Living with SIBO | Gut Health

As far I can remember, I’ve always had trouble going to the bathroom. Yup… we’re jumping right into all of the dirty deets! LOL

As I got older, things got worse.

I not only had issues going to the bathroom, but I experienced constant bloating, cramping, nausea, chronic constipation, and pain.

I went to Doctor after Doctor, and they would diagnose me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and quickly move on to the next patient.

IBS is a symptom not a cause.

If you have IBS, you most likely have Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO). However, most Doctors are still not educated on what SIBO is. So, if you have been diagnosed with IBS, go to a new Doctor and ask for a breath test so you can be tested for SIBO.

If you don’t treat SIBO, it can get worse and your health can get worse.

So, what is Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)?

Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth: SIBO occurs when the bacteria in our gut get out of balance and overgrow.

 This can manifest in several different ways, and often occurs in those eating a diet high in sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates. Certain strains of bacteria feed off of refined carbohydrates and break them down into short-chain fatty acids, creating gas and causing bloating.

Another strain of bacteria can break down bile salts before your body has a chance to use them. Bile salts are crucial for the breakdown of fats; without them, the end result is fat malabsorption or diarrhea.

Finally, a third type of bacteria can produce toxins that damage the lining of the small intestine. This prevents your body from absorbing the nutrients you need, much like what we see with a leaky gut. (Mind Body Green)

10 signs of SIBO

  1. Gas
  2. Bloating
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Abdominal pain or cramping
  5. Constipation (much less common than diarrhea)
  6. Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease
  7. Food intolerances such as gluten, casein, lactose, fructose and more
  8. Chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, neuromuscular disorders and autoimmune diseases.
  9. B12 deficiency as well as other vitamins and minerals
  10. Fat malabsorption

My Treatment:

I first started treating my SIBO with an antibiotics prescribed by my Gastroenterologist. The process was tough. The die-off symptoms really got the best of me. I felt extremely tired, sluggish and nauseous.

After the treatment, I felt the same. My Doctor was hard to reach and wouldn’t consider re-testing me.

So my girlfriend who is struggling with SIBO too referred me to her naturopathic doctor, Dr. Harden.

Dr. Harden spent an hour and a half with me detailing an entire plan to get rid of the SIBO.

She gave me the option to start the treatment with antibiotics (again) or try the elemental diet.

I chose the elemental diet, which is a 14 day diet consisting of a amino acid based formula. During the 14 days, all I can consume is the formula and water.

Before the elemental diet started, I had to take a breath test to measure my SIBO before the treatment plan. Then, to measure the diets effectiveness, I will take another breath test once the diet is finished.

After the elemental diet, I will immediately start taking a prokinetic, a type of drug which enhances gastrointestinal motility by increasing the frequency of contractions in the small intestine or making them stronger, but without disrupting their rhythm.

I will also slowly introduce foods back into my diet by starting the SIBO bi-phasic diet.

More to come, but I’m feeling so hopeful that there is a plan!

Please let me know if you have any questions!

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  1. hallie says:

    so interesting to encounter this–as I’m having the breath test next Thursday. Found a great gastroenterologist who explained the possible causes of bloating and suggested testing. My symptoms are minor but have persisted for several months, so thought I’d check things out. Thanks for posting–I knew nothing about this and now know that the test is the right next step. I’ll check back later and report in. My fingers are crossed for both of us! Thanks for sharing your challenges!

  2. […] When my healing really began: I found my naturopathic Doctor! I tried the elemental diet and a prokinetic – it goes into further… […]