When Stress Takes a Physical Toll

When I received my degree in Communication at Westminster, I never imagined just how much I would apply it to my personal life. But in the year since I’ve graduated (wow, it’s really been that long?!?!) the skills and theories I’ve learned in my degree have changed my life.

Growing up, whether intentional or otherwise, I was shown that the feelings of others were crucial. I also inadvertently ended up thinking that the feelings of other superseded mine, and sacrificed my needs for the needs of others.

Talk about a major source of stress!

After going to multiple doctors, I have finally found one that gave me an answer that made sense:  Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS).

LGS has been linked to food allergies, thyroid condition, bloating, fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, adrenal malfunction, food sensitivities, low energy, joint pain, depression, anxiety, autoimmune conditions and slow metabolism. Which pretty much sums up all of my health challenges.

LGS is a complicated issue.  In a normal gut, there are tiny, microscopic holes that allow  needed nutrients to get in and go to the relevant parts of the body. With leaky gut, those holes get larger, much larger than they are supposed to ever be. Depending on how large those holes get, it can be a minor inconvenience, causing headaches and body aches, or it can be as bad as an autoimmune disorder.

progression

Here’s a visual of what these holes can look like, and how they cause damage to the rest of the body.

That’s where it is for me right now. My body is attacking healthy and unhealthy tissue alike. That’s why some days, I’m fine, and other days I’m really not.

The four main causes of leaky gut are:
Poor Diet
Chronic Stress
Toxin Overload
Bacterial Imbalance

Specific triggering foods include things like GMO foods, cow’s milk, gluten, and sugar.

Bacterial imbalance occurs when good bacteria gets replaced by bad bacteria. In another part of the body, this bacteria could be helpful, but it doesn’t belong in the small intestine.

Good bacteria helps with all sorts of processes we need in order to be healthy. Things like digesting food, preventing infection and regulating our immune system. So when these bacteria get replaced, those processes can stop working.

Foreign bacteria overstimulates the immune system, which often causes chronic inflammation and can lead to a number of autoimmune diseases. Common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include things you would expect, like gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. But the list also includes things you might pass of as just not getting enough sleep, such as mental fog and fatigue.

 

LGS often includes increased intestinal permeability. Basically, this is when your intestinal wall is damaged and could become leaky. This can lead to food going into parts of the body it was never meant to be in. The immune system then sees this misplaced food as a foreign material and gears up for battle.

But when this is constantly happening, your immune system goes into overdrive. Because of this constant stimulation, your immune system is weak and can’t work to keep out the actual intruders. This is when LGS becomes an autoimmune condition.

 

That is exactly why my pain and symptoms have increased lately. I have been so stressed out and I have not been doing much about actually treating it.

And that is something that I need to stop. I am taking actions to treat this condition. I have a doctor that knows what he’s doing and is very good at explaining what’s going on in my body. Now that I know what the issue is, I can take steps to treat it and hopefully get back to the healthy life I long for.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s