Leaky gut is a condition that occurs when the small intestine is more permeable than normal. To quote Robynne K. Chutkan, MD: "The barrier function becomes compromised, so that bacteria, viruses, undigested food particles and toxic waste products can leak from the inside of your intestines through the damaged digestive lining into your bloodstream [...] The end result is inflammation in various parts of your body, leading to a wide variety of symptoms."
If you go to a doctor and ask "do I have leaky gut?" you may not have much luck. As gastroenterologist Linda A. Lee, MD says, "We don't know a lot but we know that it exists. In the absence of evidence, we don't know what it means or what therapies can directly address it." Some people have suggested dietary culprits, like gluten, dairy, alcohol, and sugar. Others suggest that leaky gut stems from a yeast infection, a bacterial overgrowth, or even a parasite!
There's no test for this mysterious condition, so many people who suffer from the condition may go undiagnosed and untreated, forever asking "do I have leaky gut syndrome?" Thankfully, there are common symptoms of leaky gut, and the condition can be treated at home.
Remember: obviously, you can't diagnose a medical condition yourself, or with information you find online. It's good to educate yourself about medical conditions and your health, but if you have any questions about a diagnosis, go to your doctor or naturopath and ask: "do I have leaky gut?"
"Do I Have Leaky Gut?": 7 Symptoms of Leaky Gut
1) Digestive issues are a sign of leaky gut. If you have bloating, gas, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), investigate leaky gut as a possible cause.
2) "Do I have leaky gut?" is a useful question to ask if you suffer from hormone abnormalities like PMS or PCOS. Toxin intake can affect hormones, so these symptoms may come from your gut instead of your ovaries.
3) Perhaps due to stress on the body, leaky gut syndrome can cause chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. If you're always feeling run-down, the cause might not be in your brain or your adrenal glands, but in your gut instead!
4) If you have asthma or seasonal allergies, leaky gut syndrome might be the culprit. It's not clear why this occurs, but it's possibly because the body's increased chemical intake makes the immune system more sensitive. Asking yourself "do I have leaky gut?" could be a step toward clear sinuses!
5) Likewise, if you have autoimmune syndromes like psoriasis, lupus, arthritis, or the like, your gut may be the cause -- your immune system may be affected by the toxins that are getting through.
6) Acne and rosacea can be symptoms. The toxins entering your system may be stressing out your body, causing you to break out. Asking yourself "do I have leaky gut?" may be the first step to getting a clear complexion!
7) Before you pop pills, consider asking: "do I have leaky gut?" Many leaky gut sufferers also live with depression, anxiety, AD(H)D, or the like, perhaps because of hormone imbalance or increased fatigue.
4 Ways to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
1) If you're asking "do I have leaky gut?", then try supplementing with L-glutamine. L-glutamine is an amino acid that can help protect the cells in the gut, reduce stress, and aid your body's healthy production of the natural mucus in the gut. Evidence is still accruing, but it appears that L-glutamine can help people with leaky gut get their condition under control.
2) Stress is implicated in many cases of leaky gut, possibly due to stress' relation to inflammation. Make time to relax and meditate, get plenty of light aerobic exercise, and consider cutting down on caffeine.
3) Clean up your diet. Try cutting down or eliminating gluten, whey, alcohol, sugar, and other culprits. Try removing them from your diet all at once, then reintroducing them one by one and seeing how you're affected. Just eating more simple, whole foods may keep you from asking "do I have leaky gut?"
4) Lastly, take probiotics and prebiotics. Both of these nourish the gut's natural flora, so they can fight off any intruders and establish a healthy balance that may fix your gut.
"Do I have leaky gut?" is a question that can scare a lot of people, but it doesn't have to. It's a chronic condition and can have serious effects, but with a few healthy lifestyle tweaks you'll be feeling your best in no time.
If you have more questions about your health, to check out our health inventory. With just a few clicks, we're able to give you some useful strategies about how to improve your health.