What Is Leaky Gut and How Does It Relate To IBS?
Leaky gut is somewhat comparable to a skin rash. Your skin protects you from the outside world. Your digestive tract lining is related to your skin and it also protects you from the outside world. I know it's weird to think about it like that because our digestive tract is inside of us, but it's a tube connecting our mouth and our bottom and everything inside the tube is actually not part of us.
Our digestive lining, like our skin, only allows some things to pass through to our "inside". We put food, liquid, medicine, nutrients, etc into our mouth and then our digestive tract decides what can pass through into our body. When the lining becomes irritated and leaky more things pass through to our insides then should. This is when we start having pain and problems.
What I've seen is that leaky gut, like a skin rash, can be a little bit of irritation, or a lot of irritation. Like how a serious skin rash can cause serious problems, a serious case of leaky gut can cause a lot more problems than a slight amount of leaky gut.
Leaky gut is one of the things that can contribute to and perpetuate IBS. It's a sign that there is irritation in the digestive tract, and it results in some of the non-digestive symptoms of IBS.
How would you know if you have leaky gut and what do you do about it?
If you have leaky gut you may be having abdominal pain or bloating after you eat. Leaky gut is one of the main reasons for abdominal pain and discomfort from IBS.
You may even be having non-GI symptoms like skin rash, itching, brain fog and/or fatigue after eating certain foods. You may be to the point where you feel like everything you eat causes these symptoms.
Once you're able to identify and heal a leaky gut you will have relief from the abdominal pain. You'll be able to eat without having bloating. You'll feel great again because you will no longer get a rash or itching from eating certain foods. You'll be able to focus again and feel great because the brain fog and fatigue will be gone. You'll be able to do this without side effects from drugs that are often prescribed for abdominal pain, digestive issues and fatigue.
I had a patient, we'll call Trish, who had this problem. She had been having digestive symptoms on and off for a while. She had occasional bouts of diarrhea, stomach pain, and bloating. She tried over the counter medications to relieve some of the symptoms. She had gone to her doctor who told her there didn't appear to be any problems. And it seemed like her digestive symptoms would be better for a while, and then they would flare up again.
One day she drank some cranberry juice, something that had never been a problem for her in the past. A little while after drinking the juice she happened to walk by a mirror and saw that her face was bright red with a rash. When she checked she realized the bright red rash was covering her whole body! The rash was gone by the next day, but she realized that it was not only cranberry juice, but many foods that she ate were causing her to feel even worse than before. None of the over the counter medications were doing anything for the increasing itching, brain fog and fatigue she felt. The things she took for the diarrhea and stomach pain either gave her negative side effects or didn't help at all. She was beginning to feel like everything she ate was causing one or another digestive symptom.
When Trish found me and came to my office we came up with a plan and some natural remedies that I know work for leaky gut (and IBS too!). Once I got her on the right treatment plan for her, within several weeks her abdominal pain and digestive symptoms improved without her having to take any prescription drugs with negative side effects.
So if you think you are suffering from leaky gut some things you can do at home are to start on an elimination diet (here's an article I wrote about that, and here's a guide you can download for more help with IBS).
You can try using berberine or a probiotic (two things that often help with IBS and heal leaky gut). If you don't already do so, you can get a good vitamin supplement to replace some nutrients you may have a hard time absorbing due to the leaky gut.
That combination for a lot of people will help them overcome and heal their leaky gut. You can go to the store and get these and try them. But the challenge is, until you know exactly how bad your leaky gut is or what's going to work best for you, I can't say for sure:
how much berberine you should be taking
how much or if a probiotic is right for you
if a vitamin supplement is right for you
If you are having a problem with persistent IBS or leaky gut symptoms, let's set an appointment, have you come into the office and we'll take a look at what's going on so we can make sure that we can come up with the right solution for your issues. That way you can get rid of the pain, bloating, bathroom trips, and get back to enjoying your life without pain, without worry about how food will affect you, and not have to worry about the side effects of medications.
So give my office a call at 425-563-0356, or go here to request an appointment. I'll be happy to sit with you and get clear on what it is that's going on with you so we can get you your natural solutions to leaky gut.