Leaky gut syndrome is an unofficial term used to describe a collection of symptoms that center on damage in the lining of the large intestine. This damage gives undigested food particles and toxins access to the bloodstream by producing minute gaps in the intestinal wall. There is controversy regarding some of the purported effects of leaky gut syndrome. However, most doctors believe that unusual permeability in the large intestine can cause real health problems. People who abuse alcohol may experience significant changes in their intestinal function. These changes can potentially support the onset of leaky gut syndrome or worsen its effects once it appears. If you’re wondering about the effects of alcohol abuse and leaky gut syndrome, The Ranch TN can help. Call 1.844.876.7680 to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment center and other treatment options available.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Basics
In medical terms, syndromes are different than diseases. Diseases feature specific collections of symptoms that have unique, distinguishable underlying causes. On the other hand, syndromes feature symptoms that happen to appear at the same time and have a number of potential known or unknown underlying causes. The symptoms associated with the presence of leaky gut syndrome include:
- Excessive flatulence
- Unexplained fatigue or fever
- Ongoing or recurrent abdominal pain
- Recurrent bladder infections and hemorrhoids
- Food allergies
It can also lead to psychological problems such as memory impairment and depression.
Why Does Leaky Gut Syndrome Happen?
Normally, the bowel wall is sealed tight with the help of cell structures called desmosomes, which overlap the cells in the wall and stop them from tearing. Under certain circumstances, irritation or damage in the desmosomes can loosen their grip on the bowel wall and lead to the formation of tiny gaps that make the wall abnormally porous or permeable. The development of leaky gut syndrome begins when materials pass through these gaps and enter the bloodstream. Since these materials don’t belong in the bloodstream, immune system cells identify them as invaders and attack them. In turn, this immune response can produce increased levels of inflammation that further damage the bowel wall.
Alcohol’s Effects on Your Intestines
Alcohol consumption damages normal function in the intestinal tract in one of two ways. First, the presence of alcohol appears to reduce the level of activity in key substances in the body called prostaglandins. Among their many functions, these substances help the body control the amount of inflammation that occurs at the site of any injury. Alcohol-related suppression of prostaglandins essentially allows inflammation to increase in an uncontrolled manner.
The effects of any single drinking session will produce only a temporary suppressing effect on prostaglandin levels. However, the type of habitual, heavy drinking commonly associated with alcohol abuse can produce ongoing prostaglandin suppression that contributes significantly to inflammation in the large intestine and other areas of the body. In turn, this inflammation can trigger or support the development of leaky gut syndrome.
Heavy alcohol consumption also damages the body’s ability to pull nutrients from food and digest them in the small intestine, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Ways in which this damage occurs include a reduction in the output of substances called enzymes. Enzymes are necessary for the digestion of certain types of nutrients. It also impairs the cells in the small intestine responsible for absorbing nutrients into the bloodstream, creating nutritional deficiencies that further disrupt the absorption of important nutrients. In people with preexisting cases of leaky gut syndrome, nutritional deficiencies and lack of effective nutrient processing can worsen the syndrome’s symptoms.
More Women Suffer from the Combination of Alcohol Abuse and Leaky Gut Syndrome
Women who abuse alcohol may develop more leaky gut-related problems than men. Part of this disparity stems from the fact that, compared to men, women have relatively small amounts of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme is necessary for the breakdown and elimination of alcohol. This means that alcohol tends to stay in women’s bodies longer.
In addition, women also have a reduced ability to process alcohol effectively during certain portions of the menstrual cycle. Leaky gut syndrome may play a role in the onset or worsening of recognized gastrointestinal ailments such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
Some alternative medical practitioners make unsubstantiated claims about the syndrome’s role in illnesses such as autism and multiple sclerosis. Since leaky gut syndrome is not a distinct, recognized medical disorder, physicians don’t diagnose the condition in their patients. Instead, they usually consider its symptoms in a larger medical context as they work toward the diagnosis of a recognized disorder.
Can You Find Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Leaky Bowel Symptom?
The first step in finding treatment for any alcohol-related disorder is to achieve sobriety. This requires complete abstinence from all forms of alcohol. You may need help in quitting drinking, but with the right support and treatment, many people can successfully achieve sobriety. It is often best to go through the process with the help of an alcohol detox program. These programs can provide you with the care and support you need to get through withdrawal safely and comfortably.
After you gone through detox, it’s important to understand why you began using alcohol in the first place and how to stay sober going into the future. Through a range of addiction therapy programs, it is possible to attain these goals. Therapies that may support long-term recovery include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Individual counseling
- Group support and therapy
- Nutritional therapy
If you are struggling with the combination of alcohol abuse and leaky gut syndrome, seek support at The Ranch TN.
Find Treatment at The Ranch TN –
With a dedicated team of experienced addiction specialists, The Ranch TN can help you break free from alcohol abuse and the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. To learn more about our services, call The Ranch TN today at 1.844.876.7680.