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SIBO, what is it and how do you treat it?

Updated: Feb 2

Are you suffering from:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Bloating

  • An uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Excessive gas and burping after eating

  • Unintentional weight loss/weight gain

  • Chronic heartburn/acid reflux

  • Food allergies/sensitivities including: gluten, dairy, lactose, fructose, & histamine intolerance

  • Fatigue

What is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO, occurs when bacteria that should be in the large intestine find their way into the small intestine and refuse to leave.

What causes SIBO?

Frequent antibiotic use, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and past intestinal infections such as food poisoning can predispose a person to develop SIBO.

How does your diet factor into SIBO?

A poor diet will continue to feed the bacterial overgrowth. The standard western diet, which is high in sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, bad fats, and processed carbohydrates does little to support healthy microbial balance, yet feeds all types of intestinal overgrowth including SIBO.

How exactly does SIBO take over?

Once in the small intestine, the bacteria cause inflammation, leaky gut and various systemic symptoms. Bacteria in the small intestine ferment the food you eat, especially starches, fruit, sugar, fiber and alcohol, and produce hydrogen and methane gas as by-products. The build-up of gases causes excessive bloating and pain and dysregulates the muscular contraction of the small intestine

Why not probiotics with SIBO?

‘Good’ bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species can also overgrow in the small intestine, causing or worsening SIBO. The normal, rhythmic movement of the small intestine slows down or becomes irregular with SIBO. This causes everything, including probiotics, to linger in the small intestine where they can get ‘stuck’ and start to proliferate. How is SIBO diagnosed? The standard diagnostic test for SIBO is a lactulose breath test. The test measures hydrogen and methane gas produced by the bacteria in the small intestine after they ingest and digest the lactulose. Breath samples are taken every 15 minutes for two hours.

It is helpful to have standard labs taken for select vitamins and minerals to better understand how and if the small intestine is breaking down and absorbing foods, vitamins, and minerals.

Do you need a test to treat SIBO?

NO! The correct treatment for SIBO is completely safe for most individuals. If you feel you have the symptoms of SIBO you can start treatment without a diagnosis.

How long before treatment works?

Depending on the damage to the small intestine, treatment will last approximately 60 to 90 days total. This includes dietary changes and supplemental protocol. Depending on how many foods you choose to reintroduce will determine the final length of time needed to complete the treatment.

Once treatment is started, most clients see positive changes as early as 1 week, many see a significant change within 2 to 4 weeks.

How do you treat SIBO? There are 3 specific steps I use to help my clients heal: · Dietary changes · Target and kill the bad bacteria with correct natural antibiotics · Reestablish a healthy digestive system

Additionally, I recommend addressing all vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by the SIBO.

This treatment should only be done with the guidance of a nutrition professional. Successful treatment will allow you to reintroduce most of the foods you love and miss. The dietary changes should be temporary and not needed long term. Long-term dietary changes are a sign that the gut is not healed and may need additional treatment. Consult with our expert nutritionist to get on the path to better health. Fill out a brief health questionnaire and we'll schedule a personalized consultation to address your wellness goals.


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