SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
OK that is what SIBO is, but how do I know I have it and what can I do about it?
Signs you have it – you’ve been diagnosed with IBS/IBD Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome/Disease. This is a label that is given to most people who have the following symptoms: constipation and/or diarrhea; very low energy (fatigue); rash or itchy skin (i.e. rosacea); gas, bloating, stomach pain; wake up with flat stomach and look 6 months pregnant later in the day; food intolerances (gluten, casein, lactose, fructose, and histamine intolerance); chronic illnesses like diabetes, neuromuscular disorders, autoimmune diseases (RA, Hashimoto’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, fibromyalgia); vitamin and mineral deficiencies (A, B12, D and E); fat malabsorption; and leaky gut (intestinal permeability).
What causes it? One major contributor is diet – too much sugar, carbohydrates, and alcohol, but also the wrong types of probiotics can contribute here as well – specifically Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (which most probiotics contain) when taken can exacerbate your symptoms with more gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea or other digestive symptoms. Age is another cause of SIBO because as you age your digestive system doesn’t work quite the same and sometimes slows down the digestive process leaving you vulnerable to a bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract.
Before trying to do anything about it, you should have a breath test to determine if you are Hydrogen dominant or Methane dominant. It is a test that is a bit long, but non-invasive and is how you will know if you have SIBO or not.
What to do about it? Firstly, you have to starve the overgrown bacteria in your system. You will have to remove the foods that are feeding the bacteria such as sugar, alcohol, and carbohydrates (bread, cookies, cake, cocktails, whole grains, and legumes). But you can eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, leafy greens, lean proteins, healthy fats, but limited fruit.
Next you need to attack the bacteria with a regime of antibiotics depending on which type of gas is more dominant in your system (hydrogen or methane). Another way to fight or eliminate the bacteria is through natural methods like using natural antibiotics and anti-microbials such as wild garlic, berberine, and oregano oil, especially if you have problems taking prescription antibiotics. Unfortunately, when taking prescription antibiotics, they don’t just kill off the troublesome bacteria, but they also kill off the good bacteria, which is difficult to replace. When using natural antibiotic remedies, they don’t kill off the good bacteria!
Lastly, you need to restore the bacteria in your intestinal tract to help with optimal digestion and to help support your immune system. But you have to be particularly careful about which bacteria to restore as some will just add fuel to the fire and make things worse or reignite the fire!
So what type of probiotics should you take? There are ones called Soil-Based Probiotics (or Dirt Based) that are the best ones for SIBO. A couple that are on the market are Primal Earth Probiotic, or SBO Probiotic that contain about 50 billion CFU’s per serving to help support a healthy immune system, healthy digestion and more. Also, soil-based probiotics do not require refrigeration. You can check them out on Amazon or go to your local health food store.
If you or someone you know is suffering from ANY digestive issues, it’s important to get some help as soon as possible, as it can lead to many problems down the road. I wish I had known a long time ago about this, as I might not be facing the issues I am today as a result. Of course, all of this information is now so readily available, where it wasn’t before, so knowing now is better than not knowing at all! At least there are things that can be done to help.
The information I have provided here is a very short brief on the subject of SIBO, so I recommend if you have an issue that you talk to your health care team to get the help you need.
Have a fantastic day and week ahead.