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Though talking about your digestive health was once considered taboo, it’s now the hottest topic on social media. Thanks to the “hot girls with stomach issues” trend on TikTok, honest conversations about gut health issues are more prevalent than ever before.
With new buzz surrounding prebiotics and probiotics, increasing knowledge around the gut, and fresh interest on digestive health concerns like IBS, here’s why it suddenly seems like everyone on social media is talking about gut health.
The gut is finally getting the attention it deserves
Search for #ibstiktok and #hotgirlshaveibs on TikTok, and you’ll find countless videos on the subject.. These topics, which have reached 71.4 million and 12.6 million views respectively, suggest that gut woes are on the rise. With views trending upwards and increasingly more users seeking out content on these topics, talking openly and honestly about digestive issues is now, well, cool.
Dr. Charles Tabone, N.M.D., the practitioner at Los Angeles-based Pause Studio, suggests that gut health is likely going viral because more people are realizing a new approach to the problem is needed. “I think more people have started to realize that maybe the traditional model of trying to address disease by pharmaceuticals or whatever else is, often, not the whole picture,” he explains. “Getting to the root cause really goes down to the core pillars of health, [like] exercise, nature, and social connection.”
Katie Wilson, a key player in the “hot girls with stomach issues” trend and the founder of Belli Welli, also noticed that gut health was becoming a priority across social media.. “I started calling up GI doctors and simply saying, ‘It feels like everyone’s got gut issues. What’s going on?’ Their answers were almost unanimous,” she explains. “In the last five to eight years, there’s been this incredible uptick in the number of people suffering from these miscellaneous GI issues. Often, it’s called IBS, and it’s probably some combination of the three big levers we all know about: Food, the environment, and hormones.”
And the numbers don’t lie: Digestive conditions are everywhere. An estimated 60 to 70 million individuals in the U.S. are living with some kind of digestive disease – and that number includes everything from IBS to Crohn’s disease to ulcerative colitis.
Could the “hot girls with stomach issues” trend be beneficial?
On TikTok and other social media platforms, the #hotgirlswithstomachissues gut health trend is creating a strong community. Those suffering from digestive woes are finding common ground online and discovering nutrition tips, methods of treating symptoms and ways to advocate for themselves with doctors.
Wilson saw the community grow even bigger when Belli Welli took the trend onto the streets of Los Angeles. “The ‘hot girls have IBS’ campaign that we launched via a billboard just struck a chord with a lot of people, because it was the first time they saw IBS and gut issues [as] cute and trendy,” she explains. “It brought the community together in this incredible way.”
While this still-growing community provides comfort, tips and education, it’s still recommended you talk to your doctor about digestive concerns. Wilson emphasizes you have to be careful about what you believe online.. “When you have gut issues, you find all these strange, weird personal hacks to optimize and mitigate the effect that your symptoms are having on your life,” she says. “I’m not here to tell you that we can fix you, because that’s not truthful; I’ve fallen victim to that. I would spend a lot of money on those random weird cures, especially on TikTok.”
So, while the online community is bringing gut and digestive ailments into the spotlight, often the trends and “hacks” that go viral may not benefit you
Nutrition is often an important part of a healthy “hot girl” gut
A great place to start taking accountability for your digestive health is fine-tuning your diet.
You can follow Dr. Tabone’s advice: You don’t necessarily want to skew your diet towards what you think your gut needs. Instead, you want to focus on eating whole foods that deliver essential nutrients. “It all comes back, in my books, to high-quality food sources,” he says. “Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables; these types of things are food for microbes.”
If you don’t have preexisting gut or digestive health concerns and want to increase bacterial diversity, you can also work to get pre-, post-, and probiotics naturally through food. Try gut-friendly, probiotic-rich recipes, like gut-healthy granola or gluten-free, nut-butter-based pumpkin bread. Ultimately, like any other aspect of nutrition, balance (and nutrient-dense ingredients in every meal) is key.
For suggestions, expert advice, and more insight into gut health, stomach issues, and other digestive woes beyond TikTok and social media, keep reading: