach would hurt to the point where I would not even be able to digest my food and would just throw it up. Additionally, I was working out regularly, but was bloated all the time. In November 2020, I had my wisdom teeth removed and ended up in the hospital due to severe constipation. Then, in April, I got food poisoning and ended up missing some school and going to the hospital again. Both times I had to get an IV put in because I was throwing up a lot. That is when I said enough is enough. It was time to work on improving my stomach issues and healing my gut. Not only are stomach problems painful, but they can also become embarrassing in social situations.  

After ending up in the hospital, I went on a journey to learn about gut health. I learned a lot about the factors that can affect how the gut behaves and how IBS symptoms are triggered. During this journey, I learned that gut health is not talked about enough and affects many others my age. 

The first thing I learned about was the connection between the mind and gut. This made so much sense because every time I get stressed or nervous, my stomach begins to hurt. According to Jill and Jenna, two gut health experts who run a famous TikTok account, the number one spark and progression of digestive issues is a traumatic event or being in a chronically stressed state. I was in a chronically stressed state this past year due to various factors such as the pandemic, family stuff, and remote school. My anxiety was at an all-time high which triggered my stomach to go into severe pain. Some ways I learned to improve my mind-gut connection included meditation, using the app Headspace, journaling, exercising, and even writing for Her Campus.

I also went on an elimination diet this past summer and learned some of my triggers such as dairy, onions, pork, and having an excess amount of caffeine. Cutting these out of my diet for a short period of time significantly improved the inflammation in my gut. I then slowly added them back in, and they hurt my stomach when I ate them. 

The biggest problem that affected my daily lifestyle was feeling nauseous after eating. I then came across the Bloom Nutrition Greens & Superfoods. This green powder that comes in four different flavors (original, mixed berry, coconut, and citrus) acts as a probiotic to help fight bloating, improve digestion, and increase natural immunity and energy. The citrus flavor is my personal favorite to drink every morning. 

Gut health is such an interesting topic to learn about because there is so much to unpack when researching the topic. It has been difficult to balance my gut health while eating the food served in the dining hall this past month at college. However, I am glad my gut health journey set up a tool kit to help me get back on track when my IBS symptoms flare up, or I have a day where I have fallen off the wagon and have eaten some of my trigger foods.

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Harneet Kaur

U Mass Amherst '24

Harneet Kaur is a Sophomore at UMass Amherst majoring in marketing in the Isenberg school of management. She is extremely excited to be writing for Her Campus and thinks it's a great way to kick off her time at UMass. Along with writing, she enjoys listening to music, walking her dog, and playing the guitar in her free time.
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