May 26, 2022
I'm not sure I ever fully bounced back after my daughter was born 6 years ago. Part and parcel of becoming a mum is to experience long periods of tiredness, fatigue and perhaps even a little depression. For me, I ticked all those boxes and then some. Insomnia, yup had that. Yet I was so tired, so why couldn't I sleep? Digestive problems, bloating after everything, working out, but still not feeling amazing. Low libido, ongoing anxiety and depression, even with medication and therapy. Some days were fine. But I often asked myself, is this it? Is it meant to feel like this? Am I meant to feel like this...all the time?
Well, I got on with it. I accepted the bloaty tummy and thought, well I grew a human in there so it is what it is. I was on antidepressant medication, so I was doing all that I could to keep my mind in check, right? I smothered myself in lavender oil at night to help me sleep. My skin was clear-ish. Sure the odd spot or ten, that might last a few weeks, but probably just hormones eh. So, I figured I'm all good. I'm just tired, but hey that's life. Then, all of a sudden I'm getting rashes. The spots, the breakout on my face like I had never experienced in my teenage or early adulthood. Surely this can't just be my period causing this?
Some further investigation, on my own part I might add. Then a trip or two to the GP. During the pandemic it was pretty hard as we all know to get into see a doctor. So sending pictures of my skin was the method to determine what was going on. The diagnosis: "you have dry itchy skin. Try this thick greasy emollient, don't use too much because it is quite greasy".
I stared at the text message. I then proceeded to delete it and carry on about my day, with my red rashy, sore skin. And needless to say, I was determined to find the real, root cause of this problem.
I really embarked upon my journey to inner heath over 2 years ago, about the same time I launched my business. To many clients I will say Callan Cove is Kerrie-Anne. My own personal quest to finding greater inner health is my drive and passion for my clinic and my clients. Open-minded and curious to know more about the gut, my education with DMK Skin had been the platform for delving into a more holistic side to treating skin conditions. Whilst I have always been passionate and eager to learn about skin, little did I know I'd end up being one of my own case-studies!
In 2020 I first met with the beautiful Amanda Kearns, Nutritionist and founder of Inner Angel Health Clinic in Newry and my journey to inner health started to unfold. I underwent a series of colonic cleansing therapies, supported with balancing and restorative herbs. I also met with a kinesiologist Nuala O'Hare and experienced some alternative therapies - all very new to me, but I was intrigued. What's more, these insightful ladies were able to help pinpoint the triggers of my skin rashes and painful, persistent breakouts. My Gut. Of course, I already had a real understanding of the gut-brain-skin connection, with my own training and education, and I work with skin so it would be crazy if I didn't know, right? It was however fascinating and upsetting at the same time to know my gut was in dismay. It was the answer. But, having an answer doesn't always mean a quick fix is possible.
Stress was a big factor. It is a massive key player when it comes to any condition, disease or illness. Of course by stress I don't mean just a really busy week at work. Any time the body or mind is under an emotional or physical stress, regardless of how minor, the hormone cortisol is pumped into the bloodstream. This is very much needed by our human body in order to manage and respond appropriately. i.e. get ready for fight or flight. However, elevated levels of cortisol, over prolonged periods of time can catapult the body into chronic stress, causing all sorts of havoc, including a disruption to the endocrine system, the digestive system, the nervous system...do you see where I'm going with this? It's really not good. If the body is fatigued and not able to work optimally, that's when problems can arise, including disease, skin conditions, dips in mental clarity and mood, weight gain, diabetes, leaky gut, and irritable bowel to name a few.
With all that in mind and accepting that I probably was in stress mode for a few years, I could piece together that my skin issues would only be resolved if my gut was allowed to heal. Healthy eating is important, and I thought I was doing ok with that. I went through period of cutting out treats, I confess to have a very sweet tooth. But, a blood test confirmed I was allergic to an endless list of foods, including yeast, gluten, wheat, eggs, tomatoes, nuts, dairy....what could I eat? I remember standing in the supermarket frantically reading the ingredients on every packet and couldn't find anything that didn't have any of those no-no foods. I burst out crying. Yes, I stood there in the middle of the shop sobbing to myself because I felt so overwhelmed. I used to be able to eat anything and I was fine. What happened? Well, my body finally stood up for itself and said "I've had enough of that crap. I can't cope anymore".
So, that was that. No more sugar. Lets get real.
Fast forward 18 months, I had been living on dairy-gluten-sugar free everything, cardboard really. I lost a bit of weight. My skin had moments of being clearer. Ok, so I was on the mend. Then, it all went belly-up again. Oh no, what now?! I reached out to the Founder of Present Health - Sinead Moore, Naturopath and Herbalist and we investigated a bit further and finally got a diagnosis. I have Leaky Gut Syndrome. I also have helicobacter pylori - a bacteria which lives in the sticky mucus that lines the stomach. Having investigated my timeline of life, it is thought I may have picked up this stomach infection during my travels through Asia back over 15 years ago, when I did in fact fall ill, but back then I wasn't so clued into probiotics and the need to really support my gut!
A condition that is not typically diagnosed, but could be affecting the health of many people. It refers to 'intestinal permeability'. It is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products ad bacteria to 'leak' through the intestines and into the bloodstream. When foreign substances enter the blood this can cause an autoimmune response in the body, such as inflammatory and allergic reactions, migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, rashes, fatigue, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
Further more, with a leaky gut, the cells that are damaged in the intestines are unable to produce the enzymes needed to digest food properly. This results then in malabsorption. Your body is not able to uptake the essential nutrients and this in turn can lead to imbalance in the hormones and a weakened or compromised immune system.
WHAT CAUSES LEAKY GUT?
For the most part, your diet. There are certain trigger foods for people, such as gluten, sugar and dairy. The body can see these as foreign invaders and so when they are consumed, the body responds, to fight back. Hence, the rashes, the tiredness, the diarrhoea, the constipation. It may also be brought on by long-term medications and antibiotic use, which can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucous layers.
10 SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE LEAKY GUT
HOW TO HEAL LEAKY GUT
Again, your diet! Reducing or eliminating triggers foods as advised by your health care provider or nutritionist will be key in addressing this gut problem. For me personally, keeping gluten and sugar out of my diet as much as possible is what works. Being healthy isn't always easy, because for many of us we feel there are a lot of sacrifices. However, the feeling of feeling good, energised and happy is worth not eating that heavy loaded brownie! It's all good having those treats now and then, but being aware and in tune with how it makes your body feel and the true impact upon your health.
I should also add my healing journey is not over. In fact it is very much still ongoing, with skin eruptions still occurring, albeit not just as violently. I support my gut with restorative and balancing tonics based on traditional Chinese Herbal practices. I've had my fair share of medicines and antibiotics, so these days I'm keen to explore alternative and more holistic approaches when it comes to my health, and I have to say I am feeling so much better because of it!
As always, for any health concern reach out to your treating practitioner or GP. This has been my experience, but as we know, everyone is different and you need to choose the right path for you. My biggest advice is to delve into learning about what YOUR body needs and live a life of balance. Sending you healthy gut wishes!
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