When you have a leaky gut, your body doesn’t absorb nutrients in the way it should. It also triggers more inflammation through your body as harmful particles escape into your blood.

Leaky gut is a common intestinal issue that results from poor diet, stress, food allergies, and it now seems that certain medications can cause leaky gut too. Knowing what the causes are will help you avoid this unfortunate gut condition.

A Closer Look at the Leaky Gut

The lining of your gut is a semi-permeable wall that has gaps known as tight junctions that allow nutrients to pass. This is how we absorb our food or at least the beneficial compounds in the food we eat.

Certain factors such as food allergies poor diet, excessive stress, infections, and inflammatory foods can cause this lining to become damaged. Specifically, the tight junctions become loosened.

As a result, larger particles such as toxins and undigested food are able to pass through into your bloodstream. In other words, your gut is leaking. Once they start traveling through your body, your immune system targets them as foreign and attacks.

General digestive problems

With the continued leaking and chronic inflammatory response, your overall health becomes at risk. Beyond digestive issues like bloating, chronic fatigue, infections, and mood changes, you could also develop an autoimmune condition.

Common symptoms to look for to help you identify a leaky gut include:

♦ Chronic fatigue that does not improve with rest
Poor immune system function

♦ Nutritional deficiencies

♦ Headaches, brain fog, and even memory loss

♦ Cravings for carbohydrates and sugar

♦ Arthritis and joint pains

♦ Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating

♦ Depression and/or anxiety

♦ Autoimmune conditions such as lupus, celiac disease, or rheumatoid arthritis

When Medications Cause Your Leaky Gut

The common causes of leaky gut are poor diet, excessive stress levels, and food allergies. The causes of leaky gut that are related to diet or lifestyle choices can be corrected, so your gut can heal. Sometimes these are not the cause and medications you have been taking to help other health issues, could be responsible for the leaks.

Gut and brain connection

1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are great for fighting infections, but they can have some negative impacts too. Not only do they deplete your natural and beneficial gut bacteria, but they contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

When the good bacteria in your gut become depleted, harmful strains can grow and spread. This causes a condition known as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or candida overgrowth. The result is chronic gut inflammation and damage to the gut wall, which leads to leaky gut.

If you do get an infection that requires antibiotics, be sure to take high-quality, multi-strain probiotics along with it. This will keep the balance in your gut healthy and protect it from gut wall damage.


Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, are commonly taken to reduce fevers and pain. However, when used frequently for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, they are responsible for thousands of gastrointestinal complications and hospital admissions.

NSAIDs have been found to disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome, a condition known as dysbiosis. Despite being safe in small doses, larger doses (which are common with inflammatory conditions) can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, inflammation, and leaky gut.

Alternatives to NSAIDS include turmeric (or curcumin) and omega-3 fatty acid supplements, as both possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Even better, both are natural and do not interfere with your gut bacteria or damage your gut lining.

3. Steroids

Corticosteroids are often used in autoimmune conditions to suppress immune system function. But the suppression of the immune system causes leaky gut, which in turn leads to and contributes to autoimmunity. This means that while steroids are prescribed to help with autoimmunity, they are in fact making the condition worse.

Rather than using these drugs to suppress your immune system, work instead to support it. Depending on the root cause of your autoimmunity, you can address it successfully and naturally support your immune system. This will give your gut a break and allow it to heal, which will further help you reduce autoimmune related symptoms.

4. Acid Reduction Medications

Heartburn and acid reflux are the most common digestive issues in this country, mostly as a result of the western diet. As a result, antacids and other acid-reducing medications are commonly prescribed and used. These drugs work to reduce acid production, but this allows for a certain bacteria, C. difficile, to thrive.

C. difficile infections cause colon swelling, life-threatening intestinal bleeding, and leaky gut. While acid reflux is uncomfortable and can cause other issues, you need to weight the benefits against these cons.

Controlling acid reflux can be done with diet changes and reducing stress. This will control acid reflux and will save your gut from being seriously damaged or leaky.

5. Birth Control

With so many women relying on oral contraceptives, it’s important to know that these can also cause a leaky gut. By increasing the levels of estrogen in your body, these pills increase the risk of a candida overgrowth. Once this yeast gets out of control and spreads, it can contribute to gut wall damage and a leaky gut.

Medicine bottle and capsules

More women taking birth control also report frequent gastrointestinal issues, which could be a result of the estrogen levels. Gastrointestinal issues can be associated with inflammation, which could damage the gut lining and also cause a leaky gut to develop.

The Bottom Line

Since many of these medications are commonly used today, it’s important to learn that they may be the underlying cause of your symptoms. The good news is leaky gut can be reversed, and your gut can heal before causing any serious disease or illness.

If you suspect that you have a leaky gut, make the necessary lifestyle and diet changes, and make sure you check the medicine cabinet too. If your meds are the culprit, you can speak with your doctor about alternatives so your gut can get back on the right track.