Skip to Main Content

Traumatic Brain Injury Can Trigger Intestinal Changes

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain hits the skull. It may occur while playing sports, after a fall, getting struck by an object or as a result of a car accident. The effects can range from mild to severe.

When you think of the effects of a (TBI), you may imagine headaches, neck pain, confusion and memory loss. The brain, however, controls the entire body, so after suffering from a TBI, you could experience a variety of medical issues. One of these is intestinal changes.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine studied the effects of TBIs in mice and found that such an injury triggered long-term changes in the colon. Bacterial infections in the colon were more likely after a TBI. These infections then caused inflammation and tissue loss in the brain, creating a two-way interaction. Therefore, a TBI patient could suffer a constant cycle of gut dysfunction, brain inflammation and a loss of tissue. A patient could also suffer continued infections, worsening the brain damage.

Why Does a TBI Affect the Gut?

Brain trauma negatively impacts the gastrointestinal tract. This occurs because damage to the brain makes the colon more porous. Bacteria from the intestine is able to pass right through it, causing infections. In fact, deaths from blood poisoning and digestive issues are common after a TBI. Those with a TBI are 12 times more likely to die from such a condition. They are also more than twice as likely to die from a digestive tract issue.

It is not known exactly how or why a TBI could cause these changes in the gut. However, it’s worth noting that enteric glial cells (EGCs), which exist in the gut, are similar to brain astroglial cells. Both of these cells become activated after a TBI occurs. This activation leads to brain inflammation, which contributes to brain tissue damage.

Other Symptoms of TBI

The long-term effects of a TBI are more far-reaching than gut dysfunction. You may also experience frequent headaches, vision problems, confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, loss of consciousness and fatigue. You may also experience personality changes such as moodiness and irritability. Some people experience extreme levels of stress and anxiety. Others experience emotional outbursts, negativity, impulsive behavior, poor judgment and lack of motivation. Some become egocentric and engage in risky behavior.

Many people have trouble sleeping and are sensitive to light and noise. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and taste and smell disorders.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

A TBI can bring about many changes to your body. You may experience medical issues even years down the road. If your TBI was caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s important to ensure you get the compensation for future medical expenses.

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, the team at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP is here to help. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will aggressively fight for your legal rights. Contact our team at (305) 371-2692 or visit us online.