SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is one of my specialties in terms of what I treat. SIBO occurs when there is too much bacteria in the small intestine. Today's post will highligh symptoms of SIBO, Risk Factors for Developing SIBO, and Naturopathic Treatment Options.
Bacterial overgrowth can cause symptoms such as:
Constipation and/or diarrhea
SIBO is a common cause of IBS, and they often present with the same symptoms. SIBO can also cause symptoms outside of the GI tract, such as:
SIBO can occur from a variety of causes. It's important find the root cause of SIBO, which helps prevent it from coming back. Risk factors for developing SIBO include:
Food poisoning or traveler's diarrhea
Traumatic Brain Injury or Spinal Injury
Past use of antibiotics
Past alcohol & drug abuse
Autoimmune disorders, such as, Ehler's-Danlos syndrome, scleroderma, Hashimoto's/hypothyroid
Pelvic disorders - Endometriosis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, pelvic or abdominal surgery and/or radiation treatment
Not being breast fed
Past use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (and a long list of other drugs!)
This list is long, which is why a thorough medical history is important to find and treat the root cause of symptoms. SIBO is diagnosed with a breath test, called a lactulose breath test. Lactulose is a sugar that humans can't digest, but bacteria can. When bacteria eat this sugar, they produce gas, either methane or hydrogen. The breath test measures these gases and helps diagnose bacteria in the small intestine.
If a breath test shows you have SIBO, there are LOTS of options for treatment.
Herbs - my favorite treatment option: treatment takes 4-8 weeks with very little side effect potential
Antibiotics - a 2 week protocol with pharmaceuticals
Elemental Diet - a fasting protocol with a powdered drink as your main source of calories for 2-4 weeks
Dietary recommendations - helps prevent SIBO from recurring
Prokinetic - a supplement that keeps things moving in the GI tract to further prevent bacterial overgrowth
If you think you may have SIBO, or at least want my doctorly opinion, please reach out. I'd love to help!