If you believe you may have the leaky gut syndrome, you'll of course want to know what some of the signs and symptoms are. Or perhaps you have some of these symptoms but have not received any kind of diagnosis from your doctor, leaving you wondering: what exactly is going on with my body? In this article, we're going to share everything you need to know about leaky gut symptoms so you'll know if it's something you should talk to your doctor about.
What are the symptoms of an unhealthy gut?
Symptoms of an unhealthy gut include feelings of fatigue, chronic gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating, headaches, brain fog, and poor immune system function. In addition, you may experience or even be diagnosed with other conditions, which could be an indication that you have a leaky gut. We list those below.
What is impaired intestinal permeability?
Permeability is a term describing how easily the material can pass through something. In the case of our intestines, we absorb nutrients from our food as it moves from inside the gastrointestinal tract through the cells lining the gut wall, then into the body where it can be used. However, the lining of the gut also serves as a barrier against toxins entering the bloodstream and causing us harm. Disruption of this barrier sometimes referred to as hyper-permeability or increased permeability, allows harmful substances and pathogens to enter the bloodstream.
The impairment of the permeability of your intestines is the mechanism thought to be the culprit behind common disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and other food allergies. It plays a major role in what natural physicians call leaky gut and it can lead to other issues and symptoms, as we'll discuss in detail below.
Do I have a leaky gut syndrome?
Having a sensitivity to or allergy to certain foods is probably one of the most prevalent symptoms associated with the leaky gut syndrome. Because toxins are entering your bloodstream through your intestines, your body is spending a lot of energy fighting against them, thus making you more sensitive to other antigens found in foods. The most common food allergies are dairy, wheat, and gluten. That is why gluten-free and dairy-free diets are so common in the natural health community.
While having a nutrient deficiency is difficult to diagnose on your own, many people suffering from leaky gut experience difficulty with absorption and therefore nutrient deficiencies. This in and of itself can lead to health issues, and why many naturopathic physicians and other holistic practitioners advise patients to take a whole food multivitamin. Probiotics are also a consideration to restore the healthy flora in your gut.
Bowel inflammation can manifest as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease among others. Studies have shown that "if the gut epithelium is disrupted, ingress of bacterial components into the lamina propria is sufficient to trigger IBD." In addition, "mood or anxiety disorders in IBS patients exceeds 35%," so these disorders appear to be linked to IBS, both as a risk factor as well as an associative cause of the digestive issues.
Low Immune Function
Consider our discussion of impaired intestinal permeability above. Because your body is fighting so hard against the toxins entering your bloodstream through your gut, your body becomes vulnerable to attack from external pathogens. The result is a chronic feeling of fatigue, coupled with a propensity for illness. While natural supplements to boost your immune system may be helpful, they are still like applying a bandage to a wound because the culprit lies in the lining of your gut. Addressing your gut health is therefore a way to improve your immune function.
Low Thyroid Function
Low thyroid function, known as hypothyroidism, can be a symptom associated with a leaky gut. Other symptoms may include feelings of fatigue and depression. People who suffer from thyroid issues are also prone to weight gain. Hashimoto's disease, also known as chronic thyroiditis, is a condition commonly associated with a leaky gut.
While it may be common to treat skin issues like rashes, eczema, acne, and psoriasis with creams and topical treatments, these conditions may be a symptom of an unhealthy gut. Changes in diet and nutrition, along with supplements like probiotics to restore healthy flora in the gut may go a long way toward treating these symptoms.
15 Symptoms of Leaky Gut
Consider some of these signs and symptoms or the conditions listed below. If you believe you may have the leaky gut syndrome, use DaoCloud's practitioner search to find a naturopathic physician who specializes in nutrition and can provide you with a diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of a leaky gut? Here are 13 of the most significant indications you may have an issue with leaky gut:
- Joint pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- Gas or bloating
- Food cravings for sugar or carbohydrates
- Excessive fatigue
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Food malabsorption
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Poor immune system function
- Weight gain
14 conditions associated with Leaky Gut
In addition to the symptoms we listed above, you may also consider that many people with leaky gut suffer from one or more of the following conditions:
- ADD and ADHD
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn's disease
- Hashimoto's disease (hypothyroidism)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome