Gut Health

Gut health is the foundation of your whole-body health. Besides its primary function of food digestion, a healthy gut:

  • Controls your weight
  • Improves your mood
  • Enables you to sleep better
  • Improves your immunity, heart health and brain functions
  • May help prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases

If you have indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, weight loss, or acid reflux, these are signs of trouble with your gut health or digestive system.

Learn how you can improve your gut health, starting with a healthy diet and an understanding of common digestive conditions.

What is the function of the digestive system?

Your digestive system is a complex network of organs and gut bacteria that affect your health.

Every bite you consume travels through your body along a route known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It starts from the mouth and ends at the anus.

Along the way, food passes through your throat, oesophagus, stomach, and small intestines. Waste products are processed in your colon and rectum. Helping in the digestive process are your pancreas, liver and gall bladder.

Besides these major organs, up to 1,000 species of gut bacteria make up the gut microbiome in your intestines. Each of them plays a different role in your body, affecting your digestion, immune system, central nervous system and even your heart health and brain health.

What is a good diet to improve gut health?

Here are some foods you can consume to improve your gut health:

  • Vegetables, legumes, beans and fruit are high fibre foods that can stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Whole grains contain lots of fibre and non-digestible carbs that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
  • Prebiotics such as fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides, which can be found in certain dietary fibres such as garlic, onions, pistachio nuts.
  • Fermented foods like yoghurt or kimchi contain probiotics which are good bacteria that your body needs for a healthy digestive system.
  • Foods rich in polyphenols, such as dark chocolate or green tea, benefit your health when they are digested by gut bacteria.

In general, eating a diverse range of foods, especially a plant-based diet, can lead to a more diverse gut microbiome and greater health benefits.

Learn about how herbs and spices can also improve your gut health

Did you know? An imbalance in your gut microbiome may lead to weight gain, obesity and other health problems.

Common upper digestive tract disorders

The upper gastrointestinal (GI) or digestive tract consists of the:

  • Mouth
  • Oesophagus
  • Stomach
  • First part of the small intestine (the duodenum).

Common conditions affecting the upper GI tract include dyspepsia, peptic ulcers, gastritis, cancer, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn. These usually require prompt clinical care by a gastroenterologist or digestive tract surgeon.

Find out about upper GI conditions and their treatment options.

Common lower digestive tract disorders

The lower gastrointestinal (GI) or digestive tract comprises all other parts of the GI tract, beginning at the midsection of the small intestine (the jejunum) to the anus.

Common conditions of the lower GI tract include diverticular disease, polyps, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), haemorrhoids, cancer and anal fissures. These usually require prompt clinical care by a gastroenterologist.

Find out about lower GI conditions and their treatment options.

Liver, pancreas, gall bladder, and bile duct disorders

The liver is the largest internal organ in the body. Along with the pancreas, bile duct and gall bladder, it performs important functions such as:

  • Aiding digestion
  • Assisting the immune system
  • Producing proteins and enzymes
  • Filtering harmful substances

Many liver, gall bladder, pancreas and bile duct diseases do not display any symptoms at first. Often, symptoms may only appear in the advanced stages. If left untreated, these diseases can lead to serious damage and even death.

Learn more about:

Gut health care at Gleneagles

Gut health care at Gleneagles

Gleneagles takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating both simple digestive problems and complex disorders of the stomach. Should your condition require it, our team of gastroenterologists, oncologists, and surgeons are ready to support you.

Our endoscopy centre

The newly refurbished endoscopy centre at Gleneagles Hospital is a one-stop service centre providing a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures.

Occupying a floor space larger than 8,000 square feet, the centre is designed with larger rooms, improved privacy, and more rest beds and washrooms for your comfort.

Our team of professional specialists and staff will be on hand to ease any discomfort and anxiety you may have.

Our gastroenterologists and general surgeons



At Gleneagles Hospital, our team of experienced gastroenterologists specialise in treating the full spectrum of gut health disorders.

For complex conditions, we work hand-in-hand with a multidisciplinary team of specialists. These include oncologists, transplant surgeons, general surgeons and intensive care specialists. Together, we provide the care you need to recover.

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Gut health problems may affect your lifestyle and restrict the types of food you eat. At times, these symptoms may be early signs of something serious and should not be taken lightly.

Upper gastrointestinal tract

Lower gastrointestinal tract

Liver diseases

  • Liver cancer
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E)
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Primary biliary cholangitis
  • Drug-induced liver injury
  • Budd Chiari syndrome
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Portal hypertension
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Wilson's disease
  • Biliary atresia

Pancreas diseases

Gall bladder and bile duct diseases

  • Gallstones
  • Gall bladder polyp
  • Gall bladder cancer
  • Gall bladder adenomyomatosis
  • Bile duct cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis

Gut problems may be treated by a range of endoscopy services, such as:

Diagnostic endoscopy

Endoscopic procedures provide visual images of your organ linings to aid diagnosis and treatment. These include:

Therapeutic endoscopy

Therapeutic endoscopies are minimally invasive procedures to treat your gut conditions with the aid of images from the endoscope. These include:

Your recovery

When gut conditions occur, your digestive system takes time to recover and resume its functions. Beyond medical care, boost your gut health by:

  • Having a well-balanced diet
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Lowering your stress levels

Our aim is for you to recover fully and avoid future episodes of gut disorders. Speak to our gastroenterologists if you show signs of a digestive health disorder to find a treatment and recovery plan that best works for you.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.