It is often difficult to pin down an accurate diagnosis for leaky gut syndrome. The symptoms can be so varied and sometimes so vague that many patients will end up getting treated for a condition they do not even have.
The nourishment for our bodies is delivered through our gastrointestinal system. After we eat, our stomach begins the process of breaking down the food so that it can be absorbed. Enzymes help to reduce the size of the food particles and hydrochloric acid kills of pathogens before the food is passed on to the small intestine.
After passing through the stomach, food enters the small intestine where most of the nutrients needed for our body are absorbed. The small intestine is lined with villi (singular villus), small protrusions that increase the amount of area available to take in the digested food. The villi are rich in capillaries, which make it easy for food to pass through the villi into the bloodstream; this is considered to be normal intestinal permeability. When the normal condition of the small intestine has been upset, through yeast infection, stress, or any other causes, spaces open up between the villi that allow food and fat particles, as well as toxins, to enter the body cavity causing leaky gut syndrome.
The large intestine takes water and vitamins out of the food that passes into it. Although there are no villi in the colon, there are invaginations and goblet cells, which can also be subject to deterioration and increased intestinal permeability. As with the small intestine, openings can appear, passing all manner of toxins into the body.
Unsurprisingly, leaky gut syndrome will probably cause intestinal problems to begin with, and the patient can suffer from gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or muscular spasms in the belly. However, symptoms such as headache, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, and insomnia can also occur. It is easy to understand how leaky gut syndrome can cause such a range of problems as the contents of both intestines will be oozing out right into the surrounding tissues and organs. No part of the body will be safe from these contaminating substances.
Part of the trouble with correctly diagnosing leaky bowel syndrome symptoms is that they can be so broad or so vague that pinning down the cause can be difficult. Often a correct diagnosis is only reached by performing tests. One of the first will be to test for a Candida yeast infection. A blood test will be necessary for this, and the presence of certain antibodies will indicate that an overgrowth of yeast has occurred. A stool sample will also probably be called for, and this can not only indicate yeast, but also how well the food has been digested. Poorly digested foods can be a red flag for leaky gut syndrome.
If leaky guts have been caused by yeast, there are several ways to approach this problem. Traditional medicine will probably suggest using one of several antifungal prescription drugs. These can include Nystatin, which is considered safe, or such medicines as Nizoral or Lamisil, both of which have been linked to liver damage.
Another approach is to fight leaky gut syndrome with a diet designed to correct the problems in both intestines. This dietary approach will eliminate foods such as those containing gluten (breads and pastries), fermented beverages, processed foods, dairy products (especially cheese), and sugary foods. Changing your eating habits in this way can help your body repair itself, and can often provide a way to overcome leaky gut syndrome.