What is Leaky Gut Syndrome? – Causes, Symptoms, and More
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What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Leaky Gut Condition is a newly diagnosed pathology branded by patients presenting with headache, tiredness, diarrhoea, abdominal swelling, food intolerance, difficulty losing weight, and joint pain without an apparent cause. As it offers such a non-specific clinical picture, it is a pathology that is difficult to diagnose.
What are the Causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome?
As a society, we find it problematic to accept that most ailments that afflict us are not genetic. Instead, most are caused by factors such as our eating habits and lifestyle. This is why the origin of increased intestinal permeability is widely debated in the medical community.
However, there is consensus that the following factors contribute significantly:
Food: Gluten is the main responsible for leaky gut. In addition, consuming large amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, flavourings, and refined flours introduces many substances that the body recognizes as toxins. Since the body has a hard time keeping up, these toxins end up causing inflammation.
Infections: The most common diseases are candidiasis, intestinal parasites, H. Pylori, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Chronic stress: Chronic stress almost always results in a poor immune system. It can’t handle its regular job and is overwhelmed with pathogens. And as a result, intestinal inflammation increases. That is the preamble to the increased permeability of the intestinal barrier.
Inflammation: Any inflammation in the digestive tract can result in a “leaky” intestine. This can causes by hypochlorite hydria (a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach), which allows undigested food to pass into the small intestine. As well as by intestinal candidiasis, bacterial overgrowth, infection, parasites or excess environmental toxins.
Conditions that may Signal Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome
Digestive problems include gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis, and Cohn’s disease. Diagnosis of an autoimmune illness such as rheumatoid stiffness, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, or psoriasis
- Seasonal allergies and asthma, chronic sinusitis
- Skin problems such as eczema, hives, acne, or rosacea
- Hormonal imbalances, PCOS, PMS
- Psychological problems such as chronic depression, anxiety or AD-HD, poor memory
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or fibromyalgia
- Intestinal Candidiasis, Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
- Food allergies or intolerances, chemical sensitivities
- The sensation of having an infection without finding the cause
How to know if you suffer from Leaky Gut Syndrome
The following questionnaire, taken from the book Leaky Gut Syndrome by Elizabeth Lip ski, does not offer a definitive diagnosis. However, it can help you assess the function of your intestine. That is, its intention is not to replace medical diagnosis. But if your score is high, I recommend you try to find a professional who is knowledgeable about the subject to help you.
To do this, write down the most appropriate number for your situation and finally add them.
- 0 = Symptom not present or rarely present
- 1 = Mild/sometimes
- 2 = Moderate/often
- 3 = Severe/almost always.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Symptoms
Let’s see below what are the symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome.
1. Digestive Difficulties
The alteration of the intestinal microbiota, together with the poor digestion of food, causes digestive reactions that allow us to suspect intestinal permeability. Symptoms can occur with dozens of gastrointestinal diseases. However, it is essential to analyze if its origin is related to this condition.
In this sense, it is common for patients to feel:
- Incidents of diarrhoea
- Abdominal distension.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Feeling of pain and heaviness.
- Accumulation of intestinal gases.
2. Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies, as well as asthma or chronic sinusitis, are more common in patients whose gut is diseased due to leakiness. These reactions are caused by imbalances in the immune system, such as not producing enough antibodies to attack allergens and infectious agents.
3. Inflammatory Diseases
An untreated leaky gut considerably increases the risk of chronic inflammation-related pathologies. This condition generates a substantial imbalance in the inflammatory processes of the body. In conjunction with toxins, it can affect cells and cause disease.
Keep in mind that it is a risk factor for:
- Celiac Disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
4. Hormonal Imbalances
The functions of the intestine go beyond its participation in the digestive process. Although we know it as a critical organ for proper digestion, it also participates in the activity of some hormones.
Therefore, when suffering from permeability, a hormonal imbalance can generate, resulting in problems such as premenstrual syndrome and polycystic ovaries.
5. Skin Diseases
It is common for patients to begin to suffer from different skin problems when the intestinal bacteria suffer an imbalance due to this condition.
Skin rashes, such as those caused by acne and eczema, are symptoms generated by toxins that manage to filter into the blood because they did not digest and are eliminated in the digestive system. In these cases, the disorder is usually more challenging to solve. Well, intestinal functions must restore to remove waste and reduce inflammation.
Development of Leaky Gut Syndrome
Because of a leaky gut syndrome, the barrier function of the intestinal mucosa impair, and there is a more significant transfer of unwanted substances or germs into the bloodstream. As already mentioned, it can be pathogenic microorganisms, contaminants, or even large molecules from food. Initially, inappropriate immune system responses trigger in the intestine, which, among other things, cause allergic reactions to these substances and microbes. First of all, inflammations of the intestinal mucosa occur and, for example, food intolerances. These changes subsequently produce chronic inflammatory processes that can lead to autoimmune diseases.
How is Leaky Gut Diagnosed?
One method of diagnosing leaky gut syndrome is the lactulose/manifold test. In this case, the patient is given a lactulose/various solution to drink, and a urine test for these substances. If there is a higher than average concentration of these substances in the urine, there is likely a disorder of the intestinal barrier. Another way to diagnose leaky gut is through the botulin test.
First, we must know that the intestine is naturally porous. That is, it allows tiny molecules to pass through so the body can absorb essential nutrients. The regulation of intestinal permeability is one of the crucial functions of the cells found in the intestinal wall.
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