Leaky gut syndrome (LGS), which is also commonly known as intestinal permeability, is a chronic illness that causes digestive issues, food intolerances, and generalized pain and discomfort. The condition is somewhat controversial, as many physicians believe it to be a symptom of other ailments rather than a disease onto itself. It is quite commonly seen as a concurrent illness in patients who also suffer from other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome, among others.
While qualifying for disability benefits on a diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome alone can be difficult, as there is no dedicated disability listing with the Social Security Administration (SSA) for this condition, it is still possible to be found eligible for benefits, particularly if your LGS occurs in conjunction with another listed condition, or if your illness so severely affects your functional capacity that it prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Symptoms and Treatments
LGS is an intestinal ailment that allows toxins in the intestines, which should actually be excreted from the body, to leak through the intestinal walls and into the blood stream. This process results in a wide range of symptoms that include, but are not limited to:
- Bloating and gas
- Diarrhea and intestinal cramping
- Fatigue and low grade fevers
- Widespread aches and pains
- Food intolerances and allergies
The exact cause of LGS is unknown, which makes it a rather difficult condition to successfully treat. As there is no cure for the ailment, and as many patients respond differently to available prescription and other remedies, the most common treatments prescribed are designed to lessen the symptoms of the illness rather than eliminate them entirely. These treatments often include:
- Stress reduction and management programs
- Personalized dietary adjustments and nutritional maintenance programs
- Other lifestyle modifications as necessary, and as determined on a case by case basis
As there are few conventional or mainstream medical treatments for the condition, many patients and their physicians attempt to control symptoms through the strict dietary plans, like gluten, casein, sugar, and yeast-free diets. Many also prescribe the use of dietary supplements, including probiotics, B complex vitamins, and nystatin, among others.
Applying for SSD with Leaky Gut Syndrome
There is no listing for Leaky Gut Syndrome with the SSA, nor is there any widely accepted diagnostic method for formally substantiating the existence of the condition. These facts alone make getting disability benefits with a diagnosis of LGS alone difficult.
There are often connections between LGS and other more widely recognized and accepted medical conditions. Filing a disability claim based on a concurrent condition can increase your chances of being approved for benefits.
A few of the medical conditions that are listed with the SSA, and which may apply to your LGS disability claim include:
- Section 5.06 – Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Section 11.09 – Multiple Sclerosis
- Section 14.02 – Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Section 14.09 – Inflammatory arthritis(such as RA or PA)
Even if your symptoms don’t precisely meet the listing for a condition with the SSA, if they are equal in severity and similar enough to those seen with another listed condition, you may qualify for disability benefits by matching another condition’s listing.
If however, your symptoms do not match any other listed condition, you may still qualify for SSD, provided your functional capacity is severely impaired by your LGS. To determine this, the SSA will review your residual functional capacity (RFC), or your ability to perform everyday activities, including typical job functions. If your RFC shows you are so limited by your condition that you are unable to maintain gainful employment, you will be approved for benefits.
Getting Help with Your Leaky Gut Syndrome Disability Claim
Qualifying for disability can be difficult with any diagnosis, but is especially challenging with a diagnosis like leaky gut syndrome. It is advisable to seek assistance from a Social Security Disability advocate or attorney when filing your claim and even more important to consider doing so if your claim is initially denied and the filing of appeals is required.