Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): Breaking the Cycle

bacterial, SIBO
October 7, 2020 0 Comments

When something is off in your gut, your whole life suffers. The balance of organisms and bacteria that live in your gut may not be on the top of your list of concerns when you’re feeling good.

However, when the tide turns, you’re going to want answers, especially if you suffer from a condition like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

And, if you’ve had SIBO for any length of time, you know how frustrating it can be! But, did you know, when left untreated, it can lead to more severe health issues?

Let’s Talk About SIBO Symptoms

The symptoms of SIBO look a lot like everyday digestive issues. And, that’s because your gut health varies on a day to day basis. For example, when the bacteria in your gut are out of balance, you may experience these symptoms.

  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Gas
  • Belching
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Malnutrition

Furthermore, if you are experiencing these issues consistently or have experienced unintentional weight loss, contact us today!

What Causes SIBO?

There are two organism types in your gut:

And, when these two are in balance, your digestive and execratory systems are happy and healthy. However, if one dominates the digestive system, it may falter or slow down, and constipation or diarrhea may occur. The imbalance defines the symptoms.

There are three different types of SIBO, each with its complications and issues. They are differentiated by the types of gas produced by the bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.

  • Hydrogen Dominant (SIBO-D)
  • Methane Dominant (SIBO-C)
  • Hydrogen Sulfide Dominant

Hydrogen Dominant (SIBO-D)

An overgrowth of hydrogen-producing bacteria in the small intestine causes SIBO with diarrhea (SIBO-D). You may be surprised to learn that hydrogen gas is a byproduct of carbohydrate fermentation in your digestive system.

This is normal when your large intestine creates hydrogen by carb fermentation. However, when your small intestines produce large amounts of hydrogen gas, food starts to move too quickly through the digestive system and causes loose stools.

Methane Dominant (SIBO-C)

When archaea are too active, it causes this type of SIBO. These single-celled organisms feed off of the hydrogen that bacteria produce during carb fermentation.

Methane is a byproduct of their digestive process. The more hydrogen the carb and fiber fermentation gives off, the more archaea produce methane.

This can lead to:

  • Uncomfortable excessive bloating
  • Lactose malabsorption
  • Decreased motility of the digestive tract
  • Constipation

Hydrogen Sulfide Dominant

Researchers recently discovered a new type of SIBO, Hydrogen Sulfide Dominant SIBO, and are still studying it. Researchers are still learning about how to test for and treat this type of SIBO.

Your body uses sulfur in its cells and microbiome. And, your body extorts and detoxes most of the unusable byproducts of sulfur metabolism.

So, when you are healthy, your body converts some of the sulfur into hydrogen sulfide. Too much hydrogen sulfide may lead to health issues, including SIBO.

And, because of this gas build-up, one of the symptoms of hydrogen sulfide dominant SIBO is your gas will smell like rotten eggs.

There is not yet a way to test for Hydrogen Sulfide Dominant SIBO. Providers can perform breath tests; however, these only test for hydrogen or methane.

So, if you receive a negative result but have SIBO symptoms, this could be why. Working with a provider who is up to date on the latest research about SIBO is your best bet for getting the answers you need.

As you can see, the archaea and the bacteria in your gut must stay in balance. Your digestive health relies on it. So what can you do about it?

SIBO Treatment

Many doctors will jump to treating the symptoms with an anti-biotic or anti-microbial. What really needs to happen is you and your provider get to the root cause of the problem. If you don’t, you’ll likely continue to be plagued with recurrences.

Stopping the Cycle of Imbalance

Bacteria and archaea in the gut feed off each other, so how do you stop the back and forth of bacterial or archaeal overgrowth?

1. Take a Full-Spectrum Probiotic and Follow the FODMAP Diet

Reducing FODMAP foods takes away the food source for these bacteria. FODMAPS are carbohydrates that more likely to:

  • Ferment in the digestive system
  • Feed bacteria
  • Cause bloating and gas

Avoiding these foods can help you manage SIBO symptoms. You can find a list of FODMAPS here.

2. Work with a Functional Medicine Doctor

Working with a Functional Medicine (FM) doctor can make all the difference. FM doctors are about getting to the underlying cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms. Their approach is:

  • Individualized
  • Patient-centered
  • Science-based

Their focus is on partnering with you to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. The SIBO journey can be:

  • Frustrating
  • Complicated
  • Lengthy

Finding a provider committed to you over the long run will make the journey that much easier.

Complications

It’s crucial you get help with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) because it can lead to escalating problems, including:

  • Poor absorption of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Weight loss
  • Weakened bones (osteoporosis)
  • Kidney stones

Are You Ready to Feel Better?

Most importantly, At Living Well, Dallas, we offer a comprehensive program to identify, address, and rebalance digestive issues using:

Common digestive issues that require medical attention include:

And, these conditions may come from:

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Increased stress
  • Allergies
  • An undiagnosed medical issue
  • Inflammation

The Living Well Dallas team will work with you to restore your health and prevent damage to digestive organs.

If you have dealt with bloating, gas, stomach pain, GERD, or other SIBO symptoms, you may benefit from a holistic approach to treating digestive disorders. We’re here for you! Contact us for an appointment today!

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