If the gut flora is simplified simultaneously, as it often is, the person will develop hard stools like one would see on a Bristol Stool chart level one or two. This means that the fecal elimination time is increased and because of this the water based estrogens are reabsorbed and the levels in the body grow. This radically affects the progesterone to estradiol balance in women and in men it can be the cause of man boobs, decrease libido, premature ejaculation, lowered testosterone, a lowered vitamin D level, higher LDL cholesterol from alteration of the LDL receptor in the liver. (Ed. note: Constipation causes estrogen dominance!!)Sometimes the signaling can be so bad that it can produce enough estrogen from reabsorption of estrogen the is makes the cells think they enough estrogens, which signals the body to cease endogenous production. This can cause major hypothalamic signaling changes between the gut and brain that are commonly seen in binging, eating disorders, and infertility cases. When this happens abnormal signals are sent to the thyroid gland (CRH), making it think it has enough stopping the production of T3. This stops the normal hormone pathways from the conversion of LDL cholesterol to pregnenolone that we outlined in the Hormone 101 blog post.
This is why we can see dramatic changes in fecundity, in menstrual problems, fibroid production, excessive bleeding, excessive cramping and bloating and in serious hypothyroid situations where reverse T3 is through the roof on labs. Obesity, infertility, hypothyroidism and eating disorders are merely ‘train stops’ before the ultimate stop…….Cancer. (Ed. Note: Requiescat in pace, my dear Debbie L.)
Short-term memory loss that we kid about is actually minor brain damage. There are biologic consequences to all our decisions. In a surgical or a clinical situation when someone has this “slight brain damage” any new stressor pushes them over the edge. Think of getting a test done under a general anesthetic like an MRI or an ankle fracture set with ketamine. This stress can cause you to decompensate neurologically. Some of my patients have much bigger risks for post anesthetic issues than others. Those with significant alterations in their gut flora carry the highest risks in my view, as a neurosurgeon. I do things peri-operatively different in them than those who do not exhibit these symptoms. Delirium under the stress of life or an ICU become more common things these days because altered gut flora are now the primordial condition of our species in the western world.