Do I Have Leaky Gut?As the terms,"microbiome," "friendly bacteria" and "leaky gut" become a part of common vernacular you may be wondering how to posatively diagnose the condition so you can begin doing something about it. Because we have trillions of bacteria present in our bodies all the time, the difficulty with testing is determining which of many possible microbiota have overgrown and by how much. So reviewing the list of leaky gut syndrome symptoms and noting how many ways you match up is a more pragmatic approach to getting started. No need for expensive testing, just some self evaluation.
Leaky Gut Syndrome SymptomsBecause increased permeability of the gut membrane indicates increased permeability in other semipermeable membranes of the body, the list of possible symptoms is broad and deep. Most body systems have one or more permeable membranes present that can become inflamed due to increased permeability, creating pain, inflammation or dysfunction in that area of the body. Here's a break down.
Often there are abdominal complaints because the gut is where opportunistic Candida yeast and fungus colonizes first. Nausea, bloating, cramping, difficulty swallowing, gut pain that moves, colic (in babies), constipation and diarrhea. Before my recovery I was tested for parasites several times, gallbladder dysfunction, fat intolerance, ulcers, lesions, and appendicitis—all negative.
Food SensitivitiesIf you feel bad when you eat certain foods, you have Leaky Gut. Food allergies cause acid reflux, stomach pain, gas, dizziness, fatigue, headache, stuffy nose, asthma, skin dryness or rashes.
Hormones, Hypoglycemia and HypothyroidismThose who have Leaky Gut usually are both hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and have symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroid.) such as a low basal body temperature which is one degree or more below 98.6. This causes hands and feet to be cold frequently, and causes low function or “foggy thinking” in the brain and other organ systems which really run better at about 98.6 degrees. The thyroid gland also regulates your metabolism causing people with leaky gut to store excess body fat or less often, not to store enough. Hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism and systemic yeast infection are known as the “triple crown of autoimmunity". If you have 2, you have all 3. The good news is that there is a simple, promising approach for reversing all 3 by restoring the gut.
Environmental AllergiesAllergies to pollens, hayfever, dust, moldy places, or chemicals are also signs of systemic yeast. If you have sensitivity to jewelry or lotions or makeup you have a leaky gut.
Yeast InfectionsRecurrent yeast or fungal infections of the mouth (thrush), skin and nails (yellow nails, eczema, athlete's foot or severe diaper rash for babies). Vaginal yeast in women or jock itch in men and recurrent urinary tract infections are also indicators that the body is struggling with leaky gut and Candida yeast overload.
Reproductive ProblemsPainful menstruation, endometriosis and an inflamed prostate, difficulty conceiving, repeated miscarriages. Remember, allergens can trigger an inflammatory response as they attack any target organ in the body.
Muscles, Bones and Joints
Fatigue not relieved by a good night's sleep, sore muscles after mild or no exertion and dull ache or numbness in joints or limbs, including arm and leg aches often experienced by children, which are also part of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and MS symptom complexes.
Breathing and Heart ProblemsPersistent cough, mild sore throat, shortness of breath (like you can't quite fill your lungs to capacity), and high blood pressure or "pounding heart". I could often feel my heart beating at rest or hear it in my ears with my head down on a pillow.
If sensitivity to gas fumes, fresh paint, cigarette smoke, or cleaning supplies makes you nauseated, headachy or dizzy, that's another indicator.
Poor ImmunityIf you seem to catch every bug that comes along and hold onto it longer, you’ve got Leaky Gut. Systemic yeast gradually breaks down the body’s defenses leaving it open to other infection such as Mono, Epstein Barr, CMV, bacterial infection of the skin, cancer, & AIDS.
Brain SymptomsAmong the most troublesome are the neurological symptoms that I had a glimpse of following the birth of my fourth baby. These include dull headaches, dizziness, forgetfulness, clumsiness, speech problems like being tongue-tied or stuttering. Other symptoms are accidentally biting cheeks and tongue, a sense of non-reality or feeling "spaced out," inability to focus mentally, blurred or spotty vision, depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, seizures and inappropriate adrenalin surge, like you just want to jump for joy or punch someone, either one will do. As a child, I had a handful of petit mal seizures. The one common thread between them all was a drop in blood sugar either because of fasting or because of an insulin rush after eating massive sugar on an empty stomach. Years later I learned about the low carb “ketogenic diet” for epilepsy, and this strange and scary symptom also made sense to me. Epilepsy too is gut-linked.
Research Links Headache and the Gut
A HEAD-hunt study in Norway looked at the relationship between gut or gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms and headache including migraine. The study included 51,000 people and found a higher prevalence of headache among those who regularly experience GI symptoms compared to the control group without GI complaints.
Researchers found that as the headaches became more frequent so did the number of GI complaints which suggests a correlation between them. The GI complaints were just as common in those with migraine than in those with headache. Both migraine and other headaches were found to be more common in those who had GI complaints. If the ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates was right, (and recent science suggests he actually nailed it) then "all disease begins in the gut." For one thing, over 80% of the body's immune cells reside in the gut, making it (and its trillions of microscopic hitchhikers) the first line of defense against invaders in the food, air and water we take into the body.