IBS and SIBO—Bacteria where they don't belong!


IBS and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth — Bacteria where they don’t belong!

Our digest­ive tract often gets a bad rap when it’s not behav­ing as we want. If we feel bloated or have diarrhea, we feel annoyed. Rather than pay­ing atten­tion to the symp­toms, we wish they would go away. This is espe­cially true for irrit­able bowel disease.

What if those symp­toms were alert­ing you to a con­di­tion where some­thing isn’t quite right? Bacterial Overgrowth is one such condition.

Bacteria are present through­out the gastrointest­in­al tract, how­ever there is a high­er per­cent­age that live in the large intest­ine com­pared with the small intestine.

There are cir­cum­stances in which bac­teria in the small intest­ine grow in num­ber, which can cause the fol­low­ing symptoms:

  1. Abdominal pain
  2. Bloating
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Constipation
  5. Gas (burp­ing and flatulence)

These symp­toms are mostly due to the pres­ence of excess­ive bac­teria and a gen­er­al imbal­ance in the gastrointest­in­al tract. Because the small intest­ine is really respons­ible for con­tinu­ing to obtain nutri­ents and vit­am­ins from our food and when extra bac­teria are present, we can­not digest in the same way. Over time, SIBO can con­trib­ute to fur­ther symp­toms including:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Chronic diarrhea
  3. Mood changes
  4. Muscle cramps
  5. Focus and concentration
  6. Cramping
  7. Nausea

How is SIBO tested?

SIBO is tested through a breath test. Bacteria in the small intest­ine in the pres­ence of gluc­ose (sug­ar) or lac­tu­lose (milk-based sug­ar) will grow and pro­lif­er­ate. When they grow, they pro­duce gases, and our breath shows high­er amounts of those gases than should nor­mally be present. We breath out those gases (mostly hydro­gen and some meth­ane) over a peri­od of time after drink­ing a gluc­ose or lac­tu­lose solu­tion, and the meas­ure­ment of those gases tells us that you have SIBO.

How is SIBO treated?

SIBO can be treated in a num­ber of ways:

  1. Antibiotics: Very effect­ive in a major­ity of cases in elim­in­a­tion of bac­teria in the small intestine.
  2. Diet: Lowering car­bo­hydrates (mostly simple sug­ar car­bo­hydrates) like breads, grains, and the obvi­ous cul­prits can be very effect­ive. The SCD or simple car­bo­hydrate diet is one diet that addresses SIBO as does the FODMAP (oli­go, di- and mono-sac­char­ides reduc­tion diet). Lowered expos­ure to car­bo­hydrate sup­ports a reduc­tion in bac­teri­al overgrowth.
  3. Herbal anti­mi­cro­bi­als: Berberine, myrrh, pep­per­mint, black wal­nut, gar­lic, and pau d’arco are a few anti-micro­bi­al nat­ur­al sup­ports to reduce SIBO bur­den. They are nor­mally very effect­ive when com­bined with the prop­er diet­ary sup­ports as above.

Normally a com­bin­a­tion of the above treat­ments is what is needed to kick those bac­teria to the curb to allow your small intest­ine to do what it does best!

Contact me if you would like more inform­a­tion on SIBO test­ing, the SCD or FODMAP diets as you may indeed need to be tested and treated yourself.

Feel free to share this inform­a­tion with a friend or loved one with bowel troubles.
You nev­er know, they could have SIBO!

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