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The Restless Leg Syndrome, SIBO, Celiac Connection

Celiac.com 09/03/2009 - Every night thousands of people lose sleep because of a gnawing, tingling urge to move their legs, disturbing their sleep and are often causing chronic pain. These people wake feeling unrested, with aching muscles.

In addition to lost sleep and discomfort, these people often suffer chronic pain. Often, these symptoms baffle both patients and primary care doctors. Little do these people and their doctors know that the pain and restlessness is due to Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and is likely caused by a problem with the digestive tract.

RLS affects 7% to 15% of the population, especially older adults and pregnant women. RLS symptoms can have a major impact on quality of life, and the syndrome often stymies the medical community. In recent years a number of drugs have been introduced to help the symptoms of RLS, but until now the cause has remained unknown.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition where abnormally large numbers of bacteria exist in the small intestine. Symptoms often include diarrhea, bloating, excess gas and abdominal pain. SIBO has strong ties to IBS, diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.

St. Louis-based Gastroenterologist Dr. Leonard Weinstock has led research that has recently established a link between RLS and SIBO. Dr. Weinstock's clinical trials have shown that treating SIBO often sends the RLS into remission.

“When a patient was diagnosed with SIBO, given a course of treatment that included rifaximin, an antibiotic that is not absorbed by the bloodstream, we found that the patient showed quick, dramatic and continuing relief of RLS symptoms,” explains Weinstock.

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This discovery promises a new lease on life for many RLS sufferers. Weinstock discovered the association while treating a patient for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) who also suffered from RLS. Treatment of the IBS, also seemed to send the patient’s RLS into remission. This discovery led to a number of trials, all of which produced the same overall result.

“While many new drugs help treat the symptoms of RLS. This research shows us the cause of the disease and in turn allows us to treat the RLS rather than just helping the symptoms,” says Weinstock.

Based on a standard RLS severity scale, all Weinstock’s patients have shown substantial improvement. In the most recent trial, severity scores for 9 of 14 patients dropped an average of 65% after one course of antibiotics. After an initial lack of response, two patients received a second round of antibiotics and no longer had any symptoms. A third patient was cured after discovering that she had celiac disease and beginning on a gluten-free diet.

The link between non-responsive celiac disease and SIBO has also been documented. The fact that such a link exists between SIBO and RLS, and other conditions such as celiac disease, IBS and Crohn’s disease clearly warrants further study, and should give anyone suffering from RLS some information to share with their clinician in approaching the issue.

Source:

http://www.pitchengine.com/specialistsingastroenterologyadvancedendoscopycenter/sending-restless-legs-syndrome-rls-into-remission/21146/

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5 Responses:

 
Javier BaRa
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said this on
09 Sep 2009 9:28:42 AM PDT
I just KNEW there had to be a link between gut/gluten problems & RLS. Wish you had a link for Dr. Leonard Weinstock, tho' I can Google his site. Needless to say, there are other natural ways to properly restore flora balance. As he's using antibiotics, leads me to think that there's a problem with H-pylori as well.

 
Kerstin RIos
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said this on
09 Sep 2009 1:19:09 PM PDT
I was recently diagnosed with ulcers in my small bowel and which caused iron deficient anemia. Since taking iron pills I have not had RLS which was getting really, really bad.

 
Deborah Allen
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said this on
09 Sep 2009 9:16:08 PM PDT
I'd like to see more research on this and on the particular antibiotic rifaximin. No doc has ever prescribed that for me. I have had Rx for h-pylori (prevpak) and I can't say that I noticed any relief from rls at the times I have taken it.

 
Kit Kellison
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said this on
03 Jan 2010 1:24:18 PM PDT
I was in Dr. Weinstock's study and I agree that SIBO can be responsible for many problems associated with celiac, Crohn's and other autoimmune diseases which may create a spectrum of nervous system disorders.

What I dislike, however, is the lack of mention of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It's obvious that Xifaxim is only a temporary solution, and should at least be followed up by a strict Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Elimination of SIBO, for most people, just isn't going to happen without it.

 
Judy Gerardi
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said this on
02 Mar 2014 12:04:29 PM PDT
My son alerted me to this site and as I have had RLS all my life I never ever thought about diet, other than coffee, etc. I will look into this more and will try Probiotics.




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You may find these interesting, they're from Professor Marios Hadjivassiliou, a leading expert on gluten ataxia: http://www.acnr.co.uk/pdfs/volume2issue6/v2i6reviewart2.pdf Best of luck helping your daughter

Yep. The one that is most relevant I think is the post by Backtalk. Backtalk went back on gluten and have to a colostomy done on an emergency basis. Not fun. She regretted ignoring the gluten-free diet.

Welcome Lochella Hopefully you can draw some comfort from finally having an answer and thus starting the path to good health. Healing is going to come from your own body as you progress on the gluten free diet and it stops fighting itself and starts repairing that damage. You're still in the very early days and it's not an instant process sadly. 6 months is the usual figure bandied around for seeing significant improvement, although hopefully you'll get some signs of improvement much quicker than that. The single best thing you can do is to eat good simple whole foods and make sure absolutely no gluten gets into your diet. There's some tips here: With stomach pains peppermint tea is my go to drink. Avoiding caffeine seems to help as well as its rough on digestion at the best of times. This may be a time to ease up on alcohol as well and consider dropping dairy, many find they're lactose intolerant but this can correct itself in time. You will find lots of good info, advice and support here, I hope the community is of help to you as it was to me. Best of luck!

I recently got diagnosed with Celiac disease I must of had it my whole life. I'm 35 I've always had severe stomach problems, in and out of hospitals and misdiagnosed until now. My small intestine is severely damaged I'm now waiting to see a dietitian and my specialist wants to see me again in 2 weeks. How do some of you deal with the pain of the healing process and what helps you? I'm in so much pain?

I recently got diagnosed with Celiac disease I must of had it my whole life, in 35 I've always had severe stomach problems in and out of hospitals and misdiagnosed until now. My small intestine is severely damaged in now waiting to see a dietitian and my specialist wants to see me again in 2 weeks. How do some of you deal with the pain of the healing process and what helps you? I'm in so much pain?