Got SIBO? Struggling with digestive issues? Here’s 4 helpful tips to help you cure and heal SIBO for good.
If you have been diagnosed with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), you probably already know that it is not an easy things to cure and that the rate of recurrence is pretty high.
From a personal standpoint, SIBO has been one of the most frustrating and complicated health issue to manage. What I have found is that their is very little understanding in the conventional medical community about digestive issues. After countless tests and several different doctors, I was given the diagnosis of IBS. Not being satisfied with this diagnosis and knowing that something else was going on, I continued my search for answers. Just calling my belly issues IBS and managing it with dietary changes did not make sense to me. There had to be more answers.
Fast-forward a couple of years and many more doctors and hours of research, I find myself finally knowing the cause of my annoying digestive issues and am on the road to recovery. Today I want to share 4 of the most important tips that I have learned about healing and curing SIBO for good.
Like I said, this has been a long journey for me. I would love to save you some of the headache and frustration of what I have been through. Luckily now there are more and more resources for us to turn to. Much of what you will read in the rest of this post can be found in my friend Sylvie’s book, The SIBO Solution. It is hands down the most comprehensive book on SIBO that I have come across. Sylvie shares her experience with treating SIBO and goes into great detail about proper diagnosis, treatment, and dietary recommendations. She even includes over 40 recipes to help you stay inspired while sticking to the restrictive diet that treating SIBO requires.
Check out The SIBO Solution HERE.
WHAT IS SIBO?
Before we move onto my tips for curing SIBO for good, let’s take a quick look at what exactly SIBO is. SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is a chronic infection of the small intestine. It is defined as defined as an increase in the number of bacteria, and/or changes in the types of bacteria present in the small bowel.
SIBO is generally an overgrowth of the bacterial that you normally find in the large intestine that has migrated up into the small intestine. It can also sometimes be caused by an overgrowth of the otherwise normal bacteria of the small intestine. This overgrowth can occur when their is a motility issue and things are not moving through the small intestine as they should.
So why is this such a big deal? The bacteria associated with SIBO interfere with our normal digestion and absorption of food and are associated with damage to the lining or membrane of the small intestine. These bacteria consume some of our food which over time leads to deficiencies in their favorite nutrients such as iron and B12, causing anemia. After eating our food, they produce gas within the small intestine causing abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, belching, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea or both.
SIBO can also cause food allergies and sensitivities. Due to the damage to the lining of the small intestine, larger food particles not able to be fully digested can enter the body. The actual bacteria from the overgrowth can also wreck havoc on the body by triggering immune responses that cause chronic fatigue and by excreting acids which in high amounts can cause neurological and cognitive symptoms. Brain fog has been one of my biggest complaints with SIBO.
MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF SIBO
- abdominal discomfort/cramping
- gas and belching
- diarrhea or constipation (depending on what type of SIBO you have)
- weight loss and nutritional deficiencies
4 TIPS FOR CURING SIBO FOR GOOD
Here’s 4 of the most helpful things that I have learned during my own personal journey with treating SIBO.
1. FIND A SKILLED PRACTITIONER
I can tell you from personal experience that many practitioners do not know what SIBO is, much less how to diagnose and treat it. Finding someone who is knowledgeable and has experience with SIBO and other digestive diseases is critical in getting proper treatment. Proper testing, treatment, and diet are crucial to curing yourself of this hard to manage condition.
2. GET THE RIGHT TESTING
There are several tests for diagnosing SIBO, like stool tests and uric organic acid tests, but the best testing for diagnosing SIBO is a breath test.
Please note that in order to diagnose SIBO with breath tests, you will need to test for elevated levels of hydrogen and methane. This is because 8–27% of people do not have detectable levels of hydrogen production in their guts from bacteria. Instead, they produce methane. And the treatment for SIBO varies depending on what type of SIBO you have.
The gold standard breath test for SIBO is 3-Hour Lactulose breath test.
3. USE HERBAL ANTIBIOTICS/ANTIMICROBIALS
The recurrence rate of SIBO after using conventional antibiotics is over 50% after a year. I highly recommend using herbal antibiotics/antimicrobials instead, as they do not create antibiotic resistance, they have fewer side effects and are simply more effective. Again, it is important to work with a skilled practitioner to learn about the best herbal antibiotics to treat your SIBO.
4. CHANGE YOUR DIET
So you know by now that SIBO is complex and difficult to treat. Usually taking a round of antibiotics (even herbal ones) is not enough to eradicate the infection completely and permanently. This does not address the root of the issue(s) that caused the SIBO in the first place. Often it is necessary to make some pretty radical changes to your diet (for a short period of time) in order to get your SIBO into check.
The best dietary approach to manage and lessen symptoms of SIBO is a combination of low FODMAP and restricting certain carbohydrates. This combined with a real food, nutrient-dense diet will help heal the gut as well as begin to starve out the unwanted bacteria in your gut.
This approach is called the SIBO Diet. It involved eliminating foods that aggravate the gut and that feed the bacteria that you are trying to eliminate. It can be a challenging and restrictive diet to follow, but many people find that their symptoms greatly decrease.
For a detailed explanations of the SIBO Diet, I highly recommend reading The SIBO Solution. It goes into great detail about the what, why, and how of the dietary changes that are necessary. It even includes over 40 easy to prepare recipes to keep you inspired.
NOTE: According to new research, the diets mentioned above are excellent for managing and reducing the symptoms of SIBO. These diets should only be done for short periods of time, as the fermentable carbohydrates that are eliminated are actually necessary to the health of your “good” gut bacteria. Also, it is recommended to NOT do this diet while treating SIBO (with either antimicrobials or antibiotics) as “starving” the bad bacteria that you are trying to eradicate will make them “hide” and become more difficult to eradicate. You can read more about that HERE.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
The SIBO Solution is the resource for anyone struggling with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. My friend, Sylvie, has created a thorough guide that offers a straight up, no-nonsense guide to what SIBO is, what causes it, how to accurately diagnose it, treatment methods, and most importantly how to make sure it never comes back! It’s unique and natural approach makes it easy to follow and practical to implement. A must read!
Check The SIBO Solution HERE.
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photo credit: depositphotos @ piotr_marcinski