Dysbiosis of the Gut Microbiome: A Concept Analysis

J Holist Nurs. 2020 Jun;38(2):223-232. doi: 10.1177/0898010119879527. Epub 2019 Oct 11.


Background:Gut microbes influence the development several chronic conditions marking them as targets for holistic care, prevention strategies, and potential treatments. Microbiome studies are relatively new to health research and present unfamiliar terms to clinicians and researchers. "Dysbiosis" often refers to an alteration in the gut microbiome, but conceptual clarification is rarely provided. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to refine a conceptual definition of dysbiosis based on a review of nursing literature. Method: A Rodgerian approach to concept analysis was used. CINAHL, PubMed, and Web of Science were queried using "dysbiosis" through December 2018. Each article was analyzed with regard to the antecedents, attributes, and consequences of dysbiosis. Essential elements were tabulated and compared across studies to determine recurring themes and notable outliers. Findings: Analysis revealed several important antecedences, attributes, and consequences of dysbiosis. The findings also elucidated notable gaps and highlighted the co-evolving nature of the proposed definition with advances in microbiome research. Conclusion: This article adds a proposed definition of dysbiosis, offering a contribution of conceptual clarity upon which to enhance dialogue and build research. The definition emphasizes risk factors and consequences of dysbiosis as implications for holistic nursing practice.

Keywords: concept analysis; dysbiosis; gut microbiota; gut-brain axis; nursing.

MeSH terms

  • Concept Formation*
  • Dysbiosis / physiopathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans