Leaky Gut Syndrome Hastings NE
By Catherine Guthrie
Three years ago, Sandy Schottenheimer was, she says, “living on ibuprofen.” Her work as a computer programmer left her with severe carpal tunnel syndrome, and doctors recommended drugstore anti-inflammatories to dull the pain. “I popped them like crazy, usually three or four at a time, and often on an empty stomach,” she says. After she finally had surgery on her injured wrist two years ago, the 45-year-old thought her troubles were over. The shooting pain in her arm had vanished; but then, during her recovery, she was blindsided by an even more debilitating problem.
Within a week of the surgery, Schottenheimer began having severe abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and more than 20 bouts of diarrhea a day. She’d been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) years before, but this felt very different. “My gastroenterologist told me it was just IBS, to ‘go home and live with it,’” she says.
But she could barely eat or sleep, and she didn’t dare leave the house for fear of having another attack. “I went from living on ibuprofen to living in the bathroom,” she says.
Schottenheimer spent the next six months in a twilight zone; just going to work was exhausting. She cut back drastically on her exercise regimen and stopped dining out with friends. Instead, she spent much of her time with doctors. Her general practitioner told her the problem was all in her head, while yet another physician said her stomach produced too much acid. Each new appointment felt like another dead end.
Finally, on the recommendation of a friend, Schottenheimer visited a chiropractor who gave her problem a name: leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky what? The syndrome, he told her, is a little-known problem that’s believed to contribute to stomach illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease. Also known as increased intestinal permeability, it’s been getting more attention lately: Some practitioners think that a leaky gut may trigger or worsen dozens of seemingly unrelated ailments and diseases, including acne, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.
“We’re seeing intestinal permeability and related conditions more and more frequently,” says Parisa Saeedi-Mepham, a naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle. “As more research is done, I think we’ll find it’s more common than people think.”
Here’s how it’s thought to work. Normally, as food travels through the small intestine, tiny molecules of fats, proteins, and starches get absorbed through the walls and into the bloodstream. Larger molecules, which include troublemakers like bacteria, toxins, and partially digested food, are shuffled down to the large intestine and out of the body.
But people with leaky gut syndrome have tiny openings in the walls of their small intestines. This allows the large molecules to leak into the bloodstream, where the immune system attacks them as foreign invaders. Food molecules th...
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