If you’ve ever had a hard time with your digestion, you know it can be tricky to figure out what’s wrong. Your symptoms could include pain, gas and bloating, diarrhea or constipation, stomach aches, and they could change from day to day. One possibility is small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Which is when bacteria live in your small intestine – where they aren’t supposed to live!! If you have it, you may have been diagnosed with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or acid reflux, or even depression! If you’ve struggled with a chronic condition and haven’t found relief, SIBO may be to blame! Find out more about small intestine bacterial overgrowth, including the symptoms to watch for and how to heal below.
Symptoms of SIBO
SIBO can be hard to diagnose, as its symptoms are commonly associated with other conditions. If you experience any of the following, a simple breath test can determine whether you have a bacterial overgrowth:
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal cramps
The Small Intestine
Your small intestine normally has some small amount of bacteria. Our food breaks down and important nutrients are absorbed here. When bacterial overgrowth occurs, they eat the nutrients that we would normally get, and then they cause all the symptoms we listed above. Our bodies don’t get all of the vitamins and minerals we require, and we experience other conditions like inflammation, food allergies, chronic fatigue, leaky gut and weight gain for no apparent reason.
Testing and Treatment
The most common test for SIBO is a simple breath test. If you are diagnosed with SIBO, conventional treatment is a course of antibiotics. The antibiotic usually prescribed is different than most antibiotics because it isn’t absorbed by your blood stream so it only acts where you have the problem – in the small intestine. You can also follow an herbal antibiotic protocol. One important element is a diet that does not feed the bacteria, this can be difficult to follow, but starving the bacteria is vitally important. Avoid probiotics until after treatment is finished. Be sure to consult with your wellness practitioner before making any diet changes or starting any protocol. One excellent source of information is Dr. Alison Siebecker – she created an amazing web site with SIBO information – http://www.siboinfo.com/overview.html
SIBO is a treatable condition and once cleared of the infection, most feel significantly better! If you’ve struggled with a chronic condition and also notice abdominal discomfort, a SIBO breath test can determine if a bacterial overgrowth is the cause for your symptoms.