IS SIBO CAUSING YOUR IBS?
Have you been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), been treated and still not seeing long term improvement in how you feel? Have you been to more than one specialist and not yet gotten to the root of your problem? You may be living with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth).
More and more, physicians and researchers perceive the role of Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO) as a common cause of Irritable Bowel Sydrome (IBS) symptoms. Recent studies indicate that more than 50% of patients diagnosed with IBS may actually have SIBO, with one study suggesting up to 84%.
SIBO is a condition in which large numbers of bacteria that normally reside in the colon multiply in the small intestine and produce gases that wreak havoc, causing extreme discomfort.
Left untreated, the bacteria of SIBO can damage the lining of the small intestine, eventually leading to intestinal permeability, also known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. When the gut is “leaky,” the blood then carries harmful substances throughout the body, which explains why there are often symptoms in locations other than the digestive system, (such as the skin, lungs, and brain, causing brain fog, memory issues, headaches, etc.).
After years of treating patients with SIBO, we have come to learn that every patient is unique in the way he or she reacts to bacterial overgrowth.
Below are some common signs and symptoms that can help point to a diagnosis of SIBO:
- Bloating and abdominal distention
- Flatulence or belching
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Diarrhea or Constipation (or alternation between the two)
- Heartburn or “burning stomach”
- Headaches, joint or muscle pain, fatigue, memory loss, rosacea
Other conditions can also be associated with, or be a risk factor for SIBO. These include:
celiac disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, autism, interstitial cystitis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, GERD, cirrhosis, Restless Leg Syndrome, Lyme disease, lupus (SLE), other autoimmune diseases, a past head trauma or abdominal surgeries, chronic stress, lactose intolerance, pancreatic insufficiency, bowel obstruction, nerve damage, and many more.
Here are a few more key indicators that increase the chances SIBO is the cause of your IBS:
- You developed your IBS symptoms after contracting gastroenteritis or Traveler’s diarrhea
- Fiber worsens your constipation
- Taking a probiotic that contains a prebiotic worsens your symptoms
- You notice an improvement in your IBS after taking antibiotics
- You are still gluten intolerant although you have removed all gluten from your diet
- You have chronically low iron or ferritin levels
- You have a history of taking opiates or proton pump inhibitors
DIAGNOSING AND TREATING SIBO
The good news is that we know how to test for SIBO, and better yet, treat it effectively. SIBO is best diagnosed with the Lactulose Breath Test which detects gasses created by the overgrown intestinal bacteria and distinguishes between two groups of organisms, those producing the hydrogen and producing methane. The breath test can help us customize treatment and estimate the time required to begin seeing results.
There are other tests, such a simple measurement of immunoglobulins (anti-CdtB and anti-vinculin antibodies) that have been shown to confirm IBS as a diagnosis, and point to a cause (a past gastrointestinal infection). It is very exciting that we can now test for underlying causes of IBS, historically thought to be purely “functional,” psychological, or a diagnosis of exclusion.
Pearl Natural Health Offers Many Treatment Options:
We treat SIBO atPearl Natural Health in three main ways:
- Patients will be recommended an antimicrobial strategy to reduce overgrowth directly;
- You will be offered a dietary strategy to assist the antimicrobial agents by preventing the “feeding” of the overgrowth, and
- Medication may be prescribed offering you a prokinetic strategy to support the functioning of the intestinal tract and its movement during the periods between meals that is thought to sweep residual undigested material through the digestive tube with daily regularity.
If you recognize yourself in what is described above, it is time to explore SIBO testing. We can help to get you the appropriate evaluation, testing and treatment needed successfully treat SIBO. Once you have been tested and treated you are assured support following treatment to assure success. Regular retesting for SIBO is also recommended to assure eradication as well as follow-up appointments to assure you have received the dietary counseling necessary to prevent relapse and, ongoing care monitor progress.
SIBO treatment does need a significant change in how you eat, either following a SIBO or SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). Pearl Natural Health offers ongoing dietary support.
- Read about SIBO treatment at Pearl Natural Health
Read about IBS and its causes.
Read about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- For a more in depth read, go to Dr. Weiner’s article on connections between SIBO and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
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5. Pimental, M. Pimentel, Mark (2006). A new IBS solution : bacteria, the missing link in treating irritable bowel syndrome. Sherman Oaks, CA: Health Point Press. ISBN 0977435601.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]