Leaky gut syndrome is a diagnosis that appears most typically in alternative medicine; as a general rule, most conventional medical practitioners reject the idea. According to alternative health practitioners, this problem occurs when the lining of the intestines is weakened to the point that their contents can leak out and enter the blood stream, causing a variety of health problems, from allergies to migraines. Other practitioners believe that these health problems are more likely attributable to other conditions.
This condition can allegedly be caused by a variety of things. Chronic food allergies, for example, have been documented to damage the lining of the intestines, and some conditions like Crohn's disease and irritable bowel disease can also cause problems. Alternative health practitioners also believe that the condition can be caused by parasitic or fungal infection, especially when it is prolonged, resulting in irritation and inflammation in the gut and stomach. It may also strike the stomach alone, causing leaky stomach syndrome.
According to the theory, when materials that belong in the intestines leak out in the bloodstream, they cause health problems. This is certainly true in the case of extreme conditions like peritonitis, which is caused by widespread infection in the body cavity that can be the result of bowel perforations. In the case of leaky gut syndrome, bacteria, fungi, and other invaders can sweep out into the bloodstream, causing an auto-immune reaction as the body attempts to fight these organisms.
Allergies are often pointed to as a cause for leaky gut syndrome, with some practitioners believing that the condition is a precursor to more chronic stomach conditions. Some also suspect that it can be caused by exposure to toxins, which would in turn cause the toxins to leak into the bloodstream. Bad dietary choices may also be responsible, in the eyes of some practitioners, as the intestinal lining can be irritated by chronic poor nutrition.
Because many conventional practitioners are skeptical about this diagnosis, some alternative practitioners prefer to refer to it as “increased intestinal permeability.” Treatments usually focus on improving the diet, hopefully identifying allergens and sources of toxins in the process, and many practitioners also recommend the use of probiotic supplements to increase the population of beneficial organisms in the gut.
In some cases, conditions attributed to leaky gut syndrome can benefit from more conventional approaches, especially in the case of systemic infections. These infections can cause serious damage in a very short period of time, so anyone who is seriously ill should seek medical attention promptly.