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Eczema causes issues for many children, affecting 1 in 5 infants. This itchy rash might not be a serious health concern in itself. But it can range from uncomfortable to unbearable for babies and young children.

There are many topical options for managing eczema, including steroid creams and herb-based creams. But these don’t address the underlying causes of eczema. The main causes of eczema are actually found inside the body – particularly the gut.

Watch the video below or keep reading to learn more about how gut health can affect eczema.

What is eczema?

Eczema causes a red and often itchy rash on the outer layer of the skin. There are different types of eczema, but the most common among children is atopic or allergic eczema.

Although eczema is a skin condition, it is much more than that. It is an external condition that is indicating an internal issue.

If you see your GP, they will likely offer a topical cortisone cream to relieve the symptoms. But because there are many contributing factors, modern medicine doesn’t have an answer other than using steroids to control the symptoms. This does nothing to address the underlying eczema causes and triggers.

What are some of the risk factors of eczema?

There are many risk factors for eczema. Some of the most common include:

  • A family history of allergies and atopic conditions – including allergies, asthma and hayfever
  • A personal history of allergies such as food allergies or hayfever
  • Colder climates
  • Living in an urban area with higher levels of pollution

Eczema is often the first condition of what is known as an allergy triad. Food allergies or environmental allergies and asthma often follow for those who suffer from eczema.

What these tell us is that there is a strong genetic link with eczema. But it also suggests that there is an underlying issue to address – the immune system overreacting.

How issues with gut health can cause eczema

There are some important gut-related risk factors and contributing factors when it comes to eczema.

Eczema and dysbiosis

Put simply, dysbiosis is an imbalance in the gut bacteria. This can lead to inflammation throughout the body, including the skin.

What causes this imbalance? There are many factors involved, but some of the most common include:

  • A low-fibre diet
  • A highly processed diet
  • Use of medications such as antibiotics
  • Use of antibacterial products such as hand sanitisers

As you can see, many of these are common for children!

Although the field of research is relatively new still, science supports the link between dysbiosis and eczema. Research has found that people with eczema have a different balance of gut bacteria compared to those without eczema.

There is even evidence to suggest that using specific strains of probiotics can alleviate eczema. The researchers believe that these good bacteria can reduce inflammation that is caused by an allergic response.

If dysbiosis is one of the contributing factors to your child’s eczema, you need to treat it from the inside out. Creams can still be part of the treatment by managing the symptoms, but addressing gut health is key.

Eczema and leaky gut

Leaky gut is not a term that is recognised in mainstream medicine. But ‘leaky gut’ is another term for intestinal permeability, which has a lot of research to back it up!

So what is leaky gut? The gut is like a tube – food passes through it, and we only absorb what we need. But when damage occurs to this tube, holes can develop and allows undigested food into the bloodstream.

When undigested food is in the bloodstream, the immune system responds because it doesn’t recognise the food. It responds by causing inflammation. This can lead to intolerances because the body now sees that food as ‘the enemy’. This is what is known as leaky gut.

Because of the inflammatory and immune response, this can show up as skin inflammation and reaction to triggers such as environmental and food intolerances. Which can lead to – you guessed it – eczema symptoms. Research has shown that leaky gut occurs in children with atopic eczema.

Leaky gut is a common condition, thanks to our modern diet and lifestyle. When we don’t eat enough fibre from fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds, our good microbes in the gut can starve. This can allow bad bacteria to thrive and overgrow.

Without fibre as fuel, some microbes will eat the protective layer of the gut that keeps it healthy. Good microbes also produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut lining. So without a happy balance of bacteria, leaky gut can develop.

Healing the root causes of eczema

When treating eczema, there are other aspects to consider including topical treatments and removing dietary triggers. But although these can reduce symptoms and flares, they aren’t getting to the root cause. So if your goal is to heal eczema, looking to gut health is essential.

Why do we focus on gut health? It addresses three of the core eczema causes that topical treatment can’t help with. Eczema is not just a skin disorder – it’s an inflammatory, immune and gut health issue.

Healing and nourishing the gut can:

  1. Help to reduce inflammation levels in the body
  2. Correct gut contributors such as dysbiosis and leaky gut
  3. Regulate the immune system

 

Want to address your child’s fussy eating by improving their gut health?

Learn how to do just that with our FREE Gut Health For Kids Ebook – download your copy here.