Leaky Gut: Are you just bloated – or is it something else?
23 Jan 2021
If you’re prone to bloating, you’ll know how it goes. You can wake up with a flat stomach and then, by lunchtime, have to undo a button on your jeans. A lot of the time, there’s an identifiable cause and effect. Perhaps you drank too much soda. Maybe you ate a three-bean salad! However, if you’re constantly bothered by bloating it’s time to get to the bottom of it. Sometimes, a battle with bloat isn’t just an uncomfortable consequence. In fact, it may be a symptom of several digestive disorders. One of them being leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome is exactly what it sounds like. To explain it simply, your gut develops tiny holes that allow undigested bits of food to enter your blood stream in a way that causes chaos. For example, your liver will start working hard to rid your body of what it identifies as toxins. Thing is, it won’t be able to keep up – after all, you’re always eating –so your immune system has to step in. The result is chronic low-level inflammation that, if left unchecked, can lead to autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
While bloating is a symptom of leaky gut syndrome, it’s not the only one. Other signs your intestines might have become semi-permeable include diarrhoea, constipation, stomach cramps, ulcers, rashes, headaches and fatigue. The biggest symptom, however, is the onset of new food sensitivities. While you might never have been bothered by eating wheat before, you’re suddenly reacting to it because, now that it’s entering your bloodstream – a place it’s not meant to be – your immune system is registering it as an “invader”. Another common symptom is the development of an overgrowth of yeast and nutritional deficiencies due to your gut’s inability to properly absorb nutrients.
Leaky gut, but that’s not all!
Clearly, leaky gut is a condition to be reckoned with and it might be the reason behind your bloating. But let’s not hear hooves and immediately think zebras when it could just as well be horses. One of the most common reasons for chronic bloating is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Over the years, many people suffering from IBS have been dismissed or misdiagnosed due to their doctor not understanding the condition. For example, many still think one of the main symptoms is diarrhoea when only recently has IBS-C been recognised. This is a type of IBS that presents with constipation.
Yet another condition that could be causing you to bloat could be a food intolerance. Lots of people go their whole lives not realising they’re eating foods their body disagrees with. Also, many incorrectly self-diagnose and then inflict needless diet changes upon themselves. For example, many people who think they’re intolerant to gluten can manage it just fine and are actually just intolerant to wheat.
Get the right diagnosis
If you’d like to figure out what’s causing your bloat, stop consulting Dr Google. Rather make an appointment to see a real medical doctor who practices functional medicine. This highly-individualised patient-centric approach to wellness focuses on treating you as a whole and seeks to identify the underlying cause for your conditions. They’ll ask the right questions to give them a “bigger picture” view of your health. They can then perform a series of tests that will help rule out certain conditions and assist them in making the right diagnosis. Once they’ve identified the root causes for your tummy trouble they can give you the correct treatment. This might be prescription medication but often it’s as simple as making certain lifestyle changes and following a specific diet supported by high-quality health supplements.
In short, if you’re constantly plagued by bloating, don’t write it off as just the way things are. Get to the bottom of it and get the right treatment. In no time at all, you could be back on the path to wellness and suddenly, pulling on a pair of skinny jeans doesn’t feel like taking a risk.