When an autoimmune disease occurs, the body begins attacking itself. At some point the antibodies that would normally rush to eliminate bacteria and viruses begin to attack the body’s own cells and tissues. Some of the most common autoimmune diseases are Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease. All of these conditions are associated with the digestive system in some way: Crohn’s affects both the large and small intestine, while colitis targets the large only. Celiac disease tends to concentrate on the small intestine, and can cause much the same symptoms as colitis and Crohn’s. These diseases can all be associated with Leaky Bowel Syndrome symptoms.
Persons who are affected with any of these autoimmune gastrointestinal diseases will be subject to symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, and sometimes bleeding. Unfortunately, in some cases these auto immune diseases can progress to cancer. These are serious conditions, and while there are a number of factors that can trigger them, leaky bowels can be included.
Under normal circumstances, the intestines function to allow nutrients and liquid to pass from the intestines into the body. Normal functioning results when the protective layer in the intestines is intact and the microvilli that line the small intestine and the goblet cells in the colon are fitted snugly against one another. These villi and goblet cells are projections, like tiny fingers, that increase the absorptive surface. Trouble begins when something occurs to disrupt these projections and spaces form between them. These spaces allow larger particles of undigested food, toxins, and fats to seep into the body – at this point, the patient will be suffering from leaky gut. If leaky gut goes untreated, it can bring on an autoimmune response in the form of one of the gastrointestinal diseases.
When an autoimmune disease appears, generally the doctors will attempt to treat the symptoms. Usually a combination of antibiotics and steroids such as prednisone is used. It is true that these will help to calm down these conditions, but will do nothing to get to the underlying cause – the leaky guts. In fact, both antibiotics and steroids will often make leaky gut syndrome even worse. Antibiotics will tend to wipe out the good bacteria along with the bad in our intestines, the ones that help us digest our food, making it even more difficult for our intestines to function as they are designed to. Steroids, such as prednisone, suppress the immune system, and while this will help to superficially calm down the large and small intestine, it will also leave these organs more susceptible to leaky gut.
What is needed at this point is a real treatment for leaky gut, until this problem is addressed, you will only be putting a band aid on the other conditions. One of the most common causes of leaky gut is Candida yeast. When Candida runs wild, it will grow into the intestinal walls, separating and damaging the villi and goblet cells and making openings into the body cavity. Ordinarily, the yeast present in everyone’s body is kept quiet by a balanced body. Helpful flora in the intestines prevent rampant yeast growth, but when antibiotics destroy these bacteria, the yeast is free to grow without interference. Very often a change in diet will help to restore the proper balance in the intestines. Avoidance of alcohol, foods that contain yeast, sugar (which yeast feeds on), and dairy products can help suppress yeast and allow the body to recover from leaky gut.