What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome and How Does This Affect Endo?

CEO Founder & Creator of the REACH© Technique, Endo Empowered & the REACH beyond Endo program.

I know it sounds really bad, doesn’t it? Leaky gut syndrome. It sounds like a horrible mess! This was my first thought when I first heard the words leaky gut syndrome from my naturopath. Truth is, it is a horrible mess!

We need our gut lining to be in tact, to be whole, to have all the bits that are meant to stay inside our gut, to be contained.

 

What is leaky gut syndrome?

The simple explanation is that our gut lining has been permeated. It is no longer solid. The bouncers at our gut lining wall have been pushed out of the way, trampled or have simply left. This means, all that food and toxic stuff, which is meant to be transported out of our bodies through our digestive system, is now leaking back into our bodies! This is not pretty. Imagine a club, where all the nasty boys can come in and take over the place! That is exactly what is happening with our gut lining. Nasty stuff, including all those toxins, excess hormones etc are all coming back into the body.

 

Why is this so bad and how does it relate to Endo?

Well, the liver has been tirelessly working away at getting rid of the toxins in our foods and environment and has decided these guys need to go. It sends them via our digestive system to expel them. They have been asked to leave politely by our security team. That includes all those excess hormones which we are meant to be getting rid of. As you know, excess hormones with Endometriosis is not a good thing. It means, more growths and more Endo pain! We want to get rid of excess estrogens and any other toxins which might be altering our natural hormonal balance.

So, when these guys are asked to leave and then they manage to get back in, through our gut lining, it means our poor liver has to do its job all over again. Now, imagine if we have an endless amount of these toxins and estrogens, all needing to get out but somehow not getting out, we are going to have a massive brawl taking place in our bodies!

Remember, too many toxins in the body create an imbalance. Imbalances in the body equals disease. We want less toxins and more nourishment. Here is a great video which explains the simple reasons why our bodies get sick.

 

The big bummer in it all!

When our gut lining is weak and leaky, we are also not absorbing the nutrients from our food, which we desperately need in order to heal! We want to absorb all that amazing food we are giving our bodies. What is the point of eating all that good organic food, super food and taking amazing supplements, if we can’t actually absorb all their nutritional goodness?

Here we are, doing our very best and all the while, our bodies simply can’t absorb the good stuff from our food.

 

 

What are the chances that you have leaky gut syndrome with Endometriosis?

Unfortunately pretty high. Most of us crave sugar and take painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Gluten also has a direct result on leaky gut syndrome as our bodies simply struggle to break down the proteins found in these flours. So, they become a sticky mass, inhibiting digestion.

I know I lived on painkillers for years!

The painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are actually proven to cause leaky gut syndrome.

What does the sugar craving and gluten have to do with it?

Chances are, if you are craving sugar, or bread or cheese for that matter, you are likely to have a bacterial flora imbalance. What? Okay, we naturally have good and bad bacteria in our bodies. When we eat a diet which is high in carbohydrates we struggle to digest gluten, eat lots of sugars and mouldy foods, we are essentially feeding the bad bacteria; Candida is a common one. We might also be feeding out pathogens and fungi living in our gut. These guys are the ones craving all that sugar and those very foods you are so desperately trying to stop eating! With them out of balance, chances are you will keep craving those foods.

The problem with these guys is that they hurt our gut lining. They also absorb heaps of those good nutrients! So, we want to get them down to normal levels or in some cases, completely eliminate them.

Gluten is hard to digest. It is said that only 7/10 people can properly digest gluten. That means, we have a massive big lump of undigested matter sitting in our small intestine. It is sticky and solid and this will hurt the sensitive digestive lining.

 

Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Bloating
  • Inflammation
  • Excess mucus in the body (that phlegmy feeling in the back of your throat)
  • Thrush, eczema, skin rashes, acne
  • Undigested food in your stool

There are of course a whole heap of follow-on symptoms, which relate to poor mineral absorption. Brittle nails, aching joints, thinning hair etc, including Endometriosis and other conditions caused by a lack of minerals, trace elements, vitamins etc.

 

The importance of this is HUGE

I reckon, if I was to place a bet on how many women with Endometriosis had leaky gut syndrome, I would say it is probably above 80%. It makes sense. Many of us have had to take painkillers for many years to just deal with the pain. Many of us also tend to have symptoms of candida overgrowth and the connection with candida and Endometriosis is huge!

Many of us also tend to have food allergies, general allergies and food sensitivities. The link with leaky gut and foods is also a big one. Because the food is essentially escaping into our blood stream, unprotected, it causes an immediate response by our bodies,”Invader! Invader!” and so we have reactions to common foods and the body goes into a type of over-drive reaction or auto-immune response.

The gut is responsible for creating defenses for our body. It is a protective coating! It is those body guards who ensure our immune system is working properly. Without those guys standing in line at the border of our gut, creating a thick mucous layer, we have no defense against what we eat and what comes into our blood stream. Do you see the importance of this, to keep our immune system normal and healthy?

 

The cause and effects of Endometriosis

I have hunted high and low to find the supposed “cause of Endometriosis”. There are a number of theories and I have had many of my own. The fact is, Endometriosis has been connected with a low immune system, candida and gluten.

Do we see the interesting connection in all this?

Okay, all right! I get it! Leaky gut syndrome is not a good thing for us Endo Girls. 

 

So, what do we do about it?

We need to heal our gut lining. What the gut lining needs in order to heal:

  • Avoid alcohol or cut it out completely;
  • Really cut down on the painkillers. Here are some pain free alternatives;
  • Get some mucilage food into your diet. I personally love chia seeds. Aloe Vera is another alternative;
  • Eat more fermented foods. Fermented foods provide heaps and heaps of good gut flora for the body. You will get heaps more from them than you will from a probiotic. Start making them! Sauerkraut, Coconut Kefir and ginger beer are some of my favourites;
  • Get some L-Glutamine powder. This is an amino acid which will help heal that gut lining faster. I found it best to drink just before bed as this is when the gut does all its healing; and
  • Get rid of any nasties living in your bowels. That could be candida, H.Pylori or any other bacteria that are taking over.

 

Just remember: your body produces new cells every 4–6 weeks. That includes your gut lining cells! Just give them some tools to make it easier and stop killing them off with gluten and painkillers.

If you want to get an all-rounded solution, including recipes for your digestive system, you should have a look at my very silly book: Get the Perfect Sausage. Well, the title is silly but the content isn’t! The book will guide you through all of this stuff in much more detail and give you specific tools you can use to get rid of bugs, flush out toxins faster and gives you recipes to make it all so much easier to do.

 

I personally believe we can heal so much by having our gut lining repaired. This is where all the nutrients, immune function and defenses come from! This is our powerhouse, our means to provide for the body. We need to get this one sorted!

Do you think you might have leaky gut syndrome? What symptoms can you relate to?  What are you going to do about it?

Feel free to express your comments & thoughts below or share this article with your friends.

Big hugs,

 

  • Kristin says:

    These digestive issues are a constant struggle for me on a daily basis. I remember as a kid lying on the cold tiles of the bathroom floor to make the burning in my stomach leave. I have changed my diet drastically and taken probiotics but I wonder how long to take those for because my stomach would still get upset. I hope to find relief at some point since gluten is out of my body.

    • I love your article and have found that leaky gut was totally my culprit with this!! I’ve had female issues since a teen and eventually ended up with painful cysts and endometriosis.
      I can’t tell you how many times I would get physically sick (at home or even at outings) and how many times I would end up on the bathroom floor crying in a ball.
      I’m sorry for everyone who has similar issues and I want you to know that by balancing my blood sugar issues… adding an awesome probiotic & doing a gentle cleanse I no longer have pain or issues with it at all.
      I was taking the birth control pill for pain management as well as other pain pills (including Vioxx in the past) and I’ve been able to get RX free.
      I do not consume very much sugar, but I do have gluten and dairy. I’m starting to try coconut milk for my smoothies though… ❤️
      I wish you all health and happiness & hope you all can get to the root of your illness… I’ve tried everything in the past & finally found the solution – so don’t ever quit looking or give up!
      Xoxo,
      Anna C Winkler Reuter

      (Ps… Same routine I take has helped my husband with his psoriasis… Depression… Anxiety and arthritis pain… Again leaky gut issues… Just google leaky gut and whatever is ailing you and check out the connection between the two) ❤️

      • Donna Schoen says:

        anna,

        Are you able to share how or what you did for balancing your blood sugar issues? My daughter and i are taking a good probiotic, to help get the good flora in our guts. We just started a week ago with me making homemade bone broth for the leaky gut, and also buying the bone broth powder when i cant make it or it is depleted. We also started taking monolaurin pellets a week and a half ago also. And i just bought some l- glutamine powder that we havent even started taking. We have epstein barr virus. We are taking LDN (low dose naltrexone) to see if it will help with all of the symptoms that we have from it. I have been wondering for along time which came first? EBV and the white blood cells lost the war over a long peroid of time and in came parasites, candida, fungus ect to lead to leaky gut and then endo. Or was i exposed to a huge amount of parasites when i was small ( like 5 years old) and in came candida , fungus, and then the leaky gut from parasites borrowing thru the gut lining, and in comes endo big time with inflamation, 12 years old started my period, within a year!!!!!!!!!! The pain was so bad, and everyone said you got to be strong?????? i am 58 years old now. My daughter is 28, and she is going thru the same pain and hurt that i did all of my life from 12 years old to 40! thats when they did a total hysterectomy on me, doctor said it was the worst he had seen in his career at the time. So which came first the chicken or the egg?? Still havent figured the answer to it. If you have any info for me , i would appreciate it. Because life itself is really overrated.

  • Aubree says:

    Awesome article Melissa 🙂 This issue has been running though my head very much recently, especially considering the years and years of daily NSAID consumption – argh. You think by cutting out the allergens that eventually the gut heals itself?

    • Melissa says:

      For sure sweets 🙂 The cells renew themselves really quickly. Just cut out the stuff that aggravates them and give it some good mucousy stuff and it will heal 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    That’s the best description I’ve read of a digestive disorder … bad boys and club bouncers! After years of stomach upset, but testing negative for celiac, I went to a homeopathic doctor, who had me cut all gluten from my diet anyway. It’s definitely improved my health, and I make sure to take probiotic pills everybody, too.

  • Strides Against The Grain says:

    […] Leaky Gut Syndrome and Endometriosis – Cure  Endo Angel […]

  • Joy says:

    How many grams of l-glutamine do you take a day?

  • Caren Carla says:

    Thanks for such an article. I have a question regarding leaky gut. Actually, my neighbor’s child has been diagnosed with leaky gut symptoms. X-ray has shown that there are various stools around the walls of intestinal and stomach.

    So, may I use the above precautions for the baby?

    • Melissa says:

      I am unfamiliar with children getting it and perhaps these recommendations might be too strong. I would consult with a naturopath familiar with children.

  • […] It also explains why many people land up with Leaky Gut Syndrome. […]

  • Sonja Luther says:

    Thanks for the article. Now, my question is: Can endometriosis, if untreated, actually make the leaky gut worse or keep it from healing. Because of celiac and Hashimoto’s, I’ve been on a very strict diet and haven’t had any gluten, dairy, any grains, and many other things in a very long time. Now, in November I found out that I most likely have endometriosis as well. I haven’t had surgery, yet, but will have the procedure this summer. I’ve been unable to heal my gut. Do you think or have you maybe read anywhere if untreated endo can keep your leaky gut from healing?

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Sonja,
      No, it wouldn’t be related but there is a huge percentage of women with Endometriosis who also suffer from Celiacs and Hashimoto’s. The Leaky Gut would cause you to lose vital minerals, your body needs to detoxify and heal, which could then be a potential trigger for Endometriosis. It is hard to say but I wouldn’t think that the Endometriosis would be causing the Leaky Gut. I would also look at eating much more fermented foods and really boosting the digestive flora in the gut to support it’s healing.

  • […] The problem lies in our bodies inability to break down the histamine, rather than the histamine itself. We need to heal the gut, rather than just avoiding the reaction. One of the ways that this can happen is if we have wounded our gut lining – common causes include eating gluten for many years. Read more about leaky gut here.  […]

  • Aurora says:

    Hey Melissa,
    I’ve found much comfort in reading your posts..
    At the same time, feeling quite perplexed as I search for a long term diet solution.
    I’ve research sooo much, and have discovered alot.
    Where Im confused is in combining an intensive diet protocol for healing the the leaky gut as well as the endo.
    Does one adress them at the same time or does one take priority?

    For instance. I was reading about the Gaps diet for leaky gut, and boy is it strict.
    Bone broth everyday..for a long time. Then other sources say when you have endo you shouldn’t eat red meat. Does this include broth?
    Questions like this are challenging for me when trying to create a healing regiment that will work.
    Any advice appreciated.

    Many thanks

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Aurora and welcome to my site. I am happy I am able to give you some hope 🙂
      I think the key to ask is rather than trying to tackle each individual issue that is going on with your health, perhaps work out what might an underlying cause and solution.
      I have found for many women with endometriosis that leaky gut is quite common. I would therefore recommend eliminating gluten and dairy as a priority. Meat can be okay for many women, particularly if they are on low fat diets – which are not ideal with Endometriosis. It needs to be organic, grass fed or natural diet fed meats, rather than factory farmed meats.
      Bone broth is great for both your gut and for Endometriosis and can’t imagine it would cause you too many issues with Endometriosis.
      The main reason women experience pain with meat is because cows are typically fed grains, particularly in the USA. Too many grains in our diet cause an imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3. This creates more inflammation. If you eat good quality meat, you won’t have this issue and can easily eat meat without any problems.
      I cover a HUGE amount of detail and answer many more questions on diet and health in my program: http://www.reachbeyondendo.com
      You should have a look cos it will answer so many questions in one place! 🙂

  • Pam says:

    I just found this article and I am very intrigued. As an endo sufferer since adolescence (I had my first laproscopic surgery at age 19), I have been constantly taking ibprofen. I’ve had lupron injections to be in pseudo-menopause and I tried many different birth control pills, up until I had a blood clot-ugh. After my cycle came back from having my third baby, my cycles were so heavy that I was miserable so the nurse told me to take 800mgs every 6 hours every day of my cycle. Yikes! I didn’t think that was a great idea. Anyway, I gave up gluten and dairy a little over 1 month ago. It was suggested that I give up dairy for my 7month old who was having some trouble nursing and gaining weight. I decided to give up gluten at the same time because someone suggested my migraines would get better and my acid reflux too. Anyway, I’m starting to get nervous about my cycle coming back and I suddenly became curious if endo was related to gluten.

    I feel like you described me to a T- taking too much ibprofen, struggling with weight gain, craving sugar all the time, heavy cycles, hormones out of wack (trouble getting pregnant), pain, etc.

    I’ve been gluten and dairy free for a little over a month as I mentioned. For the most part I am feeling better than I was, but I occasionally get some weird digestive pain. I’m hopeful that my body is still working things out. I’ve added Chia seeds to my diet and kombucha. Anything else you’d recommend? How will hormonal birth control affect things (I’m considering progesterone Mirena) should I make a decision to go back on something?

    I’m hoping there is hope for me!

  • Kelly Lopez says:

    I was diagnosed with leaky gut by my naturopath in 2015. She put me on a strict diet with lots of supplements. In my initial blood work my inflammation was out the roof. After a year of cutting out inflammatory foods my blood work was almost back to normal. Oddly enough one of the initial symptoms that took me to her was that every few months out of the blue, I would double over in pain with nausea and sweats and just a general feeling of being very sick. I even went to the ER once. My NP attributed it to my leaky gut. Fast forward to now… I had one of those double over in pain episodes again last night. It started with me getting my hair bleached which caused initial rashes to appear. Then the pain and nausea came. I thought wow now I am allergic to bleach and it’s causing this insane reaction. I came home and laid down.. almost went to the ER but decided to ride it out. Then I started my period which was already 28 days late. I am 49 so thinking I’m perimenopause. Anyways.. I started to think about all the symptoms that led up to me starting my period and researched online and the first thing that came up was endometriosis. I read about the symptoms and realized that I had had many of them for my entire life never even considering that I had Endo. My mom also had it and apparently there is a genetic connection. So now a lot of things are starting to make sense and I’m wondering what to do next? I think first and foremost I need to get back to my anti-inflammatory diet. I haven’t been very good about that lately which is maybe why this got triggered. I’m thinking acupuncture and herbs but wondered if anyone has any insight to this?

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Kelly,
      Big hugs sweetheart for the pain you were going through. I hope it has eased somewhat now. It certainly sounds like it could be endo sweetheart and yes an anti-inflammatory diet would be a good place to start. You should also focus on liver health and gut health.

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