The term leaky gut has gained a lot of attention recently as more patients are coming into offices, suspecting it as a diagnosis but are shocked that medical professions are hesitant to recognize it. Whether it is a diagnosis or a symptom of an underlying condition, a leaky gut is something that many people deal with daily with little help or relief. However, we are here to provide you with some answers and guidance on this mysterious ailment.
What is Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition where the intestinal lining becomes damaged, allowing undigested food, toxic waste, bugs, and bacteria to seep into the tissues around the intestines. How easily substances pass through the intestinal walls is known as intestinal permeability, hence leaky gut being known as increased intestinal permeability.
The unhealthy gut, or intestinal lining, can trigger inflammation and other health problems within and beyond the digestive tract as these toxins, waste, and other particles make their way into the bloodstream and towards other organs.
When your body fails to produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion, it can lead to the inability to absorb necessary nutrients. This, in turn, results in hormonal imbalances and a weakened immune system allowing for further health complications.
One of the reasons leaky gut is so mysterious is the question of whether it is a symptom or a diagnosis. Healthcare professionals more widely accept it as a symptom of an underlying condition or disease rather than a cause. Some chronic diseases or conditions that leaky gut is associated with include celiac disease, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and several autoimmune diseases.
Some signs that patients may experience with leaky gut include:
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
- Headaches, brain fog, and memory loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Depression or anxiety
- And more
Who Gets It, And Why?
While the human body is not perfect and we all suffer from some degree of leaky gut from time to time, some people struggle with leaky gut continually and are more sensitive to changes within the digestive system.
There is evidence that diet and lifestyle choices can contribute to making people more prone to developing leaky gut.
Managing Leaky Gut
The key to healing or managing leaky gut is to seek medical diagnosis and treatment. Through lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments along with possible medication, leaky gut can be successfully managed and, in most cases, eliminated.
Most practitioners suggest eliminating gluten, processed meats, junk food, dairy, refined sugars, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol from their patients’ diet to help control intestinal leakage. The patient should increase their intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, healthy fats, lean meats, and fish.
Taking probiotic supplements, reducing stress levels, and getting a better night’s rest are also great ways to help improve your gut’s health and prevent leaky gut. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatories and antibiotics to alleviate symptoms associated with leaky gut.
If you have any questions regarding leaky gut, want more information on how to manage symptoms, or would like to schedule a consultation, please call See Beyond by Scarsdale Integrative Medicine today.