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What is SIBO?

SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This is a condition in which the small intestine contains too much of the wrong bacteria. Even though the small intestine is supposed to have some bacteria, in cases of SIBO, bacteria from the large intestine has moved upstream into a section of the small intestine where it should not be.

The small intestine’s main job is to help aid good bacteria to fight against bad bacteria, yeast, help the body absorb nutrients, and produce nutrients and vitamins like vitamin K and folate. The good bacteria helps ensure the contents in the gut move through the intestines properly. 

SIBO is often misdiagnosed as IBS because unfortunately, there are not very reliable tests to confirm SIBO. The standard testing currently is called a SIBO breath test which has a 50% false-negative rate. If your doctor orders you this test and it comes back positive, you can be sure you do have SIBO. But, if the test results are negative, you may still have SIBO. 

If you suffer from SIBO, your small intestine may be negatively affected.

What are SIBO symptoms?

The most common symptoms are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort 
  • Bloating that worsens as the day goes on
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas

How can I fix SIBO naturally?

Your diet can significantly improve SIBO, but usually, antimicrobials or antibiotic medications are used to kill off the bacteria. Even with these medications, SIBO can have an 80% recurrence rate after it goes away. Working with a doctor who understands the multiple causes and details surrounding SIBO is important as the root cause of the SIBO must be identified and improved.

Risk factors for SIBO

  • Low stomach acid
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Celiac disease (long-standing)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Food poisoning
  • Prior bowel surgery
  • Multiple courses of antibiotics
  • Alcoholism
  • Prior history of concussions or head injuries

What should I eat if I have SIBO?

The Low FODMAP diet can help control your SIBO symptoms. The FODMAP Diet eliminates four main food groups: oligosaccharides (wheat, rye, legumes, garlic, onion, some fruits), disaccharides (lactose; milk, yogurt, soft cheese), monosaccharides (fructose; various fruits, sweeteners like honey), and polyols (certain fruits, certain vegetables, and low-calorie sweeteners). 

Low FODMAP recipes

How we help patient’s with SIBO

A very comprehensive approach must be used to first identify the root cause of the SIBO – as there may be many. Then, the bad bacteria must be starved and killed off using either prescription medications or natural plant-based antimicrobials for a number of weeks or months, while simultaneously avoiding foods that trigger the bloating symptoms. Lastly, to ensure that the SIBO does not occur again, neurological output to the digestive tract must be assessed and reinforced using targeted exercises that improve lower brainstem and vagal nerve function. If all these pieces are not evaluated and addressed, the chances of recurrence remain around 80%. 

We can help you!

It’s important to find a doctor who will take the time to find the root cause(s) of your SIBO symptoms.

We can help you determine if you, or a loved one, are suffering from SIBO. Contact us to set up your free consultation to discuss your symptoms, concerns, and next steps to a healthier life!

What is SIBO?
Article Name
What is SIBO?
Learn what SIBO is, how it affects your body, how SIBO can be fixed naturally, the Low FODMAP diet, and how we help you.
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Bay Area Health and Wellness Center
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