I know it sounds really bad, doesn’t it? Leaky gut syndrome. It sounds like a horrible mess! This was my first thought when I first heard the words leaky gut syndrome from my naturopath. Truth is, it is a horrible mess!
We need our gut lining to be in tact, to be whole, to have all the bits that are meant to stay inside our gut, to be contained.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
The simple explanation is that our gut lining has been permeated. It is no longer solid. The bouncers at our gut lining wall have been pushed out of the way, trampled or have simply left. This means, all that food and toxic stuff, which is meant to be transported out of our bodies through our digestive system, is now leaking back into our bodies! This is not pretty. Imagine a club, where all the nasty boys can come in and take over the place! That is exactly what is happening with our gut lining. Nasty stuff, including all those toxins, excess hormones etc are all coming back into the body.
Why is this so bad and how does it relate to Endo?
Well, the liver has been tirelessly working away at getting rid of the toxins in our foods and environment and has decided these guys need to go. It sends them via our digestive system to expel them. They have been asked to leave politely by our security team. That includes all those excess hormones which we are meant to be getting rid of. As you know, excess hormones with Endometriosis is not a good thing. It means, more growths and more Endo pain! We want to get rid of excess estrogens and any other toxins which might be altering our natural hormonal balance.
So, when these guys are asked to leave and then they manage to get back in, through our gut lining, it means our poor liver has to do its job all over again. Now, imagine if we have an endless amount of these toxins and estrogens, all needing to get out but somehow not getting out, we are going to have a massive brawl taking place in our bodies!
Remember, too many toxins in the body create an imbalance. Imbalances in the body equals disease. We want less toxins and more nourishment. Here is a great video which explains the simple reasons why our bodies get sick.
The big bummer in it all!
When our gut lining is weak and leaky, we are also not absorbing the nutrients from our food, which we desperately need in order to heal! We want to absorb all that amazing food we are giving our bodies. What is the point of eating all that good organic food, super food and taking amazing supplements, if we can’t actually absorb all their nutritional goodness?
Here we are, doing our very best and all the while, our bodies simply can’t absorb the good stuff from our food.
What are the chances that you have leaky gut syndrome with Endometriosis?
Unfortunately pretty high. Most of us crave sugar and take painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Gluten also has a direct result on leaky gut syndrome as our bodies simply struggle to break down the proteins found in these flours. So, they become a sticky mass, inhibiting digestion.
I know I lived on painkillers for years!
What does the sugar craving and gluten have to do with it?
Chances are, if you are craving sugar, or bread or cheese for that matter, you are likely to have a bacterial flora imbalance. What? Okay, we naturally have good and bad bacteria in our bodies. When we eat a diet which is high in carbohydrates we struggle to digest gluten, eat lots of sugars and mouldy foods, we are essentially feeding the bad bacteria; Candida is a common one. We might also be feeding out pathogens and fungi living in our gut. These guys are the ones craving all that sugar and those very foods you are so desperately trying to stop eating! With them out of balance, chances are you will keep craving those foods.
The problem with these guys is that they hurt our gut lining. They also absorb heaps of those good nutrients! So, we want to get them down to normal levels or in some cases, completely eliminate them.
Gluten is hard to digest. It is said that only 7/10 people can properly digest gluten. That means, we have a massive big lump of undigested matter sitting in our small intestine. It is sticky and solid and this will hurt the sensitive digestive lining.
Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Excess mucus in the body (that phlegmy feeling in the back of your throat)
- Thrush, eczema, skin rashes, acne
- Undigested food in your stool
There are of course a whole heap of follow-on symptoms, which relate to poor mineral absorption. Brittle nails, aching joints, thinning hair etc, including Endometriosis and other conditions caused by a lack of minerals, trace elements, vitamins etc.
The importance of this is HUGE
I reckon, if I was to place a bet on how many women with Endometriosis had leaky gut syndrome, I would say it is probably above 80%. It makes sense. Many of us have had to take painkillers for many years to just deal with the pain. Many of us also tend to have symptoms of candida overgrowth and the connection with candida and Endometriosis is huge!
Many of us also tend to have food allergies, general allergies and food sensitivities. The link with leaky gut and foods is also a big one. Because the food is essentially escaping into our blood stream, unprotected, it causes an immediate response by our bodies,”Invader! Invader!” and so we have reactions to common foods and the body goes into a type of over-drive reaction or auto-immune response.
The gut is responsible for creating defenses for our body. It is a protective coating! It is those body guards who ensure our immune system is working properly. Without those guys standing in line at the border of our gut, creating a thick mucous layer, we have no defense against what we eat and what comes into our blood stream. Do you see the importance of this, to keep our immune system normal and healthy?
The cause and effects of Endometriosis
I have hunted high and low to find the supposed “cause of Endometriosis”. There are a number of theories and I have had many of my own. The fact is, Endometriosis has been connected with a low immune system, candida and gluten.
Do we see the interesting connection in all this?
Okay, all right! I get it! Leaky gut syndrome is not a good thing for Endo Women.
So, what do we do about it?
We need to heal our gut lining. What the gut lining needs in order to heal:
- Avoid alcohol or cut it out completely;
- Really cut down on the painkillers. Here are some pain free alternatives;
- Get some mucilage food into your diet. I personally love chia seeds. Aloe Vera is another alternative;
- Eat more fermented foods. Fermented foods provide heaps and heaps of good gut flora for the body. You will get heaps more from them than you will from a probiotic. Start making them! Sauerkraut, Coconut Kefir and ginger beer are some of my favourites;
- Get some L-Glutamine powder. This is an amino acid which will help heal that gut lining faster. I found it best to drink just before bed as this is when the gut does all its healing; and
- Get rid of any nasties living in your bowels. That could be candida, H.Pylori or any other bacteria that are taking over.
Just remember: your body produces new cells every 4–6 weeks. That includes your gut lining cells! Just give them some tools to make it easier and stop killing them off with gluten and painkillers.
If you want to get an all-rounded solution, including recipes for your digestive system, you should have a look at my very silly book: Get the Perfect Sausage. Well, the title is silly but the content isn’t! The book will guide you through all of this stuff in much more detail and give you specific tools you can use to get rid of bugs, flush out toxins faster and gives you recipes to make it all so much easier to do.
I personally believe we can heal so much by having our gut lining repaired. This is where all the nutrients, immune function and defenses come from! This is our powerhouse, our means to provide for the body. We need to get this one sorted!
Do you think you might have leaky gut syndrome? What symptoms can you relate to? What are you going to do about it?