Endometriosis and gastrointestinal problems

For many women, not only are they dealing with endometriosis they are struggling with gastrointestinal issues; problems such as food intolerance, constipation, nutritional deficiency and more.

Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago, ‘all disease begins in the gut’, which makes me think, personally I have suffered with gut problems for as long as I have endometriosis – so could the two problems be linked?

Just today after years of health issues  I have finally found out what is wrong with my gut – I have a condition known as SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). SIBO is where harmful bacteria damage the microvilli which are responsible for the digestion of certain sugars such as starch. This results in malabsorption of nutrients from food and can cause a wide variety of health problems such as food intolerance, fatigue, digestion problems, brain fog, inflammation, muscle aches and nutritional deficiency.

The small bowel or small intestine is not only for absorbing food and nutrients but there are cells there which play an important role in regulating the immune system.

‘Leaky gut’ is also a related condition and can be caused by SIBO. In a leaky gut the small intestine lining becomes more permeable, allowing particles through which are potentially toxic to the body.

A leaky gut is the culprit of many health conditions, it is widely believed this condition plays havoc with the immune system and can cause all kinds of autoimmune diseases and inflammation. Which leads me to believe that these health conditions could all be related.

leaky gut 2

It is believed leaky gut and SIBO are caused by a number of things:

  • Chronic stress which results is a weakened immune system resulting in inflammation and increased permeability of the stomach lining
  • Medications such as NSAIDS, asprin and antibiotics
  • Yeast, especially yeast infections such as candida
  • Poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption

This condition is difficult to treat,  it includes taking low dose specialised antibiotics such as Xifaxan and a strict diet.

Here are a few signs you may have SIBO:

  • You have IBS symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea
  • Acid reflex or heartburn
  • Blood tests show your are constantly low in iron despite taking supplements
  • You are on a special gluten free diet but you still have symptoms
  • Sugar (any kind, including lactose) causes gas, bloating or other gastrointestinal symptoms

Here are some telltale signs of leaky gut:

  • Multiple allergies or food intolerance
  • Bloating
  • Skin rashes
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Fatigue and brain fog
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Joint pain and inflammation

If you feel you could have this condition, don’t ignore it as it will only get worse with time. See an integrative doctor or naturopath who will be able to give you the appropriate tests.

If you suffer from any of these health conditions I’d love to hear from you – just leave  a comment below.

 

Yours in health,

Meredith x