You may have never heard of Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), neither has most of the medical community. In fact, it’s been revealed that most gastrointestinal diseases may have been misdiagnosed. As it stands, SIBO could be the underlying reason behind 84% of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) cases (1).
SIBO occurs when there’s too much colon bacterial in the small intestine. This migration can occur from a lack of stomach acid, which normally would neutralize the bacteria or by poor pancreatic enzyme production. These bacteria interfere with normal intestinal function and causes mucosal inflammation.
The symptoms of SIBO mimic those of many other gastrointestinal problems (2). These include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Excessive gas
- Weight loss
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Nutrient malabsorption
- Abdominal pain
- Fatigue and weakness.
How To Tell If You Have SIBO
- You experience chronic gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea when taking pain medication
- Constipation worsens when you eat more fiber
- You notice an improvement in IBS symptoms when taking antibiotics
- You constantly have low iron levels for no apparent reason
- Increased bloating from probiotics containing prebiotics
- Being Celiac but still having intestinal symptoms when eating gluten-free
- You have trouble digesting fats
How To Differentiate SIBO From Leaky Gut:
Half of all people diagnosed with SIBO also have leaky gut. The main difference between the two is that leaky gut affects the immune system.
It is possible to be affected by both diseases at the same time. SIBO can cause leaky gut, but not everyone with leaky gut has SIBO.
Signs of a leaky gut include:
- Numerous food sensitivities
- Rosacea, rashes or acne
- Poor concentration after meals
- Autoimmune diseases
- Respiratory problems
- Allergic symptoms
- Joint pain
Why Does SIBO Occur?
Certain medical conditions are strongly associated with SIBO. These are:
- Liver disease
- Kidney failure
- Liver disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- Decreased motility in small intestine
- Bowel obstruction
Here Are Other Conditions That May Trigger SIBO:
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- Surgical bowel resection
- Weight loss surgery
- Food poisoning
- Nerve damage that affects the GI tract
- Drugs, like opiates
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Restless leg syndrome
- Any disease that slows motility
How To Get A Diagnosis:
Your general practitioner can conduct one of two tests to determine if SIBO is the cause of your symptoms.
1) Lactulose breath test: this breath test is the most effective way to diagnose SIBO.
2) Analysis of stool and urinary organic acids: These tests can point towards SIBO but not diagnose it completely. They may be the first step in your diagnosis.
How To Treat SIBO:
Changing your diet can do wonders in restoring intestinal health.
Combined with the support of a naturopath or GP, it might even cure your disease.
- Fermented foods that increase histamine
- The Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- The GAPS Diet
- The autoimmune paleo diet
- The Low FODMAP diet
The following antimicrobacterial herbs will help restore balance in your small intestine as you begin your journey back to health.
- Oregano oil
- Garlic: Add fresh chopped garlic to salads or roasted garlic in your favourite sauces.
- Goldenseal: Golden seal tea will also relieve symptoms of fatigue and diarrhea (3).