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 issuesΒ  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,Β  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 leaveΒ  a comment below.

 

Yours in health,

Meredith x

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Endometriosis and gastrointestinal problems

  1. Hi Meredith

    Thank you so much for sharing. I love your blog.

    I just did a SIBOtest (havn’t got the results yet) since I went to a naturapath who thinks that is my issue. I’m travelling at the moment (for 3months, 3 weeks to go) and am finding it really hard to maintain the diet. I’m doing my best, but sometimes I can’t control if there are pieces of garlic or onions in my food. Also, I eat a lot of fruits like grapes, bananas and oranges, since it’s hard to get anything else fresh here in Fiji. Do you ever eat the wrong thing or a cheat meal? I find it mentally hard to cope with sometimes…

    Thanks for your time! πŸ™‚

    Kind Regards Anna

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    • Hi Anna, the SIBO diet is really hard to maintain if you don’t have your own kitchen. You need to know exactly what’s in your food so making it from scratch is the best way. It’s hard at first but you get used to it. I would suggest holding off treatment until you have finished travelling, but perhaps ease yourself into it and start now by cutting out things that are high in sugar such as fruit (if you can). To answer your question, yes I have eaten the wrong thing, last year during my first treatment I found it hard to maintain (was moving house, travelling a lot etc) so the treatment didn’t work – I relapsed, so I’m much stricter now during my second treatment. I wish you all the best with it. Enjoy your travels, Meredith xx

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      • Hi Meredith

        Glad I’m not the only one.

        Thank you so much for your help Meredith! I’ll kinda have to eat either fruit or bread, since there aren’t many other options here.. I try to eat as much salad, egg and meat as possible. But it is not possible for all meals… What do you think is the worst thing to eat? Fruit or bread?

        How much damage does a wrong meal do? For example containing garlic, gluten or so?

        Thanks again! It means a lot πŸ™‚

        Warm regards, Anna

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  2. Eating the wrong thing can undo all the work you’ve done, depending on how much you eat and the severity of your infection, in my experience it’s not worth it – if you’re going through treatment it’s a waste of your time and money to undo the work you’ve been doing on your health. Some fruit can be okay though, experiment and see what gives you symptoms, bread can be highly processed and full of sugar and preservatives so I wouldn’t touch it, I haven’t eaten bread (except for home made nut and seed loaf) in over 6 months (even the gluten free variety). Best wishes, Meredith

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    • Hi Meredith

      Yeah, you’re right. Its not worth it. I’m doing my very best to follow the diet and I hope antibiotics will help me as well… I’ll keep on staying away from gluten, laktose, starch, fruits and legumes! πŸ™‚

      I’ve discoverd a good app called ‘sibo’ which makes it easier to remember what is and isn’t legal to eat.

      Do you find it hard to live by socialy? For example when your visiting friends or eating out? Do you have any tips for these situations?

      Thank you so much for helping me!

      Best wishes, Anna πŸ™‚

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  3. Hi Anna, yes social situations are hard work, I always bring my own food if I’m going to a barbecue or picnic, eating out at a restaurant is something I’ve been avoiding completely unless I know they are a health food restaurant/cafe that caters for dietary restrictions. All the best, Meredith

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